I had the absolute pleasure of hosting Ryan Vestby and Steven Freidkin on the latest episode of Sunny’s Silver Linings. Their entrepreneurial journeys are nothing short of awe-inspiring.
Finding Your Groove
Ryan Vestby’s journey into entrepreneurship is a testament to the unexpected twists life can take. Starting out as a passionate member of a hard rock band, Ryan’s dreams of making it big in the music industry led him to an unforeseen destination: the world of IT.
He joined CompuVision in Western Canada as their third employee, armed with little more than determination and a background in graphic design and multimedia. The reality of the IT world hit him hard – it was a complex domain that demanded expertise he didn’t possess. Yet, the potential within this space was unmistakable.
Guided by a patient founder, Bernie Bourgeois, Ryan embraced every opportunity that came his way. His mantra? Say ‘yes’ to everything. This mentality catapulted him through various roles in the organization, with the exception of finance.
In 2009, when Ryan was just 33 and arguably unqualified, Bernie passed him the CEO baton, believing Ryan was the right person to lead the company into its next chapter. Ryan attributes his unconventional success to lessons learned from his band days: the art of selling, marketing, and adapting to new challenges.
Today, VC3 is his new band, albeit with a better budget and a lot more fun.
From Geek to Business Guru
Steven’s journey into entrepreneurship couldn’t be more different. He was the quintessential tech enthusiast, spending his formative years exploring the aisles of CompUSA, captivated by the world of technology.
His turning point came when, mistaken for a CompUSA employee, he assisted a customer in setting up a computer. This serendipitous event triggered a cascade of opportunities, leading him to internships and eventually into the executive wing of a thriving business.
The epiphany? He wasn’t interested in what companies were doing with their resources; he was captivated by the potential of using technology to achieve their goals. This marked the inception of his venture, focusing on outsourcing IT services for businesses.
As the business transitioned, he learned the art of managing up, a crucial skill that propelled Ntiva to greater heights. The transition to private equity sponsorship brought with it a newfound emphasis on operational maturity and data-driven decision-making.
Culture: People First, Always
At Ntiva, it’s all about “people first.” The company thrives on the ethos of growing together and leveraging technology for collective progress. The shift towards data-driven operations has been transformative, enabling them to align their goals with concrete, measurable metrics.
Meanwhile, at VC3, the culture is a fusion of Canadian humility and American drive. The company values the virtues of being humble and hungry, embodying a relentless pursuit of excellence. Their motto? “No idea is left behind, and no process is set in stone.”
Embracing Cybersecurity and AI
In today’s tech landscape, the dangers of a connected world are more pronounced than ever. Both Ryan and Steven see this as an unparalleled opportunity for growth. Cybersecurity and AI are the linchpins of their business strategies, addressing the twin imperatives of safeguarding against cyber threats and leveraging AI for transformative impact.
In the rapidly evolving world of technology, the one constant is change. Embracing this change, Ryan and Steven continue to lead the charge, leveraging their diverse backgrounds and experiences to shape a future where innovation and entrepreneurship go hand in hand.
As we wrap up this insightful conversation with Ryan Vestby and Steven Freidkin, their journeys serve as beacons of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. From music stages to boardrooms, from geeky passions to tech empires, their stories remind us that entrepreneurship is a journey of continuous learning, adaptability, and unwavering determination.