Cameron Weiss is a Swiss-trained and certified master watchmaker, having trained with Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin. Cameron was co-host of Watch & Listen, a watch podcast, and enjoys cycling, woodworking, restoring classic cars, and exploring the outdoors with his family.
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Welcome to your ValiantCEO exclusive interview! Let’s start with a little introduction. Tell us about yourself.
Cameron Weiss: My name is Cameron Weiss. I am the founder of Weiss Watch Company and am a certified watchmaker, dad, car and outdoor enthusiast.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get to where you are today? Give us some lessons you learned along the way.
Cameron Weiss: I wanted to be a scientist when I grew up. I always loved hands-on learning and experimentation. I get to do that in the role I have created for myself now when it comes to R&D and creating new designs.
Tell us about your business, what does the company do? What is unique about the company?
Cameron Weiss: Weiss Watch Company makes watches in the US using traditional mechanics and modern materials. What is most unique about our company is that it is a watchmaker owned, independent watch company making timepieces in the US.
How to become a CEO? Some will focus on qualities, others on degrees, how would you answer that question?
Cameron Weiss: I think becoming a CEO requires experience and life lessons. I have learned as I’ve gone and used my experience to grow how I run the business. You never stop learning.
What are the secrets to becoming a successful CEO? Who inspires you, who are your role models and why? Illustrate your choices.
Cameron Weiss: My secret to success is passion for the industry you are in. I am inspired by Nicholas G. Hayek, because he took an industry that he was passionate about but that was slightly outside his core business competencies, and he was able to revolutionize it. He reinvented it for the future.
Many CEOs fall into the trap of being all over the place. What are the top activities a CEO should focus on to be the best leader the company needs? Explain.
Cameron Weiss: I think the focus should be on leading by example, showing up, and not giving up when faced with challenges.
The Covid-19 Pandemic put the leadership skills of many to the test, what were some of the most difficult challenges that you faced as a CEO/Leader in the past year? Please list and explain in detail.
Cameron Weiss: For me, our biggest challenges have been dealing with production delays and massive fluctuations in material costs and availability.
What are some of the greatest mistakes you’ve noticed some business leaders made during these unprecedented times? What are the takeaways you gleaned from those mistakes?
Cameron Weiss: I think pulling back on R&D spending and decreasing advertising budgets is a mistake right now. I believe right now it’s important to spend on the business for the future, because investments paid now will make huge dividends when we come out of the current situation.
In your opinion, what changes played the most critical role in enabling your business to survive/remain profitable, or maybe even thrive? What lessons did all this teach you?
Cameron Weiss: We have a strong reputation for quality with a large percentage of our sales coming from word of mouth. Maintaining and improving quality as we grow is an essential strategy of ours. When these two factors come together, we have stable supply with an increase in demand and have found that we need to incrementally raise prices to keep up with the high demand while ensuring we never jeopardize quality.
What is the #1 most pressing challenge you’re trying to solve in your business right now?
Cameron Weiss: Our product is inherently difficult to produce. This means that there are many barriers to entry that keep competition at bay, but it also makes our job of scaling up production very complex. Many things we do take big budgets for R&D and finding and training the right people for production is always tricky.
You already shared a lot of insights with our readers and we thank you for your generosity. Normally, leaders are asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is the most useless skill you have learned, at school or during your career?
Cameron Weiss: I do not believe that anything I learned was useless; there are things that I wish I learned, but everything I have learned translates into something positive down the line.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. We will select these answers for our ValiantCEO Award 2021 edition. The best answers will be selected to challenge the award.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make, this past year 2021, for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Cameron Weiss: Changing delivery dates and lead times of timepieces has of course impacted our customers. They know that their timepieces are handmade and expect to wait for a piece to arrive, but they have luckily handled any delays with grace and patience.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Cameron Weiss 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 Cameron Weiss or his company, you can do it through his – Instagram
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