What he’s learned working with Garrett Camp, Peter Diamandis, and Joe Fernandez
Emil Michael has worked with some of the most influential forces in the tech world. The DPCM Capital chairman and CEO says he has always recognized the priceless power of networking and admits that building and sharing his network is one of the cornerstones of his success. The entrepreneur has also been on the ground floor of dozens of sought-after startups. That’s where he shares the innumerable gems he’s learned from some of Silicon Valley’s most prized minds like Canadian billionaire Garrett Camp, Xprize Foundation founder and Executive Chairman Peter Diamandis, and Klout co-founder Joe Fernandez.
What’s his biggest takeaway from joining forces with such high-powered peers? “There are very few entrepreneurs who’ve been successful who have just been lucky all the way through,” shares Michael. “Everyone has had their tough moments and just if you can be resilient through them, I think you have a better shot at success.”
Emil Michael Recalls Working With Garrett Camp
“Garrett Camp was literally the inventor of Uber,” Michaels says of the Canadian billionaire entrepreneur and co-founder of Uber. “He was in Paris at night in the cold rain and couldn’t get a taxi and the iPhone 2 had just come out and it was a very limited set of apps. He said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if there was an app on your phone now that there’s GPS?’ Because the iPhone 1 didn’t have a GPS signal on it.”
Emil Michael says while the brand had to work through challenges such as the iPhone 2’s fleeting battery power, he credits Garrett with the initial idea of Uber.
“The iPhone 3 finally had enough battery power,” he says. “So if you plugged it into your car charger, it would stay charged. So these simple things allowed Uber to exist. And then [I] credit Garrett with a lot of that early invention and insight. I think he’s an inventor more than an entrepreneur. I think that’s the best description of him.”
Emil Michael: Peter Diamandis Is a Futurist
Peter Diamandis is an independent director for Michael’s blank check company, DPCM Capital. Like Michael, Diamandis is a Harvard alum. While Michael received his Bachelor of Arts from Harvard University, Diamandis graduated from Harvard Medical School. Described on diamandis.com as a “data-driven optimist” and named one of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” by Fortune, Michael says he’s impressed with Diamandis’ ability to be a visionary for the future. Diamandis is the executive founder of the graduate-level Singularity University, which is helping to accelerate the development of artificial intelligence, robotics and digital technology. The health tech-centric educational resource has worked with brands such as Google, Lowe’s, and Bayer and has connected with businesses in more than 55 countries.
“With Peter Diamandis, he has Singularity University. He is working on human longevity,” Emil Michael says of the executive who launched more than 20 companies ranging from education to space. “[He is studying things like] How long we can live? What are the things that are going to allow us to live longer? [He looks at] medicines, how to reduce inflammation — all kinds of things. And then when do AI and robotics actually make it so that a robot or a computer can think in the same way as humans? [It’s] a little scary, but he lives in the future like Elon [Musk] does.”
Emil Michael Discusses How Joe Fernandez Impacted the Business World
“Joe Fernandez is a little bit more of a gritty entrepreneur, looking at ideas that are going to make his local community better,” says Emil Michael, who was an investor in Joymode, a gaming rental service company launched by Fernandez. “The idea of Klout, which was the business he started, [came to be because] there was so much noise online, which we all know on Twitter and all these places. [With all the] noise, you don’t know who to believe. [There is so much] conflicting advice, evidence, who knows?”
According to Emil Michael, the Klout ranking system was designed to sort through the quagmire of social media content on various platforms.
“The Klout ranking system was designed to say, ‘Well, here are the people who everyone listens to on this subject because they’re most influential on it,’” he explains. “So [it was made] to cut through the noise a bit, which was a big idea, [but] couldn’t find a business model for it, but the idea is still important.”
Leading by Example and Learning From Trial and Error
From his earliest days in finance at Goldman Sachs to diving into the tech abyss of Silicon Valley, Emil Michael advises all aspiring entrepreneurs to get comfortable with taking risks and get familiar with failure. “Everyone has had their tough moments. When coaching companies, Michael says he often emphasizes the importance of maintaining balance in a business and keeping a tribe mentality in a brand. “[Make sure] you’re all working hard toward the same goal,” he adds.