In 2013 the idea to start CloudZone came about. I was working at Matrix, and we had been collaborating with AWS as a partner. When the opportunity arose to become the first reseller of AWS services in Israel – we took it, and that’s how CloudZone came to be. Imagine talking about Cloud services in 2013. The MRR (monthly recurring revenue) model was unheard of. It was for startups! No one was talking about this in the IT market and for us at Matrix, it was new and completely uncharted territory. The industry was ripe for disruption, and we had a unique opportunity to create something new and exciting.
So, what do you do when you see a huge opportunity for something that had never been done and a passion to make an impact? You learn. Starting something from scratch was by far what I valued most about the opportunity, and I had no idea what a fantastic journey this was going to be! A personal journey that was the best ride of my entire life, and I can tell you I’ve been on some crazy rides!
From understanding Cloud billing, tech value, consulting, and delivery models, to building a team, understanding customer needs, developing strong strategic business partnerships, and facing new markets in Europe – over the last decade, we’ve grown to become one of the leading Cloud services companies in Israel with over 100 amazing employees, a unique cultural vibe, hundreds of customers, innovative solutions, and services, and all of this – with meaningful international activity. I can’t even tell you what it is like for a person to experience such a remarkable journey. These have been the best 10 years of my life.
Taking the lead at CloudZone taught me so much about who I am and mainly about what it means to be a good leader and mentor. I’ve learned a few valuable lessons in the past 10 years, these are my key takeaways and insights:
Bring in the most talented people and make sure that they are better than you. They are your go-to people. Let them lead, let them create, and be there to navigate when needed, but provide space for growth and trust them to have different ways of solving things.
Have a clear vision – your vision is your compass. Always know where you want to go. When you know where you want to go, the road is much clearer, and you can prioritize what’s important and what isn’t. A clear vision doesn’t have to be very complicated – it just needs to be the right fit!
Encourage diversity – when you bring in different kinds of people, you get a workforce that’s more prone to creativity and innovation! You get so many more perspectives, and this allows you to learn so much about so many things. Our annual hackathons are a reflection of how to come up with ideas and bring them to life in such creative ways! Always provide room for diversity and mixture of different people!
Listen to feedback – collect feedback proactively. Don’t wait for anyone to come and give it to you. Listen to your team, listen to your customers, listen to your partners – learn from feedback and implement changes. Even if the changes seem overwhelming and can’t be done right away, once you have an idea of what needs to change, the path is easier.
Inspire trust – when you say something, make sure you stand behind it. Make sure that whatever comes out of your mouth is credible. You only have one chance with people. Even if you’re not the bearer of good news, being honest and direct is the best way to go!
Have patience – not everything is going to happen the second you want it to happen. I am not very good with patience, but I learned that if you wait patiently, your dreams can and will take shape!
Build strong business cases for everything you do! This is not just to prove to your management that you are on the right direction, it is also for you. Your gut is amazing – use it to initiate something, but numbers and facts can help you with the strategy and your pitch, and with resonating your decisions as well.
Make mistakes and own them when you do! Being able to admit that you did something that didn’t work or that you made the wrong decision is crucial! Part of the journey is being able to divert and try a different path. Admitting to making mistakes is sometimes hard, but it allows you to put your ego aside and focus on making the right changes, and the social reward is incredible.
Be kind – always speak about people positively! This is not an easy task, you’re human, and when you see things you don’t like, our nature is to automatically think negatively. Break the cycle, don’t let your mind play tricks on you. There’s always good in people and when you see the good and not just the bad, it provides you with a platform to help these people grow. Encourage people when they succeed and support them when they struggle. Mean it. Be wholehearted about everything you say.
Find time for mentorship – find time to help your team grow, because when they grow, you grow. Throughout the years, I have always made time on a weekly basis to have conversations with people and help them develop their confidence. It’s fun, rewarding, and highly valuable. Another thing is letting yourself be mentored by others – sometimes we think we know everything. We don’t. It’s a fact!
Manage yourself and the organization with work plans and KPIs – it’s always the biggest headache. We all know that! But it’s a headache that makes everyone feel more comfortable during the year and it has a direct connection to what you would like to achieve. Have a clear way to track and measure what you and your team need to do, and make sure that you define what is considered a success. Reflect this to your team as well. Use the right tools to do this!
And finally, most importantly – make time for your family, friends, and hobbies, so you always wake up in the morning with a balanced smile on your face and ready to conquer the world!
CloudZone is not just a company I lead, it’s the baby I raised, it’s part of my identity and my image and I can’t wait to reach some more mountain tops with this amazing team I have, and with my colleagues at Matrix, our partners, and of course – our customers.
Thank you for believing in us! Cheers to another decade!