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CEO of Lotame, Andy Monfried, Examines His Career

October 31, 2015

The following article by Andy Monfried originally appeared on the Huffington Post Blog on October 31, 2015. Click here to see the original

Andrew Monfried is the founder and CEO of Lotame, a data management platform for marketers, agencies and publishers. And I heard something interesting during the interviewing, which got me thinking differently about purpose.

As I meet with entrepreneurs and research topics about living life on purpose, I am starting to see a trend emerge – “making great money but feeling totally unfulfilled.”Mark Twain said that the lack of money is the root of all evil.

Yes, of course, the lack of financial stability breeds more instability. But at what point do you stop trading fulfillment for financial stability?

Finding real freedom has less to do with money and more to do with living your life on purpose. Why? Because as human beings we need to feel that what we have done matters – that we have contributed to a greater good and enriched the lives of others.

How is this done? You have to take massive action because by not doing so you risk becoming stuck in an unfulfilling situation; that may lead to regret. Monfried realized this circumstance and left his good paying job at the legal photocopying business.

Taking action is a personal choice but one that will define the rest of your life. So answer these two important questions:

  • What do I really want out of my life?
  • What can I give back to the community for getting the life that I really want?

I am certain that before Monfried took action and joined advertising.com and eventually founded Lotame, he asked himself those two questions. I am certain, if you asked Monfried, today “Are you fulfilled?” He would say, “Beyond my dreams!”

So Andrew what is your story?

When I look back at my career, things really started getting interesting when I got into advertising. Before that I was an executive in a legal photocopying business, making great money but feeling totally unfulfilled.

Then I met the two founders of Advertising.com, a company that was a pioneer in the world of digital advertising. Switching industries and working alongside two true entrepreneurs helped unlock my passions as a business leader: understanding people, tackling complex problems and working in environments that constantly change.

I went on to build the company’s New York presence from scratch and within four years turned it into a $100 million a year business. I loved being at the forefront of emerging technology and innovation and that has continued to inspire me as an entrepreneur.

I founded my current company Lotame in 2007 and have since dedicated myself to becoming a better leader, mentor and innovator.

Tell me about an accomplishment that shaped your career?

When I was in college, my best friend and I started a window cleaning service that we would run each summer when we came home. It became a booming success.

This was my first taste of building a business from the ground up, from literally nothing, using only grassroots marketing – from flyers to referrals from satisfied customers. While I have replicated this success several more times since, and on much bigger stages, this initial success is still one I feel incredibly proud of and one that has helped shape the trajectory of my career.

What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?

Every day in this business brings new, complex problems, challenges and opportunities, and I thrive on tackling those head on. Improvisation and intuition come in strongly here as well; this business keeps you on your toes, but I live and breathe chaos and I’m always up for a new challenge.

What do you value most about your company’s culture and vision?

I remember as an employee sometimes having the “Sunday Night Blues” – that feeling of dread you get on a Sunday evening when you realize you have to go back to work in the morning. I never want Lotame employees to have that feeling, so I foster a culture of open communication and transparency.

There are very few closed door, C-level only meetings where challenges are discussed and decisions are made; instead everyone is aware and involved. Lotame is a flat organization – I didn’t even do an org chart for the business for five years until an investor asked for one.

The execution of a creative idea can be a chaotic experience. So how do you organize, prioritize, and manage your team’s creative ideas?

I don’t.

I trust them and give them the intellectual freedom to come up with their own ideas and pitch them without fear of being ignored or devalued. My first success was about organic growth and grassroots ideas, and we run Lotame in the same way.

I don’t want to be a dictator and I’m the first to recognize my own weaknesses. I’m not always right and I have a team that I trust to solve challenges and contribute ideas.

How do you design a company that will be around for 100 years?

You don’t.

Anyone who says they can do that is either lying or kidding themselves, especially in technology. Technology evolves so quickly, even Google and Apple probably won’t be around in 100 years.

The game changers and new technologies come out of suburban garages or shared office spaces. That’s the beauty of this industry–the way you stick around is by being flexible and adaptive to those changes.