I am CEO

CEO Helps in Building, Protecting, and Growing Small Businesses

Full Episode from I AM CEO Podcast - IAM2008

In the dynamic world of business, success often comes down to making the right choices, building relationships, and protecting your assets.

In this episode, we have Dmitri Dubograev, a seasoned lawyer and CEO of Femida.us, to explore the journey of building, protecting, and growing small businesses.

From sharing valuable insights to debunking myths about socialism, Dmitri's passion for his work shines through as he discusses his experiences and the lessons he has learned along the way.

Conclusion:
Dmitri Dubograev's journey in building, protecting, and growing small businesses is a testament to the power of passion, resilience, and strategic thinking.

From his experience as a lawyer championing small businesses to sharing wisdom and insights on socialist ideologies, Dmitri's commitment to his clients and personal growth shines through.

By leveraging his knowledge, providing a personal touch, and embracing the role of a Chief Exploration Officer, Dmitri Dubograev demonstrates how small businesses can achieve greatness while making a positive impact on society.

Website: femida.us

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Full Interview:

Transcription:

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Dmitri Dubograev Teaser 00:00

There's a little bit younger than I am, but also we without mentoring and without, being too overly protective, we help them make the right choices basically essentially what I usually say, big fences make, make good for good neighbors.

And so the same way in businesses, if you protect it then you are certainly less of a target, less of a subject to something that could certainly, fail.

Intro 00:24

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview?

If so, you've come to the right place. Gresh values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I Am CEO Podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:52

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast. And we're live here at Intelligent Office. And I have a very special guest on the show today at Dmitri Dubograev. Dmitri, excited to have you on the show.

Dmitri Dubograev 01:03

Thank you. Thanks for inviting me.

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Gresham Harkless 01:04

Yeah, absolutely. So since we're here live at Intelligent Office, I wanted to kick everything off by hearing a little bit more about your story. We'll let you get started with all the awesome work you're doing.

Dmitri Dubograev 01:12

So an American of Belarusian descent, I've been in the U. S. for over 30 years now. Practicing law graduated from Washington and Lee I've been lucky to come to the U S even before the Berlin Wall fell. It was the sort of prompted by Gorbachev Reagan exchanges, and then decided to continue education.

Went back to Washington and Lee, practice law with big law firms. And since September 2001 I'm basically not so long here, but I set my own law firm. And we essentially a boutique small law firm representing small businesses championing basically IT people. A lot of our clients speak with funny accents.

And we essentially helping out small guys to penetrate markets protect their intellectual property, basically build architecture for the business. And we yeah, champions of small businesses and we've seen clients that grew from essentially friends, foes and family store or little applications to companies that are, have global reach. And the use.

Gresham Harkless 02:08

So, yeah, that's absolutely awesome. And all my family's from the South. So the funny accents probably aren't from the South. If I go on a little bit of other parts of the world, I'm guessing, but that's awesome to hear.

I think that so many times when we talk about and think about business, we think about all the things that you're going to do, you're going to build and all those things, but I think we sometimes skip over that kind of protection aspect.

And it sounds like that's a lot of what you do to make sure. Not only that something's built and is done well, but they're that they feel like they have the correct feel like a better-term partner that they can lean on.

Dmitri Dubograev 02:38

Yeah, that's that's a good philosophy to approach. And also, I think in addition to professional skills that we've been, basically learning through the years.

Also when we involved in any businesses, including myself we have very personally involved and sometimes we are maybe even bias and sometimes, we engaged or guilty of wishful thinking. And so sometimes you need somebody on the side, basically come and say are you stupid?

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Yeah. But in addition, I, maybe, my gray hair lets me use my freedom to a little bit more with clients that are. There's a little bit younger than I am, but also we without mentoring and without, being too overly protective, we help them make the right choices basically essentially what I usually say, big fences makes, make good for good neighbors.

And so the same way in businesses, if you protect it then you are certainly less of a target, less of a subject to something that could certainly, fail. And also I think in my view, like I love waking up in the morning and going to work. And I feel like I'm contributing to what my clients do and how they grow.

And to me, for instance, corporate law is not about, greed, it's really about connecting people from the point of view of merging their vectors of development and essentially making, even though maybe it's a little bit in an analogy to say that window in situation is that when money comes in and finances, a kid that looks like a 12-year-old, and then 12 year old uses that money to create something important.

And and useful that's something that sort of makes us proud.

Gresham Harkless 04:10

Yeah, that makes so much sense. Like you said, that they do have those big. Fences up because that allows them to be able to operate.

And I feel like even those constraints are knowing what you are and what you can do or who your organization is and what it is, and sometimes allows you to be even more creative and innovative and to make a bigger, better impact.

Dmitri Dubograev 04:27

Yeah. And you basically, you being protected from all sides and you could probably, a little bit faster without looking back. And we have clients that do great games. We have clients for instance, if you look at games, War Thunder Escape from Tarkov and many, many others.

