Simplestream, leader in Live Streaming & Live-2-VOD, has recently appointed Fabio Gallo to boost the sports video offering. Fabio is a graduate of EADA’s International MBA programme class of 2007. Based in the company’s London office, Gallo will be responsible for devising and implementing Simplestream’s sales strategy to drive business, managing a team across Europe, and leveraging channel and sports rights holder relationships to accelerate continued growth. Gallo is a senior level executive with over 16 years of experience leading business development with a focus on sales, e-commerce, digital monetisation solutions, SaaS, OTT and mobile.
How did the opportunity at Simplestream come up?
Before Simplestream, I was working at Deltatre as a Business Development Director, but I knew something was missing. I love managing people and creating my own teams, but due to the structure of Deltatre, I didn’t have that opportunity. When I received the call from the end-to-end digital OTT company Simplestream, I thought it was the right move. I had a very good feeling about the founders, Adam Smith and Dan Finch. Simplestream was looking for a Sales Director EMEA to help expand business outside the U.K. and rebuild and create a new EMEA sports team.
Tell us about your role as Sales Director EMEA at Simplestream.
My real first task is to expand the business of the company, bringing Simplestream up from 4M of revenue to 6M in the next 18 months by creating both quantitative and qualitative value. My current focus is on partnering with key stakeholders in the industry (entertainment and sports) and creating new agreements in all of the EMEA countries. I also lead a small team (made up of pre-sales, sales and account managers) that I hope to grow by the end of the year.
In what way does this job represent a turning point in your career?
Compared to my last position, I have much more responsibility at Simplestream. The size of the company is also very different – approximately 10 times smaller than Deltatre. This new job lets me work in a high growth environment, a bit like a start-up, where you know everybody in the company and each colleague is fully dedicated to reaching a common objective as quickly as possible. My personal goal is to reach bigger revenue targets and help the organisation increase its size, expand into new markets and build new talent around me. I think I am very lucky to have found a position that allows me to do what I love. I still don’t think I have arrived at the high point in my career – I have a lot more to give over the next 10 years. I’d like to increase my responsibilities in the future, and even become the CEO of a medium-sized company.
My goals are to reach bigger revenue targets and help the organisation increase its size, expand into new markets and build new talent around me
As you mentioned, one of your main responsibilities is leading a great team throughout Europe. What leadership skills are needed to take on a challenge like that?
I love being around inspiring people and helping them to find their direction. In the current digital era, where competition raises the bar every single day, we need to be focused on details and design (what I call the “2D”) because it really makes the difference. After working in several organisations, I have found that what makes the difference is your team, more than your product, service or technology. I love motivating the people on my team, helping them move in the right direction and inspiring them to do a brilliant job for our clients.
How would you define the e-sports market and what are the main needs that customers demand? How are the solutions offered by Simplestream innovative?
The e-sports market is still in its early stages. Many technological companies, rights holders and owners are looking closely at this industry as one of the brightest areas of future growth. As I know, sports rights owners like FIFA and UEFA are working hard to catch this market segment. The football club franchising industry is growing, but again, it is still at the embryonic phase. The traditional sports industry must look at this trend if they want to ensure that the younger generations of today can be their customers of tomorrow.
You have a wide range of experience as an entrepreneur. In your opinion, what are the main pros and cons of creating an online business?
Starting a company from scratch is extremely easy nowadays. The worst part is leaving your monthly salary and risking every cent you have in your savings account. When you launch a company, especially at the beginning of this journey, every day is Monday. There are no more weekends or days off because you are totally immersed in reaching your goals. When my first start-up failed, I suddenly realised that my shareholders didn’t have the same objectives and spirit as I did. With this in mind, I decided to open a new company with another group of investors and friends, which worked out well. We pitched our business models to tons of business angels and we also won as the best start-up innovation project at the Barcelona Stock Market. I still remember that I pitched to about 30 different investors in less than 6 months.
When you launch a company, especially at the beginning of this journey, every day is Monday
You gave up positions of responsibility in large companies to fulfill your dream of becoming an entrepreneur. What made you take this step?
Well, leaving Dorna Sports (Moto GP) after 4 years was a hard decision for me. I was working for an amazing company with brilliant people and good friends, but I really wanted to work on my own and try to do something that could become a long-term personal project. I started to plan this move about one year before actually leaving the company. This gave me time to make contacts in the ticketing industry and build a strong relationship with key stakeholders in preparation for launching my business.
Tell us a bit about your experience in the implementation of digital departments in disruptive companies such as MotoGP and FC Barcelona.
Digital business strategy is my passion. Working from a rights owner perspective is very different from a rights holder or a vendor perspective. You first have to sell the experience of being part of an international sports community, in which the clients (fans) expect more from their “heroes” (players, riders and clubs). They demand to get an immersive experience that goes beyond the match day. Content and brand are the main digital assets of the digital business.
What message would you give to companies that have not yet opted to go digital?
Digital transformation impacts every aspect of a company across all areas. It should be a top priority for every CEO because first and foremost, it will impact their own role in the company. CEOs should lead this transformation, investing in attracting new talent and creating boards of directors with members of different ages to ensure a mix of perspectives. Of course, business models must be aligned with this transformation as well. The problem is that many CEOs are focusing on building the roof, and they don’t change the structure underneath, so the risk is that the whole building becomes unstable, causing the overall strategy to fail.
What do you think about the success of Google, Netflix and Amazon?
FANG companies (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google) are all customer-focused. They are obsessed with their customers and they invest most of their effort in solutions to make their lives easier. These companies attract top talent in the industry, focusing on delivering results and increasing KPIs related to user’s satisfaction. Their digital transformation strategy is driven on a myriad of factors, but the client is always at the top of the list.
FANG companies are obsessed with their customers and they invest most of their effort in solutions to make their lives easier
How instrumental was your MBA at EADA in your career?
I will always be thankful for the professors and staff at EADA – I learned a lot during that year. I still use what I learned from key professors in my daily work now. I not only acquired a strong knowledge of different subjects such as strategy, marketing and finance but, more importantly, a “big picture” perspective of the business world. EADA prepared me to become a CEO or an entrepreneur – the MBA opened the door to my future career.
How would you describe your professional career since you finished the MBA?
For me, the MBA was like having an amazing sports car without the wheels. In this analogy, the wheels are the attitude and persistence that you put in to achieve your goal. During my time in Spain, I had the chance to meet Adam Kuper, who claims that success depends on a specific formula: (K + S)*A, where “K” is your Knowledge and “S” is your personal Skills. But according to Adam, what really makes the difference is our Attitude (“A”) for life and clients. I believe that EADA can give you all of the know-how to succeed, but it depends on each individual to maximise how they use it.
How do you see yourself five years from now?
Five years in a digital world is equal to 10 or even more in a non-digital environment, so that is a very difficult question to answer. Simplestream is the perfect place to begin a long and successful journey. My career has just started and at this point, I just want to learn something new every day and be part of a great success story. The day that I stop learning is the day that I quit.