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Meet Jeff Greenberg of FUGU in Irvine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeff Greenberg.

Jeff, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
FUGU launched a little more than 10 years ago with the idea of bringing compelling educational content directly from top Subject Experts and Businesses to the world. The idea was to focus on topics that weren’t traditionally covered with online learning – what we call real-world, actionable topics. This includes everything from Sports, Art, Dance, Pets to life improvement topics such as Romance, Health, and Wealth. At the time, it was a relatively new concept to teach these types of topics online and we definitely encountered our share of skeptics.

Given the subject matter, our goal from the start has been to deliver the material in as interactive and impactful a way as possible and not just be a different method of delivering video. An enormous amount of time and effort went into creating the dedicated platform and infrastructure necessary to deliver an immersive experience to the user.

Our first big break came when we partnered with Ryron and Rener Gracie in creating GracieUniversity.com. This became the first major online destination for learning and testing in martial arts. The Gracie family are famous throughout the world for bringing proven techniques and a highly refined teaching process to martial arts training. Gracie University gives them the ability to extend their training to hundreds of thousands of students throughout the globe who may not have access to a physical training location. We have big plans to take the University to even new levels of interaction.

Along with Gracie University, we’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on many other ground-breaking projects with top experts and companies on topics such as Personal Security, Court Ordered Trainings, Fitness, Cosmetology, Krav Maga, Racquetball, Dance, Advanced Painting and quite a few more. One of the things most exciting for the FUGU team is how endless the possibilities are.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As you get older, you begin to realize and accept that very few accomplishments come easy. There are always exceptions but generally you find that success requires an almost obsessive dedication to a chosen path. It’s often called “passion” but to me it’s always seemed that “obsession” may be a more accurate term.

For many entrepreneurs, it’s not so much a need to win but an intense aversion to the possibility of losing. There are often hard and even emotionally painful aspects to building a business but I can’t imagine doing anything else.

This has certainly been the case with the evolution of FUGU. In the early days we weren’t sure if there would be a paying audience for the content – would our revenue model work? The global economy was going through major fits and starts – could we survive the downturns? Traditional financing dried up – how could we fund the platform? Broadband wasn’t yet ubiquitous – would users be able to access the high-bandwidth content? It was a constant process of pursuing a direction and then, if that closed off, quickly pivoting to the next potential opportunity. You learn that there are those aspects of business you can control and those you can’t. The economy, rapidly evolving technology, what the competition is doing – those all proceed at their own pace. For us it was important to maintain our focus, learn from any mistakes along the way, and continually keep the ball moving forward.

As the saying goes, “If it was easy, everyone would do it!”

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about FUGU – what should we know?
This is an exciting time for FUGU. We have an incredible team and the new v3 learning platform is setting a new standard in immersive online education. We’re proud to have helped many Subject Experts and businesses deliver their knowledge to a widespread audience in a monetized and secure fashion. Sites on the FUGU learning system such as FUGU.com, GracieUniversity.com, AmericanOLC.com, ACTCert.com, KravMagaWorldwideAcademy.com, SkillTrain.com and many others have let thousands of students learn directly from the thought leaders in the subjects they care about. They’re able to learn, test and certify when, where and how they want.

We look forward to continuing to build online educational destinations that embed learners with the best teachers in life topics. Our tagline is “Learn Life” and improving and facilitating the learning value chain is our core priority and mission. There are amazing things coming. Stay tuned!

Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Over the years, there have been many people who’ve given me that extra push or piece of advice that has helped each step of the way. There’s always been someone that much wiser, someone who’s “been there, done that”, that’s given a key pointer or two to get us to the next level. Sometimes, it’s been a Board member, other times a friend, sometimes a client or associate. They haven’t always told me what I should be doing but more often, what I absolutely should not be doing. And that’s often been the best advice.

From a motivation standpoint, it’s absolutely my wife and kids that have been the greatest driver. They’ve been incredibly supportive through all the ups and downs. Any success I have is completely due to them.

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