We also have represent clients such as essentially, virtual and usually they say, it's a romantic application essentially star walk so you could take a phone at night and look at the stars and see. Pass to planets.

And constellations. Yeah. And so, for instance, in the latter case is the guys were sitting in the middle of Siberia and they were just very fond of, looking the stars at night and they decided to make an implication for themselves. And then all of a sudden it's, it picked up and became a worldwide phenomenon.

Yeah. And so they kind of something that was on their side. Became their main core businesses, as I call it, you went to the forest to pick up the dairies and then make sure you don't miss the diamonds. You could forget about the dairies. So that's a lot of sobering Eureka-like discoveries that we help client to materialize and make sure that, it's an impact or, somebody was doing a software development and all of a sudden they were doing a good backup software and, all of us lost data, right?

And so, yeah, unfortunately. And so instead of the, again, internal tool, they became a worldwide phenomenon by helping people to protect the information and stuff like that. And it's good to see that people in the global market start learning, the rules of the game and it's, fair competition, something that brings people essentially both the personal, professional.

satisfaction as well as, considerable wealth. We have some of the clients that, as I said, look like 12 year old them there, the essential running uniform.

Gresham Harkless 06:21

Nice. That's awesome to see. And especially like you said, like having that personal I don't know if you feel like that's part of what sets you apart and makes you unique, but having that personal touch, that relationship to see the growth and the journey of the company.

Do you feel like that is part of your secret sauce?

Dmitri Dubograev 06:34

Yeah, I think so. I think you could always be a cold minded craftsmen. But I feel that unless you have passion then you can't really put your mind and soul into. So sometimes I, my wife is always right, of course, she tells me that I take things sometimes too personally, but I feel if you don't put your heart and soul into it, then you can be a good a good lawyer.

And a good example. So, I helped out with his initial contract. And so, he's a good example, local example of he's putting not only like his hockey skills, but also like his heart and soul into it. He's a big fan of the game. That's what sort of sets him apart. And I think I feel the same way.

I practiced for almost 30 years. And again, I think because I don't consider it a job anymore. I consider it basically my sort of passion. Yeah. So that's the fun part.

Gresham Harkless 07:26

Yeah. I love how that extends into, the work that you do. And I think the quote that always comes to mind is you find something you love to do. You never work a day in your life.

So absolutely appreciate that. And I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I want to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app. It could be a book or even a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient.

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Dmitri Dubograev 07:46

I think more effective is what I learned is not to grab things, meaning that delegate, if you can essentially at times, lawyers are guilty of it takes me half an hour to do it. But it takes me like two hours to teach somebody. Yeah. Do spend those two hours to teach somebody.

And you know what basically. I think made me rethink my approach to business is an expression basically. So imagine, we're going to teach these people and they leave and the response is, can you imagine we're not going to teach them when they stay?

So yeah. So to me, like in my business, I always share my knowledge and when people go beyond what I know, I'm happy and always give credit. I think, I used to work for firms and, with intermittent personal successes in terms of relationship, but I felt like those who succeed always work as a team and credit.

And I don't know if you've heard the concept of scrum it's like the rugby scrum, but there is there is a concept of software development, but essentially you put teams together and not necessarily in the hierarchy, you put somebody in charge and just the person, what I tell people that even though I'm a boss.

I consider me just not a supervising attorney, but I consider just me more senior specialist, but you run with it. And so I think helping people grow professionally, making them feel, take responsibility for the project rather than, just do and dig, without I think makes them more participants in the project.

And that's, I think what helps. Me. I think to enjoy my work.

Gresham Harkless 09:27

Yeah, that makes so much sense.

So would you consider that to be what I call a CEO nugget? You talked about sharing wisdom, which this could be like a piece of wisdom, a piece of advice or something you might tell your younger business. So you want to hop into a time machine or potentially your favorite client?

Dmitri Dubograev 09:41

Yeah, I think so. I think I would consider that being a hack. And also favorite clients and I have a few, but also what I found and it made a revelation for me is basically a book essentially a book is called Nova, which is, the New Star. And so the idea of the book is in order for you to meet.

Become brighter. You have to become smaller. And so the premise of the book is 20 percent of your clients take 80 percent of your time. So you've got a fire basically for a better word, cut fat, you do chase, you do spend time, you, for the clients, but in order for you to.

Dedicate yourself to people that appreciate your efforts. You have to start firing clients that don't. And so to me, that was also a second revelation. So if you said, time machine, if I were to go back, I would fire a few more beforehand and basically focusing on the ones that do appreciate the efforts.

Gresham Harkless 10:40

Yeah, I love that. I never really thought about that in order to shine brighter. You have to turn that you have to get a lot smaller in order to make a bigger impact because I think you start to be more laser-focused, be able to serve your clients more. You start to be in being better able to make an even bigger impact.

