Dec. 24, 2009
By Darla Martin Tucker
RIVERSIDE, Calif. – (www.lasierra.edu) The leader of a fast-growing Santa Barbara-based technology company recently imparted to La Sierra University’s business students one of the best gifts they could receive: his wisdom.
Michael Levinsohn, president and chief executive officer of mobile marketing firm Lenco Mobile Inc. addressed a La Sierra business school assembly earlier this quarter. He inspired students with his insights on success, important skill sets and business management.
Lenco Mobile provides managed technology solutions to brand owners and wireless carriers. The company’s solutions are used by wireless carriers, manufacturers, retailers and brand owners to attract and retain consumers. Using Lenco’s Multimedia Message Services, or MMS, and Internet advertising technology, brand owners can design, manage and execute digital marketing campaigns aimed at cell phones and computers. Lenco has developed mobile marketing campaigns for Electronic Arts, BMW, Toyota, Sony, Vodacom, Clinique, BlackBerry, Nike, Doritos and many other multinational brands.
Lenco has operations in the United States, South Africa, Australia and the United Kingdom. On Nov. 9 the company filed a Form 10 registration statement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and has submitted an application to have its shares traded on the NASDAQ Stock Exchange.
The firm employs 65 people and is forecasting revenue of more than $50 million by the end of 2010. Lenco is profitable and has maintained profitability each year since its inception in 2004. The company carries very low debt, Levinsohn said.
During his assembly talk at La Sierra, Levinsohn advised students to assess their abilities. “What are you really good at?” he asked them. He told students to set themselves up for success by playing up their strengths and avoiding their weaknesses.
The ability to sell is a “key skill,” he told his young audience, and business leaders need to learn to do their homework, listen to their clients and “remember that selling is a numbers game. Eventually you will get to ‘yes.’” He also spoke of the importance of having a fundamental grasp of accounting, “because at the end of the day that’s how you keep score.”
Levinsohn advised the students to create their own good luck through hard work, develop long-term, positive relationships, and do their homework before making big decisions. He described the three key elements of business management as managing people, in part by hiring the right individuals initially, managing information by using processed data to make decisions and managing risk by avoiding big mistakes.
Levinsohn said he manages his days by dividing tasks into three main categories: torpedoes, things he has to do and things he wants to do.
“One must always deal with torpedoes first because they can put you out of business. Then you get around to the things that you have to do and finally the things that you want to do,” he said.
“I thought that part was cool – look for the torpedoes that can sink your business …[and] go have some fun at the end of the day,” said business management sophomore Berney Davidson. He hopes to one day start a business with his brother, Jonathan Davidson. Berney Davidson drew much from Levinsohn’s talk, which was made all the more influential by the CEO’s demeanor. “I liked his happiness. He was very personable. I really liked his approach,” Davidson said.
Sophomore Selam Melese is majoring in several areas including business, finance, and pre-medicine. She plans to open a medical group in the future. Melese was inspired by Levinsohn’s advice, particularly the admonition to build on skills. “You have to love what you’re doing to be good at it,” she said, recalling Levinsohn’s words.
Levinsohn connected with La Sierra’s business school Dean John Thomas through a mutual friend in Redlands. Levinsohn hopes to continue his relationship with the school and pass along his knowledge and experiences to upcoming business executives. School leaders are grateful for his involvement. “We’re excited that a company like Lenco Mobile is choosing to be part of our family,” Thomas said.
PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University