The DealMakers podcast features entrepreneurs that have been successful with M&A transactions or capital raising efforts.

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David Gurle is the co-founder and CEO of Symphony which is a secure team collaboration platform. The company has raised so far $460 million at a $1.4 billion valuation from Mitsubishi UFJ Financial, Standard Chartered, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Google, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Citi Group, HSBC, and Wells Fargo. David founded and sold Perzo before founding Symphony.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Identifying big markets
  • Raising capital from strategic investors
  • Lessons learned from Bill Gates
  • Innovating in regulated markets
  • How to brainstorm crazy ideas

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About David Gurle:

 
Author, inventor and visionary, David‘s ideas have influenced the major trends in consumer and enterprise communications and most recently secure collaboration technologies over the past two decades. He founded and ran Microsoft’s unified communications products (Skype for Business) and as Global head of collaboration services at Thomson Reuters, introduced the first consumer-to-business federated communications to the financial services industry. After the sale of Skype to Microsoft where he was the GM of Skype’s Enterprise Business, David founded and sold Perzo before founding Symphony. David sits on the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s International Technology Advisory Panel, is regularly featured on global broadcast (CNBC, BFM, Fox News) and print media (TechCrunch, Le Monde, Wall Street Journal) and is a sought-after keynote speaker around the future of the digital workplace, collaboration technologies, workplace diversity and all matters related to privacy and information security.

 

  Connect with David Gurle:

 

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FULL TRANSCRIPTION OF THE INTERVIEW:

Alejandro: Alrighty. Hello, everyone, and welcome to the DealMakers show. Today, we have someone that is going to be very exciting with a really diverse background, and also has been around the block quite a few times. So, without further ado, David Gurle, welcome to the show today.

David Gurle: Thank you for having me.

Alejandro: So, just doing a little bit of a walk through memory lane here, you spent some time in your childhood living in Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon. I would assume that you also had to go through all the civil war and craziness that was happening there. Growing up in that environment, what did you learn?

David Gurle: First of all, you’re right. I’ve had a chance to experience lots of volatility, I guess. I grew up like locals as my parents decided that it would be a good experience for me to go to local schools and not go to typical diplomat schools that other kids would go. So, it gave me a perspective about others. It gave me the option to see home, what was my culture. I had a French father and an English mother. I had quite an interesting mix of Western culture. While at school and with my friends on the street, I was seeing a very different world, different values, different belief systems, and different priorities. It gave me a perspective about life that to this day I still cherish. Since I grew up in the streets there, I had the chance to first be street smart before being academic smart, and play, and strategize in winning those kinds of your small day-to-day battles. Growing with that was an experience that taught me a lot about pragmatism, about understanding others, and about figuring out a way in which you build peace, and you move forward with a consensus. So, that I guess are the takeaways for me.

Alejandro: Got it. I see that you studied your Masters and you did your computer science and telecommunication. So, at what point did you start getting interested in the computer environment?

David Gurle: I was 18 years old. When I was 14, my dad decided it was time for us to move back to Europe. There were a lot of bad things going on in the Middle East. When we arrived to the south of France, Cannes, where I grew up for the rest of my childhood, it was clear that the street life I was living in wasn’t going to be the future, so I first really focused on external, outside activities. So, I became ski instructor, surviving instructor, and I thought that was going to be my future. But then I realized this passion of science and a passion of precision and rigor was very strong. Then around 18 years old, I start getting into computing. There was Atari at that time, Commodore, so those are the dinosaurs of the computing error these days, but back then they were big things. Then I start getting things on my own, programming things, and that was it. I fell in love with it, and that love story still continues to this day.

Alejandro: Got it. Let’s talk about here some of the experience being an engineer. So, your first job was Digital Equipment Corporation. You were there for about a year, and you did a couple of jumps until you got into VocalTec where you lasted for three years, but what did you learn from your stint at Digital Equipment Corporation, France Telecom, and also ETSI?

