[EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW] Never forget why you started – Mike Schwalbach on putting people before profits
I’ve known Mike for YEARS and when I was looking for interesting people to interview, I knew he was the right man to ask! WARNING: You won’t be dissapointed! Guaranteed! Just like my previous interview, I give you ALL the goods, from A to Z on a man that to me is a legend in our industry. PLEASE Share this interview with friends, co-workers, relatives, help spread the word and the story that is…
Mike Schwalbach’s nontraditional “rags to riches” story will inspire you to go beyond the numbers and look at what really matters if you want to be successful.
Where does the story of Mike begin?
On one hand, I’m a self-made man who has found success through hard work. I was born in Amsterdam and raised by my mother, a German-speaking Portuguese immigrant. She left my father who was an alcoholic when I was very young. We had practically no money, living in the Bijlmer area of Amsterdam – a place which is not considered to be very nice. Everything I’ve learned about entrepreneurship comes, in a way, from her. She was a real survivor.
It was tough, honestly, but it made me who I am. I learned to work hard from a young age and found my entrepreneurial spirit early. I was independent and always made my own money because I had no other choice. My parents didn’t have to give me anything, which was good. I used that energy to build a number of successful businesses over the years.
On the other hand, I’m an entrepreneur who has been active in our industry for quite some time. I was one of the first heavy users of the internet, and I’ve always looked for opportunities, which means I’ve been a part of many projects that people know… I was involved with the company that built most of the major Dutch search engines, such as Funda (which is still the biggest real estate site in the Netherlands), Autotrack.nl (which targets audiences that need to buy a car) and AskJolene. I went to some of the first shows in our industry, InterNEXT and Phoenix Forum back in the late nineties, where I started to build relationships which have lasted to this day.