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Entrepreneurs
Business Observer Thursday, Sep. 11, 2003 15 years ago

YP: Marc Blumenthal of Intelladon Corp. Tampa

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USINESSProfile: Tampa's Intelladon Corp. offers online learning to corporate customers, government organizations and non-profits. Company founder Scott Gostyla designed the company's main asset, a software program called Advanced Learning Platform, whic

Personal

Age: 39

Birthplace: Toms River, N.J.

Birth order: Youngest of six.

Parents: Blumenthal's father owned a jewelry store in Toms River. His mother was a homemaker.

Education: B.S., management information systems, University of South Florida, 1983.

Family: Married to Karen, with three children. The Blumenthals live in Tampa, and have a vacation home in Tierra Verde.

Career: After graduating from college, Blumenthal worked briefly in sales for IBM before founding Progressive Business Solutions in 1985. He sold the company privately in 2000, and took three years off to relax with his family.

Fun: "Spend time with kids. Boat. Jet ski, tube."

BUSINESS

Profile: Tampa's Intelladon Corp. offers online learning to corporate customers, government organizations and non-profits. Company founder Scott Gostyla designed the company's main asset, a software program called Advanced Learning Platform, which allows clients to build their own courses and then edit, distribute and track them throughout their company. Intelladon can custom design learning programs for companies help them implement self-designed programs or incorporate off-the-shelf designs.

CEO Marc Blumenthal, who came out of a 3-year retirement in January, expects the privately held company to bring in about $3 million in 2003; not much will be profit. He expects that number to double in 2004, with net margins forecasted at more than 25%. The company employs about 25 people.

Focus: "To help (clients) use online courses in their business, whether for compliance around rules and regulations, like employee sexual harassment, or HIPPA, the healthcare privacy act, or OSHA - or for initiatives inside the business: new process, new procedure, new software. Anything can be trained."

Clients: Intelladon's clients fall into three categories: small to medium-sized businesses that want to train their employees around their products or services; larger businesses (like UPS or GE) that have similar needs as smaller clients but more specific requirements; and clients who want to train others about their products. For example, a client such as the American Automobile Association might train its network clubs in corporate procedures using Intelladon's advance learning platform.

Goals: "Incrementally getting better every day. The measure of that is, are your team members happy? Are your customers happy? Do you make money? We currently have about 47 clients. We're looking to have about 70 by the end of this year, and looking to add about 130 more the following year."

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Challenge: "It's a delicate balance in making sure you have the right people in the right place, and the right processes and methods that are appropriate for the size business you are, that still allows you to grow."

Next: "We continue to evolve. When you build a software application, you're always looking for ways to improve, to get better and faster, to meet the needs of your clients more effectively. We continue to compile libraries of valuable content for our clients."

Philosophy, Ambitions, Passions

Work week: "I do some strategy and meetings on the weekend, but for the most part it's Monday through Friday, about 12 hours a day. Maybe 15 on some days."

Management style: "I believe an organization is made of team members and those team members really make it happen every day. My job is to recruit and retain the best. My philosophy is to surround myself with people smarter than I am and empower them to make decisions to take care of customers and team members. Then the business tends to take care of itself. My job is to solidify that strategy, to work with the team each day to eliminate roadblocks for them. You can't take a young company and double it each year and not be involved. I'm face to face. I'm online all the time with my BlackBerry (a hand-held personal computer). I'm available on my cell phone all the time. It's not solving emergencies all the time. It's eliminating roadblocks."

On stress: " I learned a lot about stress management when I sold my first business (Progressive Business Solutions) and took three years off. I learned how to relax a lot. I got into boating and traveling. I still enjoy boating and traveling and spending time with my three children and my lovely wife. Now I've actually learned to shut it off when I go to bed at night. On the weekends, unless there's some major challenge, I'm on the boat or out in Tierra Verde hanging with the kids."

Mantra: "They call me Buddha, but I'm not sure whether that has to do with my belly or my philosophy. I've only been here about eight months. I've not really come in here and tried to put my imprint here the way I did with the business I started and ran for 15 years. I've tried to use my actions more than my words, (but) they'll start to see some of my quotes I've borrowed from leaders in the past. Like, "speed of the leader, speed of the pack."

Spirituality: "My faith is Judaism. That provides a lot of spiritual guidance and outlook for me. Overall I have a tremendous faith in God and the universe and people. I tend to believe there's a higher purpose for what we do. In many respects, it points back to Karma. I believe in giving, in helping other people. My clients are those people. My employees are those people. My friends are those people. The organizations I support, my family, are those people. There's not a difference between life and business and home and volunteerism and your synagogue or place of worship. It's all the same to me. Work is nothing more than an opportunity for me to practice my spiritualism - no different than home."

Lessons learned: "Nobody dies in our business. Not to take anything too seriously. People are amazingly resilient. Customers are amazingly resilient."

- Hali White

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