David Gurle: DEC, in short, DEC was the Microsoft of those years. The most admired company, the company that invented minicomputers, from mainframe to minicomputers to personal computers. I worked for DEC, actually for two years; one year as a junior engineer and one year as a real engineer. I told you that I became a computer science engineer up to graduating, but honestly, it is at Digital that I had learned what coding is and what proper software design patterns are. So, I was sent to their school of six months during which I realized that I knew nothing. It wasn’t because I knew how to program in C or Assembler, or how to build a computer that I knew what computer science was or is. I started learning things by being a tester. And then I was giving automation test development. Then from there, I start going into fixing bugs that others did. Then from there, I start building small code snippets and then progressively, I graduated to be a software engineer, and that process took time. To this day, I carry that knowledge with me. From there, I jump into France Telecom because I also had a Telecommunications Degree and Masters Telecommunications Degree. So, I was passionate about networking. I knew that the computers were meant to be connected with each other very early on. Then I wanted to make it happen. So, France Telecom had a research center in South of France, and I joined that. Then from there, I learned the rigor of what I will call the networking stack, and how all the way from the physical layer to the software layer, things to connect with each other, and they end up talking to each other in meaningful ways like you and I today, we can have this conversation. Then I saw a big chance. It was in 1995, and I realized that everything was going to converge to Internet Protocol or IP in short. If you and I are today talking via Skype, that’s because back in the 1994, 1995 time we were able to send voice through packet networks like IP. That became, for me an Aha moment. From there, I knew that I was going to do whatever it takes. Not only to join that revolution but to make it happen. So, that’s how I joined VocalTec which was the first company that went public back in 1995, I think, or 1996 as the internet telephony company. 

Alejandro: Really cool. You actually went to Israel?

David Gurle: I did. Yes. Back to Middle East.

Alejandro: That’s quite a big jump from France. That’s basically what you knew as an employee all the way to Israel. So, I mean, that was definitely quite a jump.

David Gurle: It was. Not only for me because I took my family. I took kids, young, one and four-year-old at the time, and expatriation outside of France to Middle East. It was during the Iraqi War. It was not an easy life for my family as a matter of fact. So, I’m more grateful for their sacrifice than mine. But I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything else. a) from a personal level, I didn’t have the opportunity to live in Israel, so I soon released from the other side and going to Israel and seeing it from another perspective was extreme knowledge enriching from my personal point of view. On top of that, I had the chance to work with the smartest people that I had the chance to work with ever. They were just so smart that I was thinking, “I’m so, so dumb. I know nothing.” In order to challenge myself to go up, I decided to write a book. You know, maybe it’s the time for me to put my knowledge to test and see whether I can write a book on voice-over-IP. So, I started that book as I was traveling back and forth to Israel and all the places around the world, and I eventually ended up publishing that book and many others after that.

Alejandro: That’s fantastic. How many books have you published so far?

David Gurle: Five.

Alejandro: Wow. That’s unbelievable. I mean, I’ve published one, and it was quite a challenging thing to do. I can’t even imagine five. That’s fantastic. So, I guess after this you then go to Microsoft, and I guess these are the days as well where you’re getting to experience this rocket ship as well of how things work. You were doing programming and then a couple of other things. So, out of these almost four years at Microsoft, what was the takeaway for you?

David Gurle: First of all, the reason I joined Microsoft is quite interesting. We should just spend a minute to talk about that.

Alejandro: Of course.

David Gurle: So, I was at VocalTec. We were doing voice-over-IP internet telephony. It was going well, but you needed a computer. You needed to actually buy the software at that time. There was not the internet that we know of today. Then you have to dial-up modem, and then you make a connection to the internet, and eventually make your phone call or voice to voice or IP to IP. It was a very, very, very friction-heavy process. I realized that in order for a voice-over-IP to become real, Microsoft had to embrace it because you had to embed that stack in Windows, and if it was part of Windows, then the revolution will start. So, I was closely working with Microsoft as I was in standardization committees. They made me an offer, and I joined Microsoft. The next day, I resigned because I felt that they weren’t going in the right direction. So, the VP wired me, said, “David, don’t go. Don’t go to the team that hired you. Be an individual contributor, and tell me what needs to happen, and what we need to do, and to stay, and we’ll make it happen. So, I decided to stay, and then I start building, basically the Microsoft real-time communication strategy. It took me just a few weeks to meet Bill Gates, and we really connected with each other at the first meeting. Then from there, I just start getting the resources I needed and finally end up being the General Manager of Microsoft real-time communication product set and did what I wanted to do which was make the [inaudible 12:07] part of Windows. Then I worked on a very important telecommunications protocol called Session Initiation Protocol called SIP as part of the contributor to that standard at entering task force, and I changed the Microsoft stance from a previous different protocol to SIP, and that completely settled the industry because once Microsoft adopted that new protocol, everybody knew that they had no choice but to stick to it. That actually created what I would say was the biggest catalyst to have everyone focus on one communication protocol that was to many of that time. That basically became the enabler for pretty much everything from your mobile phones to Cisco phones that people use to Skype that we use today to standardize on this type of protocol. So that was one of the things that I’m the most proud of at Microsoft.

