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Getting to Know You: Steve Doumar, Founder of Whisp

Steve Doumar is a marketing expert, tele-services pioneer, and serial entrepreneur, having most recently founded the company Whisp, a cutting-edge communications company, out of Miami, FL.

A lifelong member of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida community, Steve found his footing as an entrepreneur when he founded the high-end bridal magazine Premiere Bride. After years of cultivating the magazine to resounding success, he sold it in 2000, intent on pursuing exciting new endeavors.

Eager to capitalize on the widespread adoption of the internet, as the millennium dawned, Steve Doumar partnered with a team to create a new company, LiveOps, which is generally credited as one of the first platforms that enabled ordinary people to earn a living online from home. In the years since its founding, LiveOps has grown to include clients such as the United States Government, Amazon, Stand Up for Cancer, Humana, and dozens of others.

Steve Doumar had the inspiration to take on new challenges. He took his experience and resources and Whisp was born, a company that provides a way for customers to tap on a digital ad and connect with the business responsible for the ad through text messages. Today, Steve holds 41 active patents, 13 issued, derived through the development of the company. With the advent of a number of data enrichment features, Whisp continues to strive towards the goal of revolutionizing the way businesses start the journey with new customers.

What do you currently do at your company?

Currently, I’m hiring new candidates to work with our team. I’m also determining in which specific directions we want to take the company. Because we hold so many patents pertaining to this new technology we’ve developed, we have numerous and multi-layered possible directions. But our central focus is on improving the customer experience and saving time for both businesses and customers wherever possible. My job is to oversee my team in all the different exercises we undertake and make sure that we’re making the right choices. As a team, we’re determining the right changes to enable the creation of a better experience for all parties.

What was the inspiration behind your business?

Texting has become the new email. When I conceived of Whisp, it seemed as though no one had developed a way to turn digital ads into text conversations. So I created the world’s first 3rd Mobile Call-To-Action. I took on the endeavor to fill that gap on behalf of both customers and businesses. Improved communication opportunities create better connections and experiences for everyone involved. As the venture grew, a patent portfolio developed around making this text opportunity into a reality.

What defines your way of doing business?

My way of doing business is defined by staying focused on the goal and sharing the new opportunity with anyone who may need it. There are so many applications for this service, and we know there are many people and companies who can put it to good use once they know it’s an option. For example, I was in touch with representatives from Twitter this morning. It didn’t take them long to see the value this would offer to their bottom line. This tool will make life much easier for many people.

What keys to being productive can you share?

The most important thing for a company to remain productive is keeping everyone on the same page and moving in the same direction. That doesn’t just mean in principle, but in reality. Each person brings their individual skills to the business and together it will move forward. When someone doesn’t fit, it’s good to be prompt about making that adjustment and releasing them without negativity.

How do you measure success?

We measure success through multiple factors. The most recognized method is through revenue. This offsets cost and proves the concept is successful. However, true success is more than that. It’s developing the forward momentum that will sustain fiscal successes. Regardless if it’s a single sign-up, or a number of actions that build a customer list, it’s forward momentum that creates ongoing success.

What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned through the course of your career?

The most valuable lesson I’ve learned throughout the course of my career is if you have the ability to make a decision and bring a company to life, hold on to it. Develop it in the direction you want and cultivate the vision you’ve designed for it.

What advice would you give to others aspiring to succeed in your field?

Good question. I’m in the process of writing a book about my life and career. One of the things I always say is “persistence wins.” The true measure of an individual is not giving up when things get hard and being diplomatic all the way through the process.

How do you maintain a solid work life balance?

Right now, I’m in a zone where I have to be focused on properly growing the company because it’s still a very new entity. As a consequence, being available for work seven days a week is simply part of achieving my objectives and goals at present.

Beyond that, I focus on exercise, making sure like-minded people are working with me, and that we all remain on the same page. Of course, all that being said, it’s important that we’re not overstepping boundaries with our loved ones and everyone important in our lives.

What is one piece of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?

My smartphone is my office. In every aspect, my life revolves around my phone. Between having Slack, text, and email on the phone it has become an extension of my business and success.

Who has been a role model to you and why?

My Aunt Rosemary is a judge on the World Court, and she has served as a wonderful role model to me over the years. She initially served a Nun in a convent, but when she realized she wanted to do something different with her life, she pledged herself to the law. After becoming a lawyer, then a circuit court judge, she moved on to become the first woman on the Florida Supreme Court. After serving in that position for a time, she was appointed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, and then later to the World Court. She’s been a steady source of inspiration for me by showing what people can make happen for themselves in life with the aid of determination and persistence.

And then there are some others who I don’t know directly but still admire a great deal. For example, I’m a very big fan of music. So, people like David Bowie, who constantly reinvent themselves, and at the same time maintain a balance in life no matter the form of their creativity, also serve as inspirations for me. Honestly, I find anyone who demonstrates consistency combined with a solid work ethic, balance, and giving something back to the community to be inspiring.

What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?

The most lasting lesson I’ve learned is that there are no shortcuts. There is no quick way to the next stage of life. We must all learn and develop in order to grow into the person who will achieve our goals and find success. Taking action and learning how to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself and everyone involved is a long and arduous, but ultimately very rewarding process.

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