Leadership in Scott Orlinsky’s Eyes

Scott Orlinsky is a seasoned C-Level executive with more than 30 years of experience in presidential roles of both national public brands and private technology companies. An entrepreneur at heart, Scott is the co-founder of Everyware.

He also donates his time to Ellie’s Army Foundation, which provides financial assistance to children and young adults who are battling life-threatening illnesses. Additionally, Scott was the driving force and critical influencer behind the first high school in Aventura, Florida.

I caught up with him on the show for a fireside chat, where I learned a great deal about gaining new skills and setting yourself up for success as a founder. Here’s some of it!

1.Read widely to learn more!

“I’m constantly on audible whether I’m working out or on the plane, I’m always listening to something that is relevant…”

Scott Orlinsky


Scott didn’t start out in the payments world. His career spanned many years in the consumer markets where he would help get products in front of consumers. Then he decided to start a business in payments, an industry he knew nothing about.

How did he learn enough to make a mark in the scene? Well, Scott says he reads a lot! Like many more founders I’ve interviewed, it emerged from our conversation with the co-founder of Everyware that to learn, you must read widely. Books hold wealth in knowledge so it’s important to listen or read them everywhere you can.

That said, you cannot rely on books and guides alone to make you succeed. Sometimes, the school of hard knocks is the only way to truly learn. Go to that meeting, take notes, read them through, and soon you’ll have learned the ropes.

The Takeaway

You can learn anything you want be it from books or videos but as they say, experience is the best teacher! According to Scott, don’t be afraid to go in without a clue if you’re trying to learn. It might take some time but with determination, you can master what you thought was a league above you.
If you’re afraid to look or sound stupid, it can be difficult to learn anything.

2.Be responsive but stay focused

“You find yourself trying to be all things to all people …you thought you’re focussing on something only to realize you’re chasing a different rabbit”

Scott Orlinsky

When you start the business, the goals are definitely clear to you. You know your target customers and have designed an impeccable marketing plan. Then comes in customers who like your product but would like to use it a certain way. 

In an attempt to do everything for everyone, it is easy to lose sight of the goals you set for the startup. Scott says that while being responsive to customers’ needs is a great thing, you should stay focused on the main goal lest you fall while trying to please people with their custom requests.

The Takeaway

Businesses that thrive stay on track with the vision. It’s understandable for customers to seek custom solutions but remember you cannot please everyone!

3.The future of payments

“Make something simple and then optimize it”

Scott Orlinsky

Everyone is after contactless payments and I was curious to know what Scott thinks the future holds! He intimated that the market decides the future, mentioning that so far the biggest change has been in peer-peer transfers. People are after an Uber experience (you’re on your way out and the bill is settled) but that comes with lots of compliance requirements to make it feel like a business transaction.

The difference Scott and Larry are trying to make with Everyware is to allow businesses to make remote payments via text message. No more need to fly in just to put pen on paper!

The Takeaway

The quest for instant gratification has led to a business revolution. Contactless payments are the way to go especially now in the wake of Covid-19.

4.Leadership 101

“If you’re clear on what you’re trying to achieve, the team around you will rally around it and make it happen”

Scott Orlinsky

You’re better off trying to lead people than manage them. Set expectations for your team and they’ll be willing to exceed them. Clarity is important as with it, people will be able to deliver what you want and even more!

Providing adequate leadership is a time-consuming process but the rewards are well worth it. Without proper guidance, many team members will easily fall off the wagon!

The Takeaway

Leadership is an important role that founders take on whenever they start a business. It is inevitable that you’ll need to provide guidance, support and remove any barriers to their performance.

To Wrap Up

Founders are leaders who must therefore make level-headed decisions for the sake of the company. That said, the weight is not all for you to bear alone. Talk to your team members (you should!) and anyone else who can help you keep it straight. You should also be cautious about making every request by customers come to life, else it’ll eat away at your vision leaving you miserable.

Feel free to watch the full episode of Scott and me. We talked for hours and there might be something else to help you along your founder’s journey. Enjoy!