In our 5 Questions series, we ask local entrepreneurs and CEOs how they got where they are and what they think of the business community in South Florida.
Kevin Michael is the co-founder and managing partner of Invizio, an IT services and consulting firm. The Antiguan-born entrepreneur came to South Florida to attend the University of Miami, where he got his degree in engineering. After spending some time in Texas, he returned to Miami and began his company specializing in IT matters for small businesses.
What was your first job?
I grew up in a very entrepreneurial environment, so it's hard to pin down what my first job really was. I worked in my mom's retail clothing business ever since I can remember, but my first paycheck came as the webmaster for a drag racing sports website when I was 14 years-old. It was the first opportunity I got to apply some coding skills for anything other than class, and I had a blast being at the races. The owner of the company was a young ambitious guy who had a knack for over-promising and under-delivering. By witnessing the challenges that he faced I learned to do the opposite.
What's the best career advice you've ever received?
The best career advice I ever got was from Mico Yuk, a classmate at the University of Miami. She'd graduated a few years ahead of me and had already started a few ventures. Just before I graduated from college, she was visiting the area and I remember her telling me, "You know you have it what it takes to start your own business. You don't have to go corporate." That piece of advice stuck with me from that moment on and gave me the confidence to plot my escape from corporate America.
What do you look for when you hire?
Passion and curiosity. I strongly believe that people who are genuinely excited about what they do and have a strong desire to learn will always be the top performers in any environment.
What's your favorite job interview question to ask and why?
My favorite job interview question is, "If you didn't have to work another day in your life, what do you think you'd do?" The answers really tap into what makes people tick and reveals what they want out of life.
What's the biggest misconception about the business climate in South Florida?
I think we're often viewed as being just fun in the sun, but our business climate here is incredibly diverse and fiercely competitive in a way that rivals any city in the nation.