Gabriel Weisz | Crain's Atlanta

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Gabriel Weisz

Background:  

Kallpod is a custom communication system that allows guests to communicate with their server at the push of a button. Founded in L.A., the solution has since been adopted in restaurants, hotels and stadiums across North America.

The Mistake:

Not working for myself earlier.

In school, you get very used to this pattern of studying, taking your exams, getting graded, moving onto the next year and so on. When you leave school, you think your career will follow a very similar, linear path. At least, I thought so.

I grew up and went to school in England. When I left school, I got into finance because I saw my friends going into similarly straightforward, clean-cut careers. It was the only route I had considered. I was very focused on following this corporate track, and didn’t lift my head up to consider any other opportunities. I was set on working for a big company that had a clear path to climbing the corporate ladder.

When I landed what I thought was the perfect position at my dream company, I quickly found that it was anything but ideal. I was working crazy hours, was unable to focus on anything else, and felt like a small cog in a massive machine. I couldn’t see the fruits of my labor, and I didn’t realize how much that would bother me.

At the same time, I was getting married and was about to turn 30 years old, so I was kind of at this point in my life where I was taking stock of things, and realized that the thing I had been chasing for so many years really didn’t suit my skill set. It just wasn’t the right thing for me. I took a step back, assessed the situation, and decided to leave and start my own company.

I had always been interested in hospitality, and started thinking about how technology could improve the efficiency of the hospitality space. It was a very big risk, but I eventually decided to move with my family to the U.S. to start my company, called Kallpod.

It took a while to realize this was the correct road to go down, but it’s been incredibly fulfilling.

It was only by leaving this safe career path that I was able to fulfill my own potential.

The Lesson:

Most universities don’t do a great job equipping people for the real world, so you leave with this idea about how things should go. But careers aren’t linear, so it’s imporant that you take the time to figure out what you are good at, be introspective, and don’t just follow the herd. Don’t be overly concerned with what your peer group is doing, because their chosen path might not be the one for you.

Don’t do something just because everyone else is doing it. Had I known that earlier, I probably would have saved myself a lot of time and stress. But I followed the herd, and paid the price.

It was only by leaving this safe career path that I was able to fulfill my own potential.

Initially, it was hard because I didn’t get a lot of validation -- a lot of people questioned whether my decision was the correct one. That’s just how it is when you start your own business. Ultimately, though, it was the best decision I ever made. Being in charge of your own destiny and building something yourself is so rewarding. I could never see myself working for anyone else.

Kallpod is on Twitter @kallpod

​Photo courtesy of Kallpod

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