Careers

Brainstorm Tech Spotlight: Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of YouSendIt

May 30, 2013: 7:12 AM ET

How to make it in tech.

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FORTUNE -- Fortune's Brainstorm Tech Conference (July 22-24 in Aspen, Colo.) regularly brings together the best and brightest minds in tech and innovation. Each week, Fortune will turn the spotlight on a different conference attendee to offer entrepreneurial insight. We asked YouSendIt CEO Brad Garlinghouse to answer 10 questions about leadership, education, success, and industry advice for young entrepreneurs. His responses follow.

Fortune: What is the best advice you ever received?

Garlinghouse: My dad told me, "Take the professor, not the class," meaning a great teacher will make even the most obscure subject relevant. In business no matter how smart a product or service may seem, you must have great people running the company to make it a success.

What would you say to a group of young people looking to enter the tough job market?

Go with growth. Think about which industries will be thriving in 10 years time, and become part of one. It's much better to start with a low-paid job in a space that's going somewhere than to land a well-paid job in a field without a future.

Name one startup that is currently doing something really interesting.

Tonic for Health is changing how medical patient data is collected and analyzed using iPads and user-friendly apps. I love how it's having a real impact in improving health care and the treatment of patients (which is why I'm an investor).

MORE: Meeker report: Mobile surging, wearables will be huge

What was the most important thing you learned in school?

School gave me a real love of learning that I still possess. I think being curious about new things and interested in new people is an important trait in business. It ensures you're always open to fresh ideas and are willing to challenge your existing beliefs.

What do you do for fun?

Family is my fun. I really enjoy hanging out with my kids and being a parent. My weekends are all about sporting events and family dinners, and I wouldn't have it any other way (though going to the movies more often would be nice).

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be?

I'm currently fascinated by South America. It's such an interesting, energetic place with thriving economies that are really changing the lives of its people and having a positive impact on its institutions. It's not right now, but I'd love to be in Rio for the 2014 World Cup.

What business or technology person do you admire most? Why?

I'm a fan of his music but I also like that Jay Z is a true entrepreneur. In an industry where the artist often ends up the loser, he was smart enough to build and retain control of his brand and work with others to diversify his interests into clothing, property, and more.

What technology sector excites you most?

I don't know much about it, but genomics feels like the most intriguing sector at the moment. The idea that genetic engineering could eradicate inherited disorders is hugely exciting, but there's also the potential for more nightmarish social impacts.

What is one characteristic that every leader should possess?

Humility. A common weakness of successful people is letting that success close them off from the opinions and voices of others. It's important to be confident in your own ability but also to acknowledge that no one got anywhere without help from others or a generous slice of luck.

Is business school necessary for entrepreneurs?

I went to business school, and it was life-changing in terms of what I learned and the people I met. But I started my first company before business school, and plenty of successful entrepreneurs have no qualifications, so I wouldn't say it's necessary.

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