So I absolutely appreciate that. And so now I want to ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And our goal is to have different quote-unquote CEOs on this show. So Dmitri, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Dmitri Dubograev 11:08

I think CEO means chief exploration officer, so you have to explore. You can't sit on the same spot. You're going to teach yourself. And I think also make an impact and obviously we all, need to kill the dinosaur and bring it, food to the table. But also I found that for instance make an impact in people's lives.

Important I've been completely apolitical, but recently I wrote a book just published on Amazon called the Red New Deal. And I found this balance between my day work and now my passion of helping this country to get rid of the remnants of socialist, I, my first part of my life was living on the socialism and unfortunately a lot of young people.

Infatuated with socialists, they think it's that big, white ivory tower and we have to chase and I'm trying to show without, again, being overly mentoring, but in the examples as to why socialism is not the case. And it's not only that, yeah, I know that there is obviously a greed of capitalism that has been always criticized, but the socialism essentially is such.

It's not equity. It's not it's not a quality. It's basically everybody's putting stuff in the basket and then somebody rules it and gives you the prompts from their table and always give an example people run after free healthcare. And so my book essentially, the Red New Deal, meaning that whatever the.

Socialist building it always becomes in a sense, communist, but also when everything is free, you are the price. If you remember the, Steve Jobs said when product is free, you are the product. So I did a spoof on that and I go, I always give an example, I always say in my book, for instance, that when I had to go to the U. S.

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And it was During the Soviet time the Soviet Union basically considered you as a person subject and they will tell you what to do. And if something happens to you, they responsible for you. So they wouldn't send you on a trip over six months unless you remove your wisdom teeth. My wisdom teeth were completely fine, they had the rules.

Yeah. And so I had a flight scheduled essentially in two weeks and then I go to the dentist. And they had only two shots and I had four teeth. So out of the 4th, two were without Lidocaine. And so, when people tell me about the free healthcare I always give that example and I said, listen, trust me, you do wanna pay.

So I had a choice either forgo my potential trip as an exchange student. Or, suffer through removal of my wisdom teeth. No, Lidocaine. I'm not even talking about you being knocked out. But, all so, I don't know if it's a hack, but I think you're right to, find something you like to do and never work in your life.

But also I think find also something else that you would supplement. Otherwise, your main cause or, main craft will become to become a grind at some point.

Gresham Harkless 14:01

Yeah, that makes so much sense. And I love that chief like exploration officer, because I think it to me also speaks to the journey of entrepreneurship and exploration.

And I think that exploration, while We think about it being just business. It also means so many other things. So that's why I love that you explored. And of course, bringing back that information for people to make sure that they're making informed decisions, which I think is the best thing that you can do.

So Dmitri truly appreciate that definition. And of course, I appreciate your time even more. So what I want to do now is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know. And of course, how best people can get ahold of you and your team and find out about your book and all the awesome things that you're working on.

Dmitri Dubograev 14:39

So we are in Old Town Alexandria best town in the world. If you're in the U. S. for sure, most beautiful. So my firm is called femida.us. so for those who don't know Greek mythology, femida, femis is the blind lady justice. So we could be found in Old Town and obviously at the Braintrend.

We always ready to help out small businesses, particularly if you have any aspects really into intellectual property. We certainly. And just be passionate about what you do and I think you could always have success. And whatever craft you choose.

Gresham Harkless 15:12

Yeah, I absolutely love that. And of course, to make it easier, we're gonna have the links and information to show notes so that you can hold it and meet you found about all the awesome things that he's doing.

But I truly appreciate you for reminding us of like how important passion is. I think I always say it's important to know what somebody does, but probably more important to know why they do it.

So thank you so much for sharing that passion with us today with your clients as well, too. And I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Dmitri Dubograev 15:34

Absolutely. Thank you. And if you need to find my book, it's available on Amazon called The Red New Deal.

And even if you disagree with me, maybe politically, I hope you could at least read it make points and, don't trash it too much.

But if you disagree, I'm happy to hear your standpoint, and I think this country needs to get on the sort of level of political discourse that is respectful to each other's political views. And I think, we have a great future ahead of us if we all just abide by civility rule.

Gresham Harkless 16:02

Yeah, I would definitely agree with that. You get that situation when iron sharpens iron. So I appreciate you for sharing that. We too will have that in the show notes as well, too, so that I can get ahold of you and copy of the book as well, too.

Dmitri Dubograev 16:12

Okay. Great.

Gresham Harkless 16:13

Thank you Dmitri. I appreciate you.

Dmitri Dubograev 16:14

Thank you very much. Thanks for inviting and everybody good luck and let me know if I can be your assistance.

Gresham Harkless 16:19

Okay. Perfect. Perfect. Thank you, Dmitri. You're natural. Alright. I appreciate it. Absolutely.

Outro 16:24

Thank you for listening to the I Am CEO podcast, powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us iamceo.co. I Am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community.

Check out the latest and greatest apps, books, and habits to level up your business at ceohacks.co. This has been the I Am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.

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