Gustavo Serafini: I can do it so can you.
Gustavo and I met through altMBA ("alternative MBA"), founded by one of my favorite teachers, Seth Godin.
Over the course of 4 weeks including nights and weekends, we connected with dozens of likeminded people, learning about business and life.
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"Where others see obstacles, Gustavo sees opportunity. Gustavo consistently challenges himself to overcome the obstacles in his life, while inspiring others to do the same. As a successful entrepreneur, Gustavo overcame the odds of a historic recession and a host of naysayers. He finds joy in opportunity. He knows that difficulty will never outshine persistence, belief, and courage. His motto is: If I can do it, so can you." - Gustavo Serafini
Originally from Brazil, Gustavo's family moved to the States when he was still a baby. Born with proximal femoral focal deficiency (PFFD), Gustavo had to learn how to walk and live like other kids at a very young page.
Fast forward a few decades, Gustavo is now a successful entrepreneur who co-owns Pure Audio Video with his brother. We chatted about his startup days and how he overcame the economic crisis in the US in 2008. From studying buddhism, to going to law school, Gustavo transformed himself in pursuing endeavors that I couldn't help learning more about.
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[06:00] How and when did you move to the US?
[08:00] How long did it take for you to adapt to this society, overcoming your physical condition?
[13:00] During altMBA, you gave feedback in a very insightful way. Have you always been this way?
[15:00] What are some of the learnings you remember as the most important from altMBA?
[22:00] Can you share the story of your company Pure Audio Video?
[24:00] How old were you when you started your own business?
[25:00] What were some of the risks at that time?
[28:00] During the recession (2008-09), what were some of the hard decisions you had to make?
[32:00] There’s always an inflection point as an entrepreneur when you realize that your business is taking off and you decide to switch full time to it and commit 100%. When was that point for you?
[37:00] How did BJ Miller’s story resonate with you? What things do you have in common?
[43:00] What was your experience with bullying in school?
[45:00] What are the core business offerings of Pure Audio Video? What type of systems do you install?
[47:00] What is the installation process like?
[49:00] Can people contact you to get involved with the installation process while the home is being built?
[51:00] How do people (builders or clients) get in touch with you?
[55:00] For those people that live in other areas (outside of Florida), what would be your advice be when they look for a company that provides these services?
[07:00] The challenge was ‘figure it out, adapt’ and learn to adapt to your environment because that’s what you have to do anyways, and make it work. [..] Treat people the way you want to be treated.
[14:00] ...That was a good change of pace for me because it allowed me to get more out of the experience rather than trying to impose to the group what I think should happen, I’m gonna be more attentive, pay more attention and respond rather than react.
[16:00] That whole feedback loop was tremendous: Nobody was negative because everybody was genuine, and the feedback was delivered in a way that was thoughtful, made you rethink your assumptions and pushed you further to improve.
[19:00] The idea of perfection is a trap. You were given this ideals of ‘it has to be perfect’,’you have to be perfect’, ‘if you are not perfect, you don’t have anything useful to say’. Our society creates these ideals of perfection, somebody reaches it for a minute and then we break them down, we find a flaw, and then they are not useful anymore. That approach is idiotic and not productive.
[33:00] You want to find the people who are willing to show up every day, and put in the work, and put in the time, and be accountable. Those are the people that you want to associate yourself with, and engage with, connect with and build relationships with.
[35:00] I can overcome this, I can still engage with people and contribute, and it’s not the overriding factor in any way, it’s just another factor, another lens.