Gary Swart
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Gary Swart

Gary has two decades of experience in technology. He was previously the VP of Worldwide Sales for Intellibank and a Business Unit Executive for IBM's Rational Software.

Redowood City, California, United States
Member since December 07, 2011
About Gary
Activities

I am a(n):

Entrepreneur

If you are an entrepreneur, why?

I want to change the world.

My favorite startups:

oDesk, DropBox, Mint,

What's most frustrating and rewarding about entrepreneurship/innovation?

Rewarding: Seeing the impact you can have on peoples lives.

Frustrating: How long it can take to have an impact.

What's the No. 1 mistake entrepreneurs make?

Assuming a product-market fit. Entrepreneurs often build for themselves, not their customers. It creates an innovator's dilemma, where the passion moves in one direction, while the potential profits move in another. Success comes when an entrepreneur can recognize and balance both the innovative idea and the customer needs to create a product that speaks to both.

What are the top three lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

First and foremost, the importance of the team. Not just the best people, but also hiring the right people at the right time for the business. Think of your business lifecycle in terms of jungle-dirt road-highway: You don't want a resource who is great with a machete in the driver's seat when your company is ready to enter the highway at 90 mph.

The second is to focus and prioritize. You can't be all things to all people, and creating a successful company relies on a clarity and a commitment to the acknowledged priorities of the business.

And last, but not least, is to stay customer-focused. Ensure product market fit not just at the onset and concept stages, but throughout the life of the product. Keep a finger on the pulse of your customers' needs, and use that knowledge to inform (but not dictate!) your product decisions.

Full bio

Gary brings to oDesk a passion for helping small businesses succeed and more than 17 years of experience in the enterprise software market. Before oDesk, as the VP of Worldwide Sales for Intellibank, he was responsible for building the sales organization, but Gary's enthusiasm for small businesses was born during his tenure as a Business Unit Executive for IBM's Rational Software Product Group, where he led Small and Medium Business sales for the Americas. Gary came to Rational through its merger with Pure Software, where he held sales, management and leadership positions.

Gary holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland.