Vinod Gupta was the Chairman and CEO of InfoUSA

Vinod Gupta, the man many call the “Unicorn” who founded InfoUSA and later InfoGROUP, is a businessman who believes in doing things for his employees, his shareholders, and himself. The article does an excellent job of recapping some critical takeaways from Mr. Gupta’s interview about why he decided to start an employee-owned company after leaving larger ones like Microsoft and what he does to keep his employees happy and engaged.

He also told us about one of the most important rules of his company: “no one will call you ’employee’ in our company. You are called a shareholder, not an employee.” Gupta believes that a shareholder relationship is much more potent than an employer-employee relationship, and he encourages his employees to act like owners. In addition, he gives them stock options; they feel like they have a stake in the organization.

Before joining Everest Group, Vinod Gupta was the Chairman and CEO of InfoUSA, which he founded in 1986 and grew to over $800 million in annual revenues. During his tenure at InfoUSA, he focused on building sales channels, acquiring new technologies, and expanding into international markets.

He pioneered a business model that combined traditional direct marketing with the power of the Internet before most companies had even begun to realize the potential of online marketing. Under his leadership, InfoUSA grew from a small Internet marketing consulting firm to the largest Internet marketing company in the world. Vinod also served as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Time Inc. and was a member of the Board of Directors at Progressive Inc., Xerox Corp., and Five Mile Capital Management Group.