Peter Szalontay is the DataGoat at DataMilk, which empowers e-commerce sites to build AI-powered UX. With DataMilk’s no-code AI UX platform, eCommerce businesses can build engaging shopping experiences on their site in minutes, not months.
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Table of Contents
Let’s learn a little about you and really get to experience what makes us tick – starting at our beginnings. Where did your story begin?
Peter Szalontay: What makes me tick is looking at how people use things and trying to mathematically model their behaviour. There’s so much value society can extract from paying attention to each other and adapting to each other’s needs! The internet is an awesome place because there’s so much data ok through as well.
Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up?
Peter Szalontay: My first company was actually in food delivery. I was completely out of my zone of expertise but it was exciting to me to try to work on something entirely new. I was working like crazy doing everything from coding to signing up restaurants to doing deliveries to fixing the cars!
Eventually we had to shut down because of Covid. Our business model was focusing on colleges but colleges shut down. No students meant no sales. One of the biggest lessons was that the world is super competitive so I need to play to my strengths. AI and UX are my personal strengths and the rest of our team is even bigger experts than me. Todd is the only way you can survive in the world of startups!
What are the most common mistakes you see entrepreneurs make and what would you suggest they do?
Peter Szalontay: The biggest mistakes are about ego and greed. This is one I made myself as well. People want to participate in big things – the bigger the ship the more opportunities for a large network of people to benefit. That means the founder has much less influence than most think and it means that sharing the wealth is much more important that hording it.
Resilience is critical in critical times like the ones we are going through now. How would you define resilience?
Peter Szalontay: I guess the same way a five year old would! You get up when you get knocked down. That doesn’t mean you get into battles you’re certain to lose though. We have to have a chance but if we do we must keep relentlessly trying to go for it!
What is most important to your organization – mission, vision or values?
Peter Szalontay: The truth. That means academic rigor when it comes to measuring impact but it also means honest feedback between teammates and from customers. It doesn’t matter who was right as long as we’re collectively succeeding!
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Peter Szalontay: I am incredibly skeptical and borderline paranoid. It enables me to fight risks but it also enables me to see the truth even if the majority believes it to be false. Almost all business opportunities are caused by an uneven distribution of information in society.
How important do you think it is for a leader to be mindful of his own brand?
Peter Szalontay: Very. As the CEO of the company you represent a larger group of people and the brand of the company. Honesty, fairness and integrity are all strong contributors to trust. In the end people trust us because they know we would not put anything above those qualities.
How do you monitor if the people in your department are performing at their best?
Peter Szalontay: There’s no silver bullet to monitoring performance but I believe it comes down to a great strategy. If you have a complicated strategy you won’t be able to measure a small set of metrics to understand if you’re executing well – people in the organisation will be confused and the managers will be confused as well. In the end of it’s clear what you’re doing it’s clear who contributed add who didn’t
What advice would you give to our younger readers that want to become entrepreneurs?
Peter Szalontay: Don’t go to school. Just build something with smart people as soon as possible and don’t be afraid to fail. There’s no school that will teach you how to build a company, only life experience.
What’s your favorite “leadership” quote and how has it affected the way you implement your leadership style?
Peter Szalontay: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” Steve Jobs
Jerome Knyszewski, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Peter Szalontay 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 Peter Szalontay or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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