Alejandro: How was that day, David, when you met Bill Gates. I mean, you’re saying it as a small thing, but here we’re talking about one of the biggest entrepreneurs probably in the history of entrepreneurship in the past decades. So, how was that experience for you?

David Gurle: You want to know how I met Bill for the first time?

Alejandro: Yes. Let’s hear it.

David Gurle: I was really, really scared to meet him. Obviously, everything you said is true, and people knew he was merciless, and they told me about how hard he is in those meetings, and how you cannot screwup. I was just so stressed I had to go to restrooms. So, I’m in the restrooms, and then there’s a guy who comes next to me, and I don’t look at the guy, but anyway, I just turn my head and here comes Bill Gates.

Alejandro: Wow.

David Gurle: So, I said to myself, “Oh! Hi.” Hi to each other, which is something you should never do as you know.

Alejandro: Right.

David Gurle: But, it completely humanized Bill for me, and I knew that he was just me, like you know, like even me.

Alejandro: He was someone that also would go to the bathroom. Someone normal. That’s great. That’s great. So, what was your biggest lesson, let’s say from Bill Gates?

David Gurle: There are so many. Attention to detail. Never stop asking why. The depth of curiosity and intellectual horsepower that Bill had is endless. We spent, he and I, hours together talking about technology and things that [out of my view 15:11] but you always come to the end of my knowledge very quickly. Then he always asked me to go deeper and deeper and deeper. I also learned the other side, which is that sometimes he would get pretty angry in meetings, and I said to myself, “Okay, you know, I’m not sure this is me. I don’t want to do that.” So, it gave me really a—going back to my experience in the Middle East, a number of perspectives, and I’ve been able to build on that, and that made me who I am today.

Alejandro: Got it. So, at what point did you say, “I’m going to Thomson Reuters?

David Gurle: Oh, that was a tough moment for me. Thomson Reuters was one of my customers, and their CEO came and said, “We need to change the company culture. We need to revamp. We need fresh blood. Would you join us.” And I said, “No. I’m really doing well at Microsoft.” Then that was like took a year. Then they came back, and they said, “No. No. We really need you. It would be really great if you’d come.” I said, “I’m still not interested in leaving.” But at the end, I also had reasons to go out because Microsoft is an Ivory Tower. Everything is great at Microsoft, but it’s only Microsoft’s way. I like to understand things from different point of views. So, being a technology stack vendor versus being a service provider in a very important and mission-critical market such as financial services and all the economy felt really compelling to me, and they presented a very nice challenge of revamping Thomson Reuters from ground up. So, with that, I took the family from Seattle to New York, and voilà, I was working for Thomson Reuters.

Alejandro: Wow. And you were there for quite a bit, for six years.

David Gurle: Exactly.

Alejandro: Then after that, you landed on Skype. What was that process of after six years going to a company that is a little bit smaller than Thomson Reuters? What was that transition for you like? 

David Gurle: Skype tried to hire me a couple of times before, and they were some interesting roles, but I didn’t want to work for Skype and eBay. I couldn’t feel the connection between Skype and eBay ever. I felt that eBay would not be a good parent for what I want to do if I were to join Skype. So, I declined. Then I learned the third time that set of [inaudible 18:10]. “We’re going to take Skype out of eBay.” Then I talked to folks at [inaudible 18:19], and they convinced me that they were serious about it. They wanted to do something really big with Skype. It was time for me to also look at what I wanted to do for the next 20 years of my professional life. I realized that it would be really good to go back to my roots in telecommunications, and I embraced the offer and moved from Singapore at that time to London.

Alejandro: Got it. But there, in the end, you were not for 20 years. You were just for one year and six months.

David Gurle: Yeah, my ex-team came to acquire Skype.

Alejandro: Yeah, that’s right. Microsoft in 2011.

David Gurle: Yes, exactly.

Alejandro: That’s amazing. And that deal was a big one. How much was it?

David Gurle: Over 8 billion dollars.

Alejandro: Wow. So then after this and then going to Avaya where you did corporate strategy finally entrepreneurship is calling at your door. So, how was this entrepreneurial bug, like all of us have kick into high gear for you?

