Lessons Learned: Cittio's Jamie Lerner on nickels and manhole covers

Don't believe the hype and challenge the business

Lessons learned from entrepreneur by John Shinal
October 29, 2007 last edited July 10, 2008
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Jamie Lerner, the founder and CEO of Cittio, says he learned from his entrepreneur father about the three "I's" -- "intelligence, integrity and intensity" -- which can help startup executives overcome a lot of challenges.

Lerner, whose company sells software systems that let enterprises automate the process of monitoring their networks, also advises other entrepreneurs run their businesses economically, by "throwing nickels around like manhole covers."

Cittio was founded in 2001 and has attracted customers including the retailer Mervyn's, children's activity company Gymboree and the National Basketball Association's Boston Celtics.

When asked about his failures and what he learned from them, Lerner told's Bambi Francisco that the biggest failures come when "you're not the biggest skeptic of your own business," and when "you believe your own hype."

"Being paranoid is good," Lerner says, echoing the mantra of CEO's of  many successful tech firms.