Innovation

Leading the Charge: Carlo Cisco Unveils the Secrets to Sustaining Market Leadership and Innovating Beyond Boundaries

Carlo Cisco on Mastering Market Leadership & Innovating at SELECT | Exclusive Interview

We are excited to share a conversation with Carlo Cisco, Founder and CEO of SELECT, on one of the latest episode of Bright Founders Talk. Carlo has crafted an exclusive network offering significant savings and unique perks at over a million locales worldwide, catering to the modern professional’s demand for both quality and convenience. Our host, Barry, uncovers the layers of Carlo’s journey, from his initial forays into business as a teenager to his impactful tenure at Groupon in Japan, revealing how these experiences shaped the vision behind SELECT. 

We also celebrate Carlo’s recent recognition as one of USA Today’s top entrepreneurs to follow in 2024, a testament to his and his company’s significant influence on the industry. As we explore the motivations and aspirations that drive Carlo, we gain invaluable insights into the essence of successful entrepreneurship and the power of innovative thinking in creating sustainable business models. Join us for this inspiring session, where passion meets practicality and visionaries reshape industries.

Carlo Cisco on Mastering Market Leadership & Innovating at SELECT | Exclusive Interview

Carlo Cisco: Crafting Elite Experiences and Shaping Digital Luxuries

Carlo Cisco’s journey into the world of digital membership and concierge services isn’t just a tale of entrepreneurship; it’s a masterclass in seizing opportunities and reimagining possibilities. As the founder and CEO of SELECT, Carlo has spearheaded the creation of a service that not only offers exclusivity but does so on a global scale. With partnerships established with top hotels, restaurants, and various entertainment venues, SELECT provides its members with not just discounts but a passport to an elevated lifestyle. “We’ve designed a network that offers significant savings and perks across a million locations worldwide,” Carlo explains, highlighting the extensive reach and unique offerings of SELECT.

We’ve designed a network that offers significant savings and perks across a million locations worldwide

Diving deeper into Carlo’s backstory reveals a mosaic of experiences that have uniquely equipped him to lead such an innovative company. From launching his first business at the tender age of 18 to navigating the complex world of equity trading in New York, each chapter of his life has been a building block towards the inception of SELECT. Perhaps one of the most pivotal moments came during his time with Groupon in Japan, an experience that reshaped his understanding of consumer-merchant dynamics. “That period really created the idea behind SELECT,” Carlo recalls. It was here he realized the potential for a membership model that could serve premium brands and customers far more effectively than traditional approaches.

The accolades, like being named one of USA Today’s top entrepreneurs to follow in 2024, are not just commendations but affirmations of Carlo’s impact on the industry. Describing his recognition, he shares, “It’s redefining the landscape of digital memberships and concierge services.” This nod from one of the nation’s leading publications is not only a personal achievement but also a spotlight on the innovative strides SELECT is making under Carlo’s leadership. What drives Carlo isn’t merely the pursuit of business success; it’s a deep-rooted passion for entrepreneurship ingrained from childhood. Raised in a family of entrepreneurs, he was sketching out business plans when his peers were dreaming of becoming astronauts or athletes. “I think entrepreneurship was always in my blood,” he muses, reflecting on his early dreams and the journey that has brought him here. This blend of innate drive and learned experience makes Carlo not just a successful business leader but a visionary reshaping how we think about membership and luxury in the digital age.

Carlo Cisco on the Power of Networking and Building from Scratch

Carlo Cisco emphasizes the critical role of networking in entrepreneurship, asserting that the right connections can propel a business forward, especially in its nascent stages. Describing his own ascent from a small town to the bustling networks of New York City, Carlo reveals, “You should never think that you can’t do something because you don’t have the network to do it.” This statement underscores his belief that while networks are invaluable, they are not the sole determinants of success. His journey through various scholarships and the support of his family laid a foundation, but it was his initiative to engage with industry accelerators like the Entrepreneurs Roundtable that truly expanded his professional circle.

You should never think that you can’t do something because you don’t have the network to do it

In the heart of New York, an epicenter for startups, Carlo found that being part of an entrepreneurial ecosystem was beneficial but notes that as SELECT grew, the nature of necessary connections evolved. “It becomes less important as the company grows because the other thing that happens is people will reach out to the company,” he explains. This shift from seeking out networks to being sought after is a testament to the growth and reputation of SELECT. Carlo’s experience highlights that while early connections are crucial, a company’s evolution brings different networking needs, focusing more on strategic partnerships and top-tier talent.

