Alan d’Escragnolle is the CEO and Co-Founder of Filmhub, a film distribution tech platform where filmmakers maintain their rights and monetize their films by distributing them to streaming services worldwide. A Brazilian-American Wharton School graduate, Alan honed his entrepreneurial skills leading teams at Square/Cash App, Google, Intuit and served on the executive teams of two successfully acquired startups. When he’s not powering Filmhub’s global expansion, Alan escapes to nature and can be found in Lake Tahoe skiing and mountain biking with his dog.
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Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Alan d’Escragnolle: My love for the arts started with my mom bringing me to broadway musicals in middle school and was coupled with a love for entrepreneurship when I started importing car parts and selling them online. In college, I continued my love for theater managing the business side of Penn’s largest theater organization – The Mask and Wig Club. Post-college I spent time at both large tech companies such as Square and Intuit and some smaller startups that we’re successfully acquired.
I knew I really loved the power of tech and what it could do when deployed for good. So when I met my co-founder Klaus, who was an entrepreneur, musician, and developer who had written the music to Pirates of Caribbean and Gladiator and he explained his rough concept – I knew we were the perfect match to build Filmhub. A duo that loved the arts but also understood how we could use technology to amplify the voices of filmmakers around the world.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Alan d’Escragnolle: It takes a village. One person, in particular, my mentor and friend, Mike Grossman who gave me my first real shot leading a team… I remember him telling me, “Alan – I know you’re young – but I know you’ve got what it takes to figure this job out.
He hired me away to work on a turnaround company when I was at Intuit – he knew I needed to do something more entrepreneurial. The biggest thing he taught me that I carry through to this day in all hiring I do – look for hunger, intellectual curiosity, and general smarts, in most cases in entrepreneurial land – this is really what you need, not necessarily deep experience. With this and many other teachings, he was an amazing coach – and helped give me a customer-driven analytical team player mindset that has allowed me to get where I am today. I was lucky to learn from one of the best.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?
Alan d’Escragnolle: Advice is situational which is one of the hardest things for people to realize. You don’t always know why the person is giving the advice or why they think that. Often it can be personally motivated. The worst advice I’ve ever received – “Try going into a venture, you like entrepreneurship, you’ll love venture.”
I’m a person that needs to be building – I tested the waters here once – and as soon as I realized I couldn’t actually be in the weeds building something I shut down and got super bored.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Alan d’Escragnolle: Resilience is sticking with your gut and sacrificing what’s not critical to get the job done.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Alan d’Escragnolle: Our commitment to making filmmakers’ lives better through technology and our ability to approach filmmaking from a completely different approach than Hollywood has. We can’t build this company from a Hollywood mindset, that’s why we’re building it with a Valley mindset.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Alan d’Escragnolle: My answer would be:
- Persistence – a.k.a. ability to get s**t done. Pardon my French.
- Empathy – desire to understand people’s problems and improve their lives.
- Enthusiasm – When I get excited about a problem, it’s game over.
How important do you think it is for a leader to be mindful of his own brand?
Alan d’Escragnolle: You shouldn’t be thinking about your “brand”. You should just be genuine and be you. Don’t try to be something you’re not.
How would you define “leadership”?
Alan d’Escragnolle: Taking charge and being able to motivate a team. That motivation comes in many shapes and sizes.
What would you say is the main difference between starting a business at the time you started yours and starting the business in today’s age?
Alan d’Escragnolle: Filmhub is only a few years old – but the biggest thing is even being a few years old – we’re already having to replace tools, processes, hiring practices, and software we started with 2 years ago. Being able to fully start from scratch always gives great entrepreneurs a new leg up.
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Alan D’Escragnolle: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss
I grew up as a Brazilian-American, so was always a bit in between the 2 countries and cultures. It meant I thought about things a little bit differently and had different viewpoints than most. My parents always encouraged me to speak my mind and it helped me realize who were the people that really mattered around me.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Alan D’Escragnolle for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Alan d’Escragnolle or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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