David Gurle: I was first of all in London. Then we made a decision to open the U.S. quarters of Skype in Palo Alto, so I moved to Palo Alto. Here I am in the heart of Silicon Valley, and everybody talks about a company. They want to create a company. They want to found, or they’re going to join the next big startup. So, that’s the utmost in Palo Alto. That’s a very, very compelling set of people who are always challenging the status quo and trying to make you realize that if you do nothing, you are worthless. But I stuck to Skype, and eventually, Skype got sold, and [inaudible 20:12] asked me to join Avaya to run Corporate Strategy. When I joined Avaya, a few months later my manager got let go, and then I realized that “Hey, maybe this is the opportunity to do something on my own.” And I had an idea. So, I ran the idea by basically the CEO of Avaya, the chairman of Avaya, the manager, and then a few other people. I thought it was a crazy idea, so nobody will support that, but they did. So, I said, “Um. Maybe I got something it’s worthwhile doing.” That basically was the end of my time at Avaya. It was interesting because some of the people at Avaya invested in my company, and Perzo was born.

Alejandro: Got it. So, then Perzo. What was the transition from Perzo to Symphony? Are we talking about kind of like a rebrand because I know that Perzo was acquired by Symphony? So, what exactly happened there?

David Gurle: It was an interesting time. Eleven months after Perzo was funded in September of 2012. So, August 2013 we launched a product, and it was an immediate hit. So, it really struck a chord with people who care about confidential communications. Then I start getting startup acquisition offers. One of the interested parties was Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs wanted to find what they would call a mutual translate as a capability that does not read the content of the messages that it carries a company. Perzo was that. It was not capable of reading the content of its messages that it was carrying back and forth. It was really tright. It would resist lots of attacks that hackers would do in order to steal data, etc. So, it was something that really appealed to the financial networks. The transition was relatively difficult because a) I could have sold the company and cash out, or I could sell the company to a consortium which was Symphony, and then continue to dream. So, it took me a while to come to the term with Symphony from a personal point of view because it would have been a lifechanging exit for me if I had to take the other offers. But I decided that it was too early and maybe too small. Maybe I should go for the big game. So, I embrace the consortium that eventually became Symphony, and I acquired Perzo.

Alejandro: Got it. So then basically, it was like a group of people that put money in that acquired Perzo, and then at that point, Symphony was born. You were leading it with this group of people. Is that right?

David Gurle: Yeah, exactly. Got it.

Alejandro: For this company, were you the solo founder?

David Gurle: Yeah. 

Alejandro: And just out of curiosity, how was the experience of you being a solo founder rather than having someone there that you could lean on?

David Gurle: I’m going to come across really bad.

Alejandro: Let’s hear it. Let’s hear it, David.

David Gurle: I cannot share power. 

Alejandro: Got it. Well, look. Hey, that happens. You know, there are some people that can and some people that rather just say share it with someone else, but anyways. This is really, really interesting. So, how much capital, for example, has been raised for Symphony?

David Gurle: To date, over 300 million.

Alejandro: Over 300 million, and was it like a big chunk of that put by the consortium at the beginning or has it been like the traditional hypergrowth startup financing cycle after financing cycle? Walk us through that.

David Gurle: The later. I don’t know if there is a book on the best way to raise money or not. Maybe I should write one later.

Alejandro: Maybe mine. The Art of Startup Fundraising, David.

David Gurle: Exactly.

Alejandro: There you go.

David Gurle: There you go. But it was a small round to being with. The first round was 66 million dollars, and then from there, consequently I had between 1,600 million dollars in each round. Each time it was an uptake in terms of evaluation. So, it was every year since the inception of Symphony that I raised between 1,600 million dollars. It was I think the right thing to do for a number of reasons. I think the first is it aligns with evaluation growth in an incremental way. The second thing is that it really tests your teases with sophisticated people who are putting money at work by taking a huge amount of risk, trusting you, trusting you plan, trusting the team, and trusting pretty much the ecosystem that you are building, and testing yourself each year against all these smart money people is a very, very rewarding test. If you graduate successfully with the right terms and the right evaluation that builds confidence. You learn a lot in that process. Then from there, you progressively get better at it, and then always lead the team that you work with is also a very important part of the equation because they grow with you, and then also, they obviously reap the benefits of that growth of the company. So, I would say that we haven’t had those big 200, 300, 500 million things come into the company, and if we had, it could have been a very different trajectory or maybe we would have screwed up because there’s so much money in easy money. But doing the way we did it really gave us the discipline which I think is the right thing for any startup to go through.

