A woman who faced rejection from every single investment bank, who was once told that she doesn’t possess the personality to be a banker, went on to become the CEO of Vimeo – the world’s largest ad-free open video platform out there. She is none other than Anjali Sud. Sud was born in 1983 in Michigan as a daughter of Indian immigrants. She graduated with a degree in B.Sc. in Finance and Management. Later on, she went on to pursue MBA from Harvard Business School.
During the initial days of her career, she tried everything from being a toy buyer, marketing diapers online to investment banking, after which she found a job at Vimeo as a Marketing Director in 2014, and later, went on to become the Head of Global Marketing in 2015 and finally CEO in July 2017.
Her journey after becoming CEO wasn’t easy; it was a pretty challenging and pivotal journey as the market was flooded with many competitors for Vimeo. She brought about some radical changes in the first 90 days after becoming the CEO. Vimeo primarily worked with creators of high maintenance and was more focused on content creation. But as the content price rose from millions to billions, it became difficult for Vimeo to compete with big giants; thus, it decided to change its business model to Software-as-a-Service (SAAS), whose market value exceeded $76 million by 2020. Thus, Vimeo transitioned from a video company that invested in content to becoming a technology company that invested in creators following an acceleration in the company’s growth.
Following are some of the critical lessons Anjali shares which she learned during the first 90 days of becoming a CEO:
- Rip off the Band-Aid: Don’t be afraid to do the right thing even if it’s unpopular or not accepted easily. By making tough and sometimes uncomfortable decisions, ensures your teammates will respect you in the longer run. Everything starts with vision and values. It helps the company and individuals focus on a common goal.
- Look where others aren’t looking: Have a passion for your work and prove yourself as a leader.
- Own your shortcomings: Being self-aware and vulnerable is a sign of strength and not weakness. Find solutions for your inadequacies proactively, which can help you and your company grow leaps and bounds.
- Lead with Mission. Execute with focus: Stay committed to your organizations’ mission even in the most challenging times. Turning your competitors into partners has been a prevalent and differentiated strategy.
- Failure is essential to success: Failing early and often can be difficult but can be empowering. It would be best if you were comfortable acknowledging mistakes.
Anjali firmly believes that change is an inevitable part of any business, and every business and business owner must accept change indecisively. The world is moving too fast for us not to move with it.
Anjali Sud is featured on Fortune’s 40 influential young business leaders under 40 list. Sud was honored with a Muse Award by the New York Women in Film & Television along with Gloria Estefan and Ann Dowd in December 2019. She is a classic example of how failures and rejections should not demotivate one but instead learn from them, adapt to the changes and strive to succeed in your career!