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SurveyGizmo's Christian Vanek Among Top Young Professionals

October 1, 2011 — Christian Vanek might be better known for what he doesn't believe in as a leader than what he does

He doesn't believe in top-down management. He doesn't believe a workplace needs to be stiff and formal. And he doesn't believe in sitting in his office behind a closed door.

In fact, the CEO of SurveyGizmo doesn't even have a door.

"I took it off to kind of make a statement," Vanek says. "I've lived in organizations when people lived in fear of the CEO. This is my way of making sure this wouldn't happen. You close your door, you back away from what's happening in your organization."

SurveyGizmo was founded in 2006, when Vanek was working as
 a consultant.

"I noticed that my clients weren't satisfied with the survey software out there," Vanek says. "I knew what they wanted and what they didn't like. We didn't know the company would be such a success."

Vanek and one partner started with one server, which was $79 a month. He worked for no pay, and continued his contract business to bring home a paycheck.

"One of the things I tell young entrepreneurs is to stick to their dreams," he says. "Don't let anything stop you. Finding venture capital isn't always necessary."

What started small has grown into a company with more than $3 million in annual sales. The SurveyGizmo Web application has more than 150,000 users, with customers in more than 60 countries.

Read full story:

Story by Maria Cote

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