Carlo also offers advice to those looking to make their mark, suggesting that reaching out proactively to companies can distinguish one in a competitive job market. “If you see a company that you’re really passionate about, you can just reach out to that company and let them know that,” he advises, pointing out that genuine enthusiasm is a potent differentiator. This approach not only serves aspiring entrepreneurs but also employers who value initiative and a clear alignment with their mission. Carlo’s insights reflect a nuanced understanding of the dynamics of networking, where the right connections at the right time can catalyze both personal and professional growth.

The Multifaceted Entrepreneur: Carlo Cisco on Wearing Many Hats and Innovating in the Digital Space

Carlo Cisco discusses the essential versatility required in his role, illustrating the ever-changing hats an entrepreneur must wear. “I have to be able to jump from talking to a Fortune 100 bank to setting up an event or helping someone with health insurance,” Carlo shares, painting a vivid picture of his day-to-day challenges and the diverse skills needed to navigate them. This adaptability isn’t just a necessity; it’s a thriving ground for creativity and innovation, fostered by his unique ability to manage multiple facets of a growing business. For Carlo, this breadth of involvement ensures he remains deeply integrated in every initiative, setting a robust example for his team.

In exploring what sets SELECT apart in a competitive market, Carlo points to the company’s unique approach to digital memberships and the extensive network of benefits they offer. He takes pride in his company’s ability to outmaneuver both traditional premier credit cards and other digital membership platforms by providing more meaningful, impactful benefits. “What the reason for that, it’s just that it’s, you know, we have to understand the goal of SELECT,” Carlo explains, emphasizing how a deep understanding of different industries allows SELECT to tailor unique experiences that significantly enhance their members’ lives.

Carlo’s philosophy extends beyond business operations into the realm of strategic innovation and continuous improvement. He highlights the importance of always pushing boundaries and expanding offerings to ensure SELECT remains at the forefront of the industry. “We’re always looking at how do we get better? How do we improve people’s lives more? How do we stay lightyears ahead of everybody else in the space?” he questions rhetorically. This relentless pursuit of excellence not only drives SELECT forward but also sets a benchmark for what digital memberships can achieve, redefining industry standards and expectations in the process.

We’re always looking at how do we get better? How do we improve people’s lives more? How do we stay lightyears ahead of everybody else in the space?

Carlo Cisco on Staying Ahead: The Perpetual Drive for Innovation and Growth

Carlo reflects on the challenges and advantages of leading the market, cautioning against the subtle perils of complacency in growth. While SELECT has seen impressive growth, with membership increasing by 50% and revenue by 70% last year, Carlo admits that the first half was marked by a lack of focus on expansion. “It’s great to have the best product, but you also have to make sure you’re bringing people to that product,” he states, emphasizing the balance needed between maintaining product superiority and driving growth. This candid revelation sheds light on the ongoing efforts at SELECT to recalibrate and prioritize growth without sacrificing the quality that sets them apart.

It’s great to have the best product, but you also have to make sure you’re bringing people to that product

In his leadership, Carlo nurtures a culture deeply rooted in improving customer experiences—a philosophy that extends even to the finer details of their services, such as the concierge service that rivals premium offerings at a fraction of the cost. “People tell us we’re better than Centurion and Velocity Black all the time,” Carlo notes, highlighting the value SELECT provides to its members. This year, a major focus for the company has been to harness this excellence and channel it towards expanding their market presence, underscoring the necessity of aligning product excellence with aggressive marketing and strategic partnerships.

Looking to the future, Carlo discusses the broader market dynamics and the impact of technological advancements like AI on industries and employment. His insights into the dual nature of progress—where AI’s capabilities can both displace traditional jobs and enhance productivity—reveal a thoughtful approach to the inevitable shifts in the marketplace. “I think there’s a lot to be excited about, and definitely things to be cautious about,” he muses. Carlo’s perspective on embracing change and leveraging technology to reduce workloads and democratize entrepreneurship underscores his forward-thinking vision, one that continuously seeks to innovate and adapt in anticipation of tomorrow’s needs.

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