Ever since I can remember, I’ve always loved cars. I was one of those kids that had the Lamborghini Countach poster on my wall and dreamt about buying one one day. Today, I drive a Ferrari to work and I’m not shy about it. I get people asking me, “Is that the right thing to do? Is that the right message you want to send the rest of your team?”
Forgetting the practicality (or impracticality) of driving a Ferrari every day, I completely disagree with people warning me against it. Here’s why:
One of my life changing moments is walking to a university class one day and seeing an amazing blue Ferrari pull up in the staff parking. I quickly went to the administration and asked, “Who owns that car and can I meet him?” That person was Paul Hyde, and he was the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Queen’s. When I finally got to meet him, I was profoundly curious how anyone could work their way up to a point where they could afford one of these cars. Paul discussed how he built a technology company that eventually went public. That simple sighting and meeting led to one thing: motivation. I was motivated to learn that hard work could eventually lead to something I’ve always wanted. When I drive to work, if I can have that impact on anyone else, I welcome it. More importantly, I want our team here to be motivated. I want them to see that we were successful in building a company in the past and we’re going to do it again.
People tell me, “You should probably drive a more subtle car to work and keep the fancy car for the weekends.” I completely disagree. I think that creates a level of dishonesty. Many bosses drive to work in a normal car and try to hide the fact that they have nice cars at home. Guess what? People find out. It’s like that couple in the office who thinks no one knows they’re a couple. Guess what? People know. I’d rather be upfront and have people ask me how I got my car versus hiding the fact that I worked hard to obtain it. I find this “hide your toys” mentality really prevalent in the Bay Area. People drive their Prius to work but drive a Maserati on the weekend. No one’s falling for it, so why bother.
Just like I wanted to meet the Entrepreneur-in-Residence at my university because he drove a Ferrari, people come up to me all the time to discuss my car. It not only allows me to meet new people all the time, but it allows me to talk about our company and how we’re helping companies find the right salespeople. I’ve met hundreds of people around the office parking lot alone. It’s a tool that I have available to me and I plan to take full advantage of it.
Do people think I’m showing off? Probably. Do I care? No. More importantly, has driving a Ferrari to work negatively impacted our business? No way. It’s only helped. And that’s the most important thing.
Somen Mondal is the Co-Founder of Ideal Candidate. With a B.A.Sc. in Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto and an M.B.A from Queen’s University, Somen served as the Chief Executive Officer of Field ID until it was acquired by Fortune Brand’s (NYSE:FBHS) Master Lock division in 2012. He has been profiled on the Profit Hot 50 and Deloitte Fast 50 Companies-to-Watch lists. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.