Entrepreneurs come from all kinds of backgrounds. You can find them in your neighbourhood, in your own backyard. We needed to look no further than to Canada 151 Data Centers, and their newest investor, Joe Damiani.
Every entrepreneur has a story. We asked Joe some questions:
Q: How do you marry the vision for your company with your team’s individual goals?
A: We’ve been aligned pretty much from day one given how we viewed the market opportunity for Canada151 Data Centers. In recent years, big Telco in Canada decided to get back into data centres. They consolidated pretty much every mid-sized provider with credible data centre infrastructure. That meant customers and MSPs that use data centres had two options….dealing with rigid, inflexible behemoths that had competing Cloud offerings OR work with smaller providers that might not have robust infrastructure. C151 provides an alternative in the Canadian marketplace; highly redundant, well maintained infrastructure with an agility and flexibility that is difficult for big Telco to deliver. We also work with MSPs and Cloud providers rather than have competing offerings; they become partners we work with to service other customer requirements. Given that our raison d’être is high touch service, rock solid infrastructure delivered with agility and flexibility, the individual team goals align easily.
Q: Is it easy to adapt from being an employee, to being an invested partner?
A: I suppose I’ve always acted more like an owner than an employee in terms of trying to do what was right for the business. In that regard, it was an easy transition. Some things are a little more heightened, like attention to business risk because you have skin in the game but also that proud father feeling watching the business grow.
Q: What was your journey like to get you to where you are?
A: Long and winding. I come from an immigrant, small family business background that continues successfully today. That gave my brothers and I some practical business experience and an understanding of the value of hard work/work ethic. After university, like many folks I started working in financial services gaining experience in sales, marketing, product, operations and leadership focused on systems/outsourcing. Cut my teeth on data centre and ‘Cloud’ services (before that term was coined) with the first start-up I joined. I found my varied background worked well in start-up because of the opportunity to wear many hats. Helped manage a few businesses through growth to maturity both as full time as well as consultant. I was consulting in Cloud/IaaS and Data Centre when I was introduced to Mark MacDonald, C151’s CEO and Founder, and the rest is recent history.
Q: What do you hope to achieve in your new role?
A: Help grow the C151 brand and business offering that alternative in the Canadian marketplace. We wear many hats but that is the gist of it…also showing that we are building value for the other investors.
Q: How do you learn?
A: I learn best by working my way through things rather than traditional classroom or lecture. Those are good places to get ideas, but I have always needed to figure things out on my own. It might involve doing a little research on a problem or issue, asking a few questions from an expert, then playing with a technology or application until I get it.
Q: When it’s all over, how do you want to be remembered?
A: I hope most of all that I am remembered as a good father. I am lucky to have a great partner in life who takes care of the home front so that I can focus on this side of things. That said, I try and try to spend lots of time with family and with my wonderful daughter.
Q: Are you a rock star at what you do?
A: I hope so! Further hopefully more like Peter Gabriel who has stood the test of time vs a one hit wonder! I also suppose that I have really dated myself there…
Q: On a sale of 1 to 10, how lucky are you?
A: I think I am pretty lucky the way life has turned out. Perspiration is definitely part of success, but so is being at the right place at the right time.
Q: In one word, describe who you are.
A: LOL…I have to tell a little story here. I worked with a regional data centre that delivered managed services a while back. We were another smaller player succeeding against the larger providers in the market. We joked about how we were winning vs the competition and coming up with our own meaningful definition. It was ‘Solutionist’. A problem solver where business and technology intersect.
Q: Assuming there is only one job that you could do at this stage of your career, what would you do?
A: I think I am exactly where I should be right now. Using my experiences to help grow Canada151…