With a strong background in technology and marketing, Markellos Diorinos is an entrepreneur passionate about delivering results and making great teams. Previously, Markellos spent 10 years at Upstream, a global leader in mobile marketing, in various roles, among others running the operations in Latin America and establishing new product lines.
Prior to Upstream, Markellos held Product Marketing positions at Microsoft in Seattle and founded ArtLogic, a software house. Markellos holds a BS and MSc in Computer Science from Friedrich Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg and an MBA from the University of Washington.
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Tell us a little bit about your current projects. What exciting milestone would you like to share with our readers? (Don’t hesitate to delve into your achievements, they will inspire the audience)
Markellos Diorinos: We have been getting exciting feedback from our customers that lets us know that what we are doing is making a huge impact in their hiring process. Hearing customer feedback like “we hired Person X because Bryq told us they would be a great match – and they’ve exceeded our expectations, even though we wouldn’t have looked at them twice based on their resume” is a validation of everything we stand for. It validates that our science matches talent to all needs, especially diversity and culture – it’s all-encompassing.
Was there somebody in your life that inspired you to take that specific journey with your business?
Markellos Diorinos: Definitely my father – he was probably the most objective person I ever met. He helped me learn to do things for a reason and put my feelings aside when making choices. This has helped me tremendously throughout my career and while developing Bryq.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. What’s the worst advice you received?
Markellos Diorinos: “Don’t give up what you have for something unknown.” I’m sure you’ve heard this advice many times before. I’ve often had people ask me, “Why would you risk everything to do that?” You have to risk things in order to get to the next big thing. This is how the process of creation always works. You don’t always have space in your life for everything. You have to do away with what you have to get something new. Sometimes you fail, but improving your process is worth the risk. You can’t make an omelette without breaking the eggs. You get where you need to go through the process of creating and evolving.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Markellos Diorinos: One thing I have learned is that I’m biased. I have my definition of what resilience is, and you probably have yours – and they are likely different. By definition, I/O psychology says that resilience is the way a person uses their natural abilities and skillsets to adapt to stressful situations and overcome adversity. In a company, this might mean employees being proactive in reaching long-term goals despite obstacles and setbacks they may face. We have to understand resilience and what it entails before we can measure it.
In your opinion, what makes your company stand out from the competition?
Markellos Diorinos: Our vision is to help companies maximize the use of human talent. It is a noble vision, but what sets us apart is that we don’t look at this narrowly. We are looking at the big picture – how can we do this, even if it is something that we won’t be able to do until 2, 5, maybe even 10 years from now? This forces us to look towards the future and gives us direction.
Delegating is part of being a great leader, but what have you found helpful to get your managers to become valiant leaders as well?
Markellos Diorinos: Not everyone wants to be a leader – and it was clear to us early on at Bryq that forcing people to do things because “it fits our model” is wrong. We look at each team member’s personality and ambitions and measure objectively. We know their strengths and weaknesses, and plot an individual path for each one of our leaders towards their version of greatness – not ours.
Being a CEO of the company, do you think that your personal brand reflects your company’s values?
Markellos Diorinos: There is a saying, “A fish stinks from the head down.” CEOs must lead by example. If you don’t embrace your own vision and values, why would you expect others to embrace them?
How would you define “leadership”?
Markellos Diorinos: Leadership is getting your team from one place to another. Bryq has a vision of where we need to go – but how do we get there? Our vision is to empower companies to grow and make better talent management decisions. We do a good job of this already, but finding this course is what a true leader does. You always have to think carefully when leading people. You can never get to where you want to go until everybody gets there. You can’t be successful as a company if your employees or customers are not successful. To be a leader is to show people the path towards success.
Do you think entrepreneurship is something that you’re born with or something that you can learn along the way?
Markellos Diorinos: Psychology tells us that our personalities stabilize around the time we turn 18 and hardly change after that point. There are personalities that lend themselves to entrepreneurship, so some people enter adulthood with a very entrepreneurial profile. Entrepreneurship is something they enjoy. Matching your natural tendencies to what you do is always a great idea – and a great way to maximize your potential.
But there is no one path to success. The one thing that keeps amazing me is the strength of the human will. We are constantly seeing people who achieve things thought to be impossible for them to accomplish – because “where there is a will, there is a way.”
What’s your favorite “life lesson” quote and how has it affected your life?
Markellos Diorinos: “You can be right, or you can be happy.” I always want to be right. I’m the kind of person that will correct your grammatical mistakes – but it is a great reminder that I don’t always have to be right. There are things we need to let go of, and there are fights that don’t have to be fought.
I apply this to my business life as well. In my mind, there is always a ‘right’ way to do things – but as long as I am happy with the result, I don’t have to be right. I let my team members choose their own paths. This helps foster diversity of thought and even better results than what the ‘right’ way would have yielded by itself.
Larry Yatch, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Markellos Diorinos 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 Markellos Diorinos or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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