Shark Tank’s Herjavec: 6 Things I Know for Sure
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — During his freshman year of college, it was a threat from his father that left Robert Herjavec with no choice but to make some decisions about his life – fast.
The celebrity judge on the ABC television show “Shark Tank” had enrolled in school to study business, but after a few months, he started having second thoughts.
“I thought, ‘this is so boring,’ so I quit,” Herjavec told attendees at the National Association of Credit Union Service Organization’s annual conference held in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., in mid-April.
One day, he was at home and his dad walked in, wondering why Herjavec was there in the middle of the day.
“He asked, ‘what are you doing home,’” said Herjavec, mimicking his father’s Yugoslavian accent. “I told him I quit college. There was a pause. Then he said, ‘I’ll kill you and bury you in the backyard, no one will know.’”
Herjavec laughed at the memory of his father’s teasing, sort of.
“So, I went back to college,” he told the audience.
Herjavec would go on to earn a degree in English literature, became an entrepreneur building and selling several IT companies, and later launching The Herjavec Group, a $125 million managed security company.
In addition to being the author of several bestselling books, in 2013, Herjavec won the Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Technology and was presented with the Queen’s Jubilee Award for outstanding service.
At the NACUSO conference, he shared several pieces of knowledge he’s learned along his life’s journey.
Read more: Cash at a crossroads ...
1. Acceptable payments are age related.
“I have a lot of experience with credit unions and not-for-profits. I work with a small credit union in Winnipeg that deals mainly with the farm industry. It’s a very interesting industry you’re in because the entire idea of cash is really at a crossroads," he said.
In the world of bitcoin, what does that transaction mean? It’s such an age-related thing. I still have a hard time using a card at Starbucks. I actually know where my physical branch is. My kids don’t understand why daddy has to go to a branch. We have this argument all the time on what is an acceptable form of payment today, will it be tomorrow?”
Read more: Education is crucial ...
2. Education divides the haves and have-nots.
“If you can’t talk money and technology, you’re going to be left behind in America," Herjavec said. "One of the biggest obstacles to people getting ahead is feeling disenfranchised. Most of the Shark Tank judges have MBAs. I have a classic English literature degree. The great divide is between the educated and the not educated; not the rich and poor. If you don’t have a degree, you’re already behind. It doesn’t even matter what your degree is in.”
Read more: It's all about execution ...
3. The status quo doesn't cut it.
“In my world, fast is fast," he said. "Every industry is a little different. In my world, you either grow or you die. In my world, there are no companies that sit around and say, ‘I like things the way they are.’ There are those types of companies but they are bankrupt. There are no great ideas, it’s all about execution.”
Read more: America is still the land of opportunity ...
4. Returns can be huge in the U.S.
“How many investments across the world have made money – a substantial return of 20% a year? Only five companies have done this," Herjavec said. "In the (U.S.), the returns are huge. The business of America is consumerism. If you hit, baby, you can really hit big. There was one company (on Shark Tank) that made, shall we say, inappropriate Christmas sweaters. They pitched it on Friday and by Sunday, they had made $350,000.”
A NACUSO conference attendee asked Herjavec what was the biggest investment he made on Shark Tank.
“The ugly Christmas sweaters," he said. "People really like them. My dividend check was more than my investment (in the product).”
Read more: Desktops are dead ...
5. Technology is still evolving.
"There will be a day when there won’t be any more desktops. People buy laptops," he said. "We don’t realize it, but Facebook was only started 10 years ago. There are over one billion people on Facebook. But most of the world is still not connected to the Internet. In places like Africa, there’s only 6% penetration. And, where are they going when they get access? They’re going immediately to high speed fiber.”
Read more: Social media is a must ...
6. Don't restrict social media access.
Shark Tank was the first show to do live tweeting, Herjavec said.
“I think it’s really helped the show," he said. "So does the network because it does it for every other show. Social media is such a powerful medium. It makes the audience feel like they’re getting a behind the scenes view of what’s going on."
"I read an article in the Wall Street Journal that said 65% of corporations do not allow access to personal social media during the day," he continued. "But 90% of employees said ‘we use it all the time during the day.’ You cannot restrict access to social media. Your customers will expect you to communicate with them over social media.”