Dan McDonough, Jr.

Chairman of the Board at Elauwit

Dan is chairman, founder and the former chief executive of Elauwit, a customer experience company with holdings in media and telecommunications across the U.S. Before being named chief executive of Elauwit, Dan was publisher at Haddonfield, N.J.-based Elauwit Media, where he helped grow a start-up community newspaper publishing business that began in 2004 to the fastest-growing newspaper publisher in America in 2009, as rated by Inc. magazine. Under Dan's tenure, Elauwit Media also was rated among the 10 fastest-growing companies in Southern New Jersey, according to Philadelphia Business Journal. As chief executive of Elauwit Networks (another of Elauwit’s operating companies), Dan helped turn a small Internet Service Provider (ISP) into a telecommunications company that delivers broadband Internet, television and telephone to the multi-family industry in nearly 40 states — one of the largest such boutique telecommunications companies in the student housing space. Dan started his career in media as a teenager, being named executive editor of The Observer in Northern New Jersey at the age of 19. Over the next decade his news experience included serving as editorial-page editor for daily newspapers in New Jersey; as a New York City-based special correspondent for the Washington-based Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.; and as a news professional with Gannett Co. and Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal and Barrons. Dan was named president and publisher of The Staten Island Register in 2001, where he was able to help grow revenues for the then 35-year-old publication more than 100 percent in less than two years. In 2004, Dan was one of the founders of Elauwit Media, which launched The Haddonfield Sun as its flagship newspaper. Today, Elauwit Media publishes 10 community newspapers reaching more than 120,000 families each week. Dan's articles on business, technology and politics have been published in Intellectual Capital, National Review, The Christian Science Monitor, the NewsFactor Network, In These Times, and a number of other publications. He has served as a board member or as an adviser to numerous companies spanning three continents, and has been a board member of a number of local and national business, community and charitable organizations. He received a BA in Political Science and Communications from William Paterson University, and studied for an MBA in finance and economics at Baruch College – City University of New York. Though Dan splits his time between Charleston, S.C., and Philadelphia, he grew up in the New York City metro area and still considers it home. Dan also is a jazz bassist, and rarely misses a home game of the New York Jets.
1. Who is your hero? It’s a tie. My grandfather. The man’s work ethic was only matched by the love he had for his family, particularly the love and attention he shared with me. He was the smartest person I ever met, and the most confident — in a way that wasn’t boastful. He passed away 20 years ago, and I still miss him every day. My son. Sometimes I wonder if I’m the worst dad in the world because the lessons my son teaches me are far more valuable and numerous than I believe I’ll ever be able to teach him. He, too, is smart and confident in a way that makes me think he’s my grandfather reincarnated. You don’t know what love is until your first child is born. It’s at that moment that you realize life begins, and nothing else really matters. 2. What’s the single best piece of business advice that helped shape who you are as an entrepreneur today, and why? Somebody once told me that the harder I work, the luckier I would get. Sounds like something Yogi Berra would say, but it’s certainly true. If you’re the kind of player that wins games without being up before dawn, god bless you. That’s not me. 3. What’s the biggest mistake you ever made in your business, and what did you learn from it that others can learn from too? The moment you think you’re bigger than something — a task, a job, a conversation — you start to fall apart and lose the confidence of your team. It’s happened to me a few times. And I try every day to remember that I shouldn’t ever expect somebody to be inspired to do something that I wouldn’t do myself. 4. What do you do during the first hour of your business day and why? I read and respond to email. Because it’s a bad habit. I’ve read a lot about how successful people ignore email other than once or twice a day, because it’s such a constant distraction. I’ve tried that a few times, but it doesn’t work for me. Ironically, I probably read that in an article somebody emailed to me in the middle of the day. 5. Who is your company's target customer? The main company that I’m lucky to lead is Elauwit Networks. Our target customer is the decision maker at large multi-family properties, or large companies that own multi-family properties. We deliver Internet and other telecom needs in those environments with a customer experience that is off the charts and at a price that is absurdly affordable. 6. What’s your best financial or cash-flow related tip for entrepreneurs just getting started? How ever much money you think you need in the bank, triple it. Profits are like food. You can go without it for a few days. But cash is like air. A man who is struggling to breathe is usually no good at finding food. 7. Quick: What’s ONE thing you recommend ALL aspiring or current entrepreneurs do right now to take their business to the next level? Make people smile. Seriously. If you’re focused on making your employees, your investors and your customers smile, they’ll stay with you and believe in you. And if they twist you up so badly you don’t want to smile, fire them — whether your employee, investor or customer. Because they’ll just get in the way of you fullfilling your mission. 8. Are there any causes you strongly believe in? If so, why? I support a good number of charities or non-profits. But they all boil down to one thing: Giving people opportunity. I believe that the bedrock of capitalism is to give people the opportunity to make of themselves everything they’ve dreamed they could be. Similarly, I believe the bedrock of humanity is to turn to others in need and give them opportunities as well — a hand up, rather than just a hand out. 9. What’s your definition of success? How will you know when you’ve finally “succeeded” in your business? Success isn’t a destination. It’s having the will and the courage to set out on your own personal journey and to stick with it, however big or small it may be. Some days I’m more successful than others. 10. What is your favourite quote? “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” — Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back.