I had the pleasure of interviewing Fred Schebesta. Fred is an award-winning entrepreneur and co-founded one of the world’s biggest financial comparison sites, Finder.com, which is estimated to be valued at $1 billion and sees about 10 million unique visitors per month. He has more recently been heavily involved in the cryptocurrency space, after launching crypto exchange comparison Crypto Finder, OTC broker service HiveEx.com, and crypto bill payment service HiveSpend.com.
Jean: Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory” of how you become a founder?
“When I was in school, I used to get in trouble a fair bit — simply because I wanted to do things differently from everyone else. I approached things differently, looked at them in a new light, and did things in a way my peers didn’t. But there was always a method to my madness. Because of this, building businesses came pretty naturally to me, starting in my early 20s while still studying at university. My approach to business is very similar to the way I approached school as a kid. When you build a company, there is no direct path. I try things out, test different methods, and wait to see what works. If people love the idea, we launch it and create a business from it. In many ways, I was fortunate with Finder. I was lucky that I had the skill and drive to create something different to what’s out there. The small gift I’ve been given is to go into the unknown and win.”
Jean: What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
“I get anecdotes from lots of people. A lot of them say to me, “Fred, I didn’t see Finder before. But now that I’ve been googling and searching for things, Finder keeps showing up”. Insofar as an Internet company, Finder is different in that our core premise is to educate people first. We start with content, informative articles and guides to give people advice. This is before we begin to even bring up the sell. It’s this selflessness at Finder that we give that can change people’s lives.”
Jean: Are you working on any exciting projects now?
“We’ve recently launched into a space that might seem a little left of field for an Internet comparison service. After building Finder into a business we’re really proud of, we decided to go back to our roots of trying and testing new ideas. We first launched into the crypto space with Crypto Finder, which compares cryptocurrency exchanges and is a wealth of information on everything from wallet providers to the current price of bitcoin. It really is your go-to resource for everything crypto.
Earlier this year, we took it one step further with the launch of OTC broker trading service HiveEx.com. We’re growing and building an OTC that, at its very core, is a highly informative trading desk. We’re essentially an information aggregator. We take reports, data, and all of this complex information and break it down into simple, clear terms to help people make trades. We’ve also recently launched crypto bill payment service HiveSpend.com in Australia, and we’re planning to take it all over the world.”
Jean: Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? Can you share a story?
“I have a little black book of my most valuable reads that I share with my team. Of them all, my all-time favourite recommendation is the book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”. It gives you the very fundamental truths about life that no other person or resource gives justice. There are truths in that book that are delivered straight up about some of the most important things that can drive your success.”
Jean: What are your “5 Lessons I Learned as a Twentysomething Founder” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
1. Focus on the most important things
“A lot of people set out to do absolutely everything all at once. My best advice is to focus on the things that really matter to you, and prioritise them over those that are comparatively insignificant.
2. Business is actually quite slow
“One of the biggest traps people fall into is that they expect things to happen overnight. You can quit thinking like that right now, because it simply doesn’t work that way. Business isn’t a computer game where everything happens in a matter of seconds. It takes time to do things right, and to see the results takes even longer. Be patient, and learn to accept the process of growth.
3. Employ people that are better than you
“Your employees should be 10x better than you at what they do. Not only will you learn from them, but they’ll bring a different expertise that isn’t part of your skillset. That standard cannot be compromised. Without it, you won’t build a company that can scale and grow to the vision you have.
4. Your annoying habits are what make you unique
“All of the intricacies that people find annoying or not quite right about you — keep doing them. Don’t change them, because they’re actually the secrets of your success. It’s also much easier to be yourself and doing so will be sustainable long term. The people who like you and want to be with you will appreciate those things about you.
5. Achieve some sort of health and lifestyle balance
“Whatever that means to you: make it happen. If you don’t, you’ll burn out. It’s as simple as that. When I first started out, I would overrun myself by doing too much at once. I still find myself falling into this pattern when I’m travelling and visiting our teams overseas. Those times are exhilarating, and they feed my hunger to grow and work harder. But without balance, I burn out. To achieve those long-term goals, you need sustainable drive.
Jean: Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂
“Can I pick two? My first choice is Sean Parker, because I’d love to spend time with a person who has a more future driven vision than myself. I’d love to understand how he thinks through ideas and sees the future. My other choice would be Ben Horowitz, because I’d love to learn the secrets of brilliant management from him. I want to understand how he makes decisions about where to invest and why.”
— Published on June 27, 2018
Originally published at medium.com