Chairman & CEO
In today’s business environment, dynamic leadership has become a requirement for survival. The only thing constant now is change—and the pace of that change is accelerating at breakneck speeds.
Demographic shifts, cultural evolutions, and technological advancements have all contributed to workforce demands and business climates that require a new kind of leadership capable of creating dynamic cultures and businesses. Add to those demands the challenges of the past several years—a worldwide pandemic, increased remote work, a new normal, rapidly rising inflation, and an impending recession—and it is easy to understand why adopting a dynamic leadership model has become more critical than ever. This evolution opens up a tremendous amount of space for people to lead and represents an essential opportunity for those willing to take risks.
According to Fernando Murias, Chairman & CEO of Digital Global Systems (DGS), innovators must take calculated risks. Aligning the company with known marquee brands helps establish credibility for pre-revenue companies. Under his leadership, DGS has quickly reacted to varying market dynamics in the ever-changing world of wireless communication. With the conviction to make critical business shifts and see them through, they survived as a company.
Fernando has been a driving force in raising an impressive $100M through his personal network without the participation of Venture Capital or Private Equity firms. This has allowed Fernando and DGS leadership to easily pivot to market swings and anticipate and react quickly to market trends. His ability to identify innovative business models to penetrate new markets has been critical in positioning DGS as a market leader in Spectrum Management.
Becoming A Dynamic Leader
Fernando believes that the role of the entrepreneur changes as a business grows. They go from being in the driver’s seat to riding in the passenger’s seat—the new navigator for the company. Leaders also transition from supervisor to advisor and from micromanager to strategist. If they fail to evolve in their role as a business owner, they will fall short of their objectives. Applying the principles of dynamic leadership to how leaders can run their businesses will help them in this necessary evolution. The dynamic leadership model requires strategy implementation to be treated as a leadership activity rather than simple project management. “You must think strategically and operationally to guide implementation by translating conceptual, strategic ideas into actionable decisions. Most importantly, you will need to learn to evaluate and respond to what you learn throughout the implementation process,” adds the pioneering leader who has had inspiration from others to mold himself into a dynamic leader.
Fernando’s role models are a combination of people who have taught him the importance of working on character and being an innovator. He admires Ted Leonsis (one of the founders of AOL) for his drive to lead and innovate and for being influential. He has also learned a lot from his CTO, Armando Montalvo, on the importance of anticipating market trends. “Lastly, I would say two people have shaped my focus on building character, enabling me to become a trusted advisor, which is critical for the CEO of a start-up to raise capital,” he explains. “Darrell Green (Football Hall of Fame Defensive back) and my son Fernando John Murias played critical roles, enabling me to focus on character development and gaining the trust of employees and investors. Pushing always to be a better version of yourself. Investors didn’t always understand our technology, but they believed I would ensure the DGS team would deliver results.”
A key piece of advice Fernando imparts to all is never to give up but to have multiple paths mapped out for how they define success. “It normally takes twice as much time and money as you think going into a new venture, especially when you are “making a market” through change and innovation,” he adds.
Leading A Great Company
Marrying their technical innovation to opportunity gaps in the market and making bold bets on market trends have enabled DGS to be a leading innovator in Spectrum Management. DGS embarked on a data and licensing business model in an industry filled with hardware solutions, allowing it to scale its solution quickly. Fernando and his team also anticipated the growth and demand for the finite Spectrum and structured a creative patent portfolio (second only to Qualcomm) supporting spectrum optimization. DGS is the only working Dynamic Spectrum Sharing solution on the market today. The Biden administration just announced that dynamic spectrum sharing is the cornerstone of the national spectrum policy for the United States. They anticipate other countries to follow.
DGS is a transformational company in the area of spectrum management. It has developed RF environmental sensing technology necessary to roll out new 5G and 6G services requiring low latency and ultra-reliability. They also have a solution to enable Dynamic Spectrum Sharing, the cornerstone of the US National Spectrum Strategy. The company’s technology has been deployed to help monitor the public safety network of a primary state agency. Ensuring communications are up and running after natural disasters or police are free from jammers was a key focal point. “We have deployed our system at an airport in the UK to use RF as a warning system for drone incursions. This particular regional airport could not afford an expensive radar system geared towards lessening the threat of drones to aircraft,” elucidates Fernando. “Shifting to delivering data and licensing a software solution utilizing an analytics engine away from the more common hardware-centric model has been a key differentiator for DGS and the underlying technology development. This allows for cost effectiveness and rapid distribution of technology needed at scale while minimizing capital requirements.”
Fernando and his team are focused on several sizeable proofs of concept with global RAN vendors and chipset companies. In addition, there is a new focus on using Spectrum as a weapon from a military application, moving beyond just enhancing situational awareness for the warfighter. Lastly, an essential milestone in DSG’s roadmap is an announcement of the process for the upcoming spectrum auction in 2024 that is earmarked for new 5G services. “Having the best technology is not always enough. It helps if you have a strategy to implement change quickly and easily when you are presenting innovative ideas to the market. People inherently resist change,” concludes Fernando.