We had the good fortune of connecting with Solo Ceesay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Solo, other than deciding to work for yourself, what was the single most important decision you made that contributed to your success?
I think the biggest, most impactful decision that has contributed to my success outside of deciding to work for myself is deciding to be a founder that prioritized employee morale over control. It’s important to foster a team first culture where individuals prioritize the wellness and growth of the company over their individual desires. In order to achieve this, founders need to incentivize their employees so that this outcome is achieved. This can be achieved monetarily but the more important factor in my opinion is making sure employees feel fulfilled. That said, my best decision was to establish very clear chains of command that may or may not funnel up to myself or the founding team at large. Rather, employees’ reporting lines are designed to empower the proper decision makers to make plays versus funneling as much control as possible into myself. With this structure in place, I have seen greater levels of commitment and engagement from all employees at my company.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think my career was unique in that I was able to gain very coveted skills by working in a highly competitive industry at such a young age. As a former investment banker, I learned both technical and soft skills that proved to be hugely important as an entrepreneur given that in most cases, most founders are tasked with wearing multiple hats early on in their journey. Additionally, it was a very competitive, fast-paced environment which helped me develop strong discernment and critical thinking skills. It was rarely easy but an unrelenting desire to be great gave me the motivation to show up to work on the most challenging of days. Those days on Wall Street taught me that anything is possible if you refuse to accept ‘no’ for an answer. If anything, I want my story to inspire more young people to take a chance on themselves in the pursuit of something more. Something that is their own.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ha! Great question. I would say that Catch LA is one of the best spots in all of LA. The food is just good enough to justify the high price tags but the ambiance is exemplifies LA living. The next day would start off relatively early in Venice at one of the various day party spots. One I am particularly fond of is Waterfront. I would then suggest that we finish the day and catch the sunset at the beach in Santa Monica.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First and foremost, I would like to thank my friends and family for the unwavering support over the course of this journey. Entrepreneurship is one of the most grossly misunderstood realities of our generation. At times it looks sexy on paper but it will inevitably present the most unique challenges that one will face in their vocational career. Second, I would like to thank the investors that took a chance on me and my vision. It is an incredible feeling being validated by those who believe you are too good of an opportunity to pass up, especially if those same people have supported successful founders in the past. And finally but also most importantly, I would like to thank all of the people who decided to embark on my journey with me. There is an unquantifiable amount of belief one must have to align vocationally with a man with a dream. I could never repay that support.