Alejandro: And part of the 300 million that you guys raised, the people you have involved—I mean, we’re talking about serious sharks. I mean, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Google, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Citi Group, HSBC, Wells Fargo. I can go on, Black Frog, I can go on and on. It’s unbelievable, but this is like really big-time sharks. We’re not talking about the institutional venture capital investors that are more traditional for the earlier or perhaps the early to growth stages. What is, for the people that are listening, the main difference between let’s say dealing with the traditional venture capital firm to let’s say people of this incredible pedigree?

David Gurle: Pedigree, yeah. So, the names are all good. I’ve got 28 of them. 

Alejandro: That’s amazing.

David Gurle: I think every global financial institution is actually an investor, obviously also a customer of Symphony. What’s interesting is that they first were being a customer and then they become investors. So, that’s even better.

Alejandro: Got it. What was the reasoning then to get all of these financial institutions, David?

David Gurle: I think, first of all, we are solving a very, very important problem for them. For each of them, but collectively, most importantly. That is that we are building a new highway infrastructure that is going to create a much more secure, much faster and cheaper, and more compliance way for those people to do business with each other. There is just no parallel today to what we are building, and that really appealed to all these global players because they depend so much on the strength, the reach, and the power of that highway so that they don’t have to worry about how a message is sent across, they just have to worry about how to make their business decisions. So, when they realize the strategic benefit and the leverage that this company will have once that highway is built, and people are interconnecting through that, they said, “We couldn’t let this opportunity to pass. We have to be an owner of that or at least be a part owner.” So, that was a relatively straightforward decision for them once they got the implications of what it will mean in the next ten years to have this company wire the entire financial network of the world when there you are in the B2B side of it or the B2C side of it, it’s just going to carry all sorts of load, not just, you know, less to this trade but it is going to be documents, it’s going to be securities, it’s going to be trades, it’s going to be fundraising, it’s going to be your personal profile. Everything is going to go through this network, and the company that is owning that network will have a tremendous value and tremendous impact. So, that’s I think what they saw, and as well as VCs because I have also a number of VCs in the company. That became basically the investor consortium that we have, and I’m privileged because all of those people have our best interest in their mind, in their heart because our success means their success. Not only from an investment point of view but from the commercial point of view because they can make their own business grow faster and cheaper and serve their customers much better.

Alejandro: Got it. And obviously, like you were saying, you guys are transforming how people are communicating. Right?

David Gurle: Yeah.

Alejandro: So, when we’re thinking about the communication being effective and being secure, when we’re thinking about really making money, how do you guys think about monetization?

David Gurle: Well, we started monetization early on because our system is subscription-based. It’s a SaaS business model, and it has, obviously, attracted now over 400,000 end users. But what we have been able to see is like what I used to do when I was at Microsoft when I sold or to buy software, here I’m selling actually a network. So, in the beginning, it’s tough because the network effect isn’t in place. But as you progress the side of the network things get much better and much bigger. Then from there, you see a much better uptake of the network, and you realize that from there, you can sell faster, of course. This is now in a phase in which we are in this [career pull 32:20] of exploration of the network, and it’s fascinating to foresee because I can no longer control it. But our customers are doing it with our software and not be thought what they will do with our software, and it’s a fascinating thing to watch.

Alejandro: One thing that I was just reminded is, and just going back to these incredible people that you have involved with your business, the other day I was speaking with another guest, and he was saying that having people that are as strategic at some point on your cap table, obviously, as your investors, at some point, that alignment may become a misalignment or things may be misaligned. Do you have any concern like that?

David Gurle: No, I don’t because I’ve seen what they’ve done in the past because it’s not their first rodeo. Right? They’ve done other consortia. Think about Visa/Mastercard. These are entirely consortium-led initiatives which eventually went public and interests have been aligned over time. So, I don’t see any reason why the same won’t repeat itself, and exchanges like NYSE or Nasdaq. All of those also had consortia DNAs as part of their heritage. So, this is no different. We are in a global network, and the global network that we are building eventually achieves a critical mass, and once it achieves a critical mass, then interests shift from strategic value to investment value. We are not there yet, but we will.

Alejandro: For the people that are listening to get an idea of your business today, how big is Symphony today?

David Gurle: About 300 people, global company. We are present all the way from Palo Alto to Tokyo. We are in Australia. We have over 400 firms as customers or 400,000 users, or 50 million dollars in [return 34:28] revenue, and growing about 40% a year.

Alejandro: Really cool, and for the space itself, there’s a lot right now happening around the privacy and being able to communicate securely. I think that you guys are definitely riding a wave because I find, and perhaps you agree, or you disagree with this, but being an entrepreneur and being successful, I think that luck has a big component of timing in there.

David Gurle: Yes.

Alejandro: And I think that for you guys’ timing, it seems that you guys are executing this at the right time in history. So, I wanted to ask you, David, where do you see this space heading?

David Gurle: First of all, I hope that you are right with your prognostic on timing. I think you’re right too. The issues are on privacy, security are certainly on the top of the mind of many people, but there is still a lot of little knowledge I should say about it. People don’t understand what exactly privacy is, what exactly confidentiality is. They see encryption, and they think it’s safe. They see I own my encryption keys, they think it’s safe. So, there is a lot of myth around it, and they need to be debunked, and the truth needs to arise. So, that I think is the next phase as the people start realizing that security and privacy and confidentiality are important attributes to the digital human that we are becoming. For me, as this matures, as people get better in understanding the implications of lack of privacy, while the total or the civil market for Symphony keeps growing. Something that was focused for capital markets now become a tool for insurance and etc. So, I’m very optimistic about that. There are some tough decisions that you have to make in order to be successful in this business, and it’s [cheaper hard 36:50] to come back to make something that wasn’t private, make it private. 

Alejandro: You were talking about myths. What is the biggest myth that perhaps you can share with our listeners?

David Gurle: The biggest myth is encryption. People think that they see encryption somewhere, it’s safe. It’s equivalent to this: let’s say you have a house, and you do. You protect your house with a key, and you have your key, apartment, house, and without the key, you can’t break into your house, or you have to break into your house as a thief. So, the challenge of today is when you do something at Google or Slack or Microsoft, who owns that key? You think that you own that key, but actually no. The key is hosted in that company that gives you the equivalent of your flat at which is your email service. So, if your email gets processed at one point, and it will get processed at one point because you only read your email, but somebody has to decrypt that content. That’s where the myth is. So, where the encryption happen is exactly where the risk is. In the today cloud world, decryption happens in the cloud which is done in clear because the servers have to process the content for you to read that email. When this happens, your content, your data is at risk whether you own the key or wherever the key is, you basically have broken the chain of security. That’s where the myth is. In the world of Symphony, we never, ever open any content or process anything in the server. It’s entirely done on the client’s side in the Trust.Zone. Therefore, the risk is reduced to the Trust.Zone that you control as an end user versus the VIRTUZONE that Google or other cloud providers control, or Facebook. Look at what happened with Facebook just so many times. 

Alejandro: Yeah.

David Gurle: So, that’s the biggest difference. That is an entirely different computing model. So, in computer science, it’s a client’s server versus distributive computing, and they have two very different ways of working. If you have studied the client’s server, it’s cheaper hard to go to distributive computing. 

Alejandro: Got it. Super, super interesting. David, let me ask you this. There’s one question that I always ask the guest that we have on the show. An incredible journey! What a ride! You’ve been at it, and I wanted to ask you here if knowing what you know now if you could go back to the past and give yourself one piece of advice before starting a business, what would that be and why?

David Gurle: You’re going to be lonely. Careful. 

Alejandro: What’s that?

David Gurle: I said you’re going to be lonely.

Alejandro: Got it.

David Gurle: Yeah. Are you ready for it? That would be what I will ask.

Alejandro: And how do you know if you’re ready for it?

David Gurle: If you have the right people, family, friends, and obviously, employees around you, you can never be ready for what you don’t know because you don’t know what’s going to happen. But if you have the right people around you, and then you have the right confidence that you can deal with any situation, you know you’re going to be alone because you are the one who is going to make the tough decisions. You bear the burden of responsibility and accountability at the end. There’s only one, and that’s you. So, that’s how you cope with that. You know that’s what you’ve got to do, and then you surround yourself with the people who are smarter and better than you in their respective domain. Then you make them work with each other well and iterate until there are no more challenges. But unfortunately, that’s always the case that there are challenges. So, you start getting better at identifying challenges and solving them faster, knowing that basically, that is one iteration of or the other same story in terms of solving those puzzles. Then you shift your focus on how I become a better puzzle-solver as opposed to how I run better technology or a better business because at the end, it is how people work with each other that matters more than what they do, and if you do it well, then you can be successful at anything.

Alejandro: I love it. So, David, what is the best way for folks that are listening to reach out and say hi?

David Gurle: At david.symphony.com.

Alejandro: Well, David, it has been a pleasure to have you on the DealMakers show today.

David Gurle: It’s been my pleasure. It’s great questions, deep, and I learned a lot even talking to you because I had to think about those things that I tend to not talk about forever. So, thank you.

Alejandro: Thank you, David.

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