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Ten Questions in Ten Minutes: With Cuan Gray

Cuan Gray is the Business Manager of Fatso, New Zealand’s leading online DVD rental service.  Fatso also celebrates the re-launch of its popular website this month.

Business to Business - What inspired you to start working in the business?
Cuan Gray - I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of finding something someone wants and then finding ways to service that want. In terms of Fatso, it could be as big as finding a way to deliver entertainment more conveniently or as micro as finding how they would like their DVDs to look when they arrive.

BtoB - Who has influenced you the most professionally?
CG - I’ve been influenced by many people – colleagues and associates, friends and family, customers, authors, and other business owners. You take something from everyone, and hopefully in turn, some of them take something from you.
The two people I’ve learned most from at Fatso would be Rob Berman, Fatso’s GM, and Bryan Mogridge who is a shareholder, director, board member and just generally a mentor to the Fatso team. Rob and Bryan are good thinkers, and I’m lucky to have them on the same team that I play for.

BtoB - How would you describe yourself as a businessperson?
CG - Fairly pragmatic with a propensity to take the ‘ask for forgiveness’ approach to new ideas. One of the stickier pointers I’ve picked up from Bryan..!

BtoB - What do you consider your greatest achievement?
CG - Being a part of Fatso through its biggest growth period (to date).

BtoB - With hindsight, what is the one thing you would do differently?
CG - I would have offered Mark Zuckerberg some start-up cash to get his little website up and running.

BtoB - Who do you find inspirational and why?
CG - It may sound cliché, but the way Steve Jobs thinks of his products from the strategic, design, marketing or customer perspective, is incredible. He’s a real ‘6-hats’ kind of guy.
If you’ve never read a Warren Buffet annual shareholders letter, I advise you do. You should aspire to enjoy what you do as much as he enjoys what he does. They’re an entertaining read.

BtoB - What is the most inspirational book you have read recently?
CG - I take something from all the ones I read, but the most recent, ‘Bounce’ by Matthew Syed, really makes you re-think the whole concept of talent.  It’s sparked many debates since.

BtoB - What is your favourite website and why?
CG - Without a doubt - Fatso.co.nz.  Why is it my favourite? Because we’ve had many smart people working on this website over many months, and the outcome, in both its look and functionality, is fantastic. If I were Steve Jobs, I would even say it’s ‘truly magical’.

BtoB - What is the first thing you would do if you became Prime Minister?
CG - Rush through a law which meant all ISPs would need to default their customers’ web-browser homepage to Fatso.co.nz!

BtoB - What is the best thing about being in business?
CG - In a word – variety. Variety in what you do. Variety in who you get to do it with. It’s the spice of life after all...