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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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October 21, 2021 | David Dadian

Lessons on Leadership

Wisdom passed down through generations has helped execute on its vision of building and scaling a security-first business with a great company culture.

LEADERSHIP requires vision, relationship building, and perseverance. These are qualities—impressed upon me by my father, a U.S. military veteran, and my grandfather, a Syrian immigrant who built an embroidery business in New York—that I’ve strived to bring to over the past 25 years. I believe it’s the foundation of our success.


My father used to say, you don’t manage people, you lead them. A favorite part of my job is leading our employees to our vision of cybersecurity. Since long before “”ransomware”” was part of the common vernacular,’s core competency and focus have been securing every aspect of our clients’ infrastructure. We have always used the SANS Top 20 critical security controls, now the CIS Controls, as a blueprint for our security posture.

Because security is a moving target, we continually research leading-edge, enterprise-type solutions that we can scale down and make affordable for SMBs. Our robust security stack has nine layers of protection, delivered through hardware as a service and software as a service. Now, to offer even more protection (14 layers) as well as achieve greater cost efficiency for our customers and, we are in the process of migrating to a zero-trust, cloud-based security platform with a pay-as-you-go model.

We don’t do this lightly. Our vetting process is rigorous. We tell vendors we need to demo a product for at least three months. We want an engineer dedicated to us and we want their testing protocols. We have our own testing protocols too, and we beat the tar out of it to see if it performs as billed. Because at the end of the day, it’s our reputation.


My grandfather used to say, you don’t really know your clients until you know the color of their eyes and their families. When I was young, he had a client who lost his job and couldn’t pay him. Once a week, he brought the client dishes from my grandmother’s kitchen to help feed his family. He said, “”If I feed him and he keeps his family fed, he’ll find another job and it’ll come back to me tenfold.”” And it did. The client eventually paid in full and referred my grandfather to countless other clients.

Like him, I work to build relationships with clients and employees. And like my grandmother, I enjoy cooking, so when one of our employee’s families was hit with COVID, I made them a big pot of my “”Dadian chicken soup”” and dropped it off at their door. That’s the way we function here; we do the little things and everybody pulls together. As a result, employee retention is about 95%.

Good employee retention goes hand in hand with client retention. Treat employees with respect, take care of them, and they will take great care of the customers. Our client retention is 97%.

Maintaining client relationships is easy when you’re starting out and have a handful of clients, but as you scale and you grow, it becomes a bit more difficult to get to know everyone. That’s why I make a simple call every month to check in on each customer and their families.


My father used to say, it’s not how hard you get knocked down, it’s how fast you get back up. Every business has ups and downs, and is no exception. After 9/11 we took a hard economic hit, and then again during 2020 the perfect storm of COVID and having two sizable clients acquired caused revenue to decline. However, we still maintained gross profit of more than 60%.

That’s another thing I learned from my grandfather: Always put money away for a rainy day. We have no debt on the balance sheet, are fully self-funded, and have a sizable war chest to operate from. 

One final piece of wisdom from my grandfather: Don’t ask employees to do anything you’re not willing to do yourself. Roll up your sleeves and dive in.

Photography: Matt Greenslade

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