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November 19, 2023 • Interview with Authority Magazine


Antonio Castelan: Turning Adversity into Triumph in Real Estate Tech

Article Summary

Antonio Castelan, the innovative force behind Fortum Digital Services, reflects on his journey of transforming personal and professional crises into success stories. Born to resilient immigrant parents, Antonio’s path was carved with a deep love for technology and an unyielding commitment to value. He recounts the challenges faced as a first-generation college student and entrepreneur, emphasizing his relentless pursuit of excellence despite the odds. Under his leadership, Fortum Digital Services has become a beacon in the real estate tech industry, specializing in converting real estate challenges into opportunities through cutting-edge digital solutions. Antonio’s story is a powerful testament to the strength of perseverance, innovation, and the human spirit in overcoming adversity.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to reflect upon what decision and specific circumstances created this path for me. Reflecting on my incredibly winding career path, I see a mosaic of experiences shaped by a deep-seated commitment to value, an inherent passion for technology, and the enduring influence of my hardworking parents. As a first-generation college student, born to parents who immigrated to the United States with little more than hope and determination, I was born with a sense of resilience and drive. From a young age, my affinity for technology, seen in my curiosity to dismantle and really only dismantle gadgets, laid the foundation for my future in IT and software development. This background, along with several skills learned along the way, coupled with my parents’ example of unimaginable hard work, naturally steered me towards creating Fortum Digital Services, where we transform challenges into opportunities and specialize in creating an impact in the real estate industry.
During the toughest times, Antonio’s resilience shone brightest. He recalls the critical role of technology in transforming Fortum Digital Services, particularly when integrating AI-driven analytics and advanced digital marketing strategies in real estate. His approach to adversity, turning trials into triumphs, reflects the innovative mindset that drives the company’s success in real estate technology.

Can you share your story of when you were on the brink of failure? First, take us back to what it was like during the darkest days.

My mindset during those trying times (and still now) was fueled by an innate stubbornness and a refusal to be defeated by my circumstances. This refusal to be defeated has always been my guiding star. The drive to continue, even when the odds were stacked against me, stemmed not only from personal determination but also from the support and inspiration I drew from my family and friends. Their belief in me bolstered my resolve to not just persevere, but to excel. In every setback, I saw an opportunity to learn, grow, and come back stronger. Notoriously stubborn, I didn’t come this far just to get this far.
Antonio’s journey to success involved leveraging cutting-edge tools like interactive floor plans and immersive 3D tours, demonstrating the power of technology in revolutionizing real estate marketing. His mantra, ‘dominating the mind to dominate everything,’ underpins his strategic approach to business, emphasizing the importance of mindset in achieving success in the highly competitive world of real estate digital solutions.

Can you please tell us how you were able to overcome such adversity and achieve success? What did the next chapter look like?

Overcoming adversity was a journey marked by a potent mix of stubborn willpower and a profound sense of obligation to my loved ones, who deserve nