Richard Carthon is a fintech thought leader and a serial software entrepreneur. Richard has gained notoriety from his collaborative approach to challenging the existing practices of startups, small businesses, and established firms. His innovative perspective and meticulous follow-through deliver cutting-edge, simplified solutions that consistently exceed expectations.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in Shreveport Louisiana in a middle-class black family. I grew up with two loving parents who gave my sister and myself opportunities to pursue our dreams. They taught us the importance of education and to do right by others. I played sports growing up and went on to receive a D-1 scholarship to Tulane in New Orleans. My sophomore year I ruptured a disc in my back and couldn’t walk without extreme pain for about a week. I was able to recover, but this change my perspective on sports. I got more interested in business and went on to start my own startup. Starting my first business changed the course of my life as I always would go the corporate route but realized I loved entrepreneurship.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
To follow my curiosities. To figure out what I’m passionate about and what makes me happy and then do those things instead of feeling like I had to live a life dreamed up by someone else. Also, to surround myself with people who believe in me and help me to be the best version of myself.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
To “keep the peace” in a work environment instead of speaking up for yourself. No one will advocate for you as you will, so sometimes you just have to speak up for yourself even if it’s awkward.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
I was in a startup that lost a lot of people’s money, including people I love and care about. One of the reasons it occurred was because I trusted someone else to do the right thing without putting a failsafe in place. Unfortunately, they made some bad choices; however, their bad choices affected me, everyone, I brought in the venture and everyone involved in the venture. I went through a brief depression but resolved that I would never let something like that happen again and that I would do all of the diligence necessary to protect myself, my company, and everyone involved.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Read a lot of books (audiobooks) and listen to podcasts. In my junior year of college, a friend of mine and I went to lunch. He asked me “What do all billionaires have in common?” to which I responded I didn’t know. He said, “They all read 2+ hours a day. They are constantly learning new things every day”. That was a defining moment for me because after that convo I started listening to books and podcasts vigorously and I’m extremely more informed and educated because of it. If there is something new I am curious about I find a book or podcast series to help me learn more about it.
What is your morning routine?
I get up between 5-6 am every day (depends on how late I stayed up the night before). I read a devotional, meditate for 10 mins, go work out, do some work to plan out my day, take my dog for a walk, eat some breakfast, then start the workday.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
My morning routine. It sets the stage for my day. Helps me spend some time with myself by working on my mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
I map out my days and prioritize what needs to be accomplished before I go to bed that night. Shout out to Asana, my life has been streamlined because of this tool. Helps me put deadlines for myself on things I need to do, I can jot down action items or ideas, then get to them whenever I have time. Helps me not to forget things.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
- The Bible – helped me build my faith
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho – I read this book at a critical moment in my life when I had a lot of uncertainty about the future. It was a great reminder to follow my dreams and not settle for comfort
- How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie – Taught me the importance of effective communication
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter – First introduction into wealth creation basics and how the difference in mindset can change your financial situation
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
- “I can do all things through Christ which straightens me.” – Phil 4:13
- “I Can. I Will.”
- “There was a man who believed he could and a man who believed he couldn’t. They both are right. Which are you?”
- “History hangs on a thin thread and a small breeze makes big things happen” – John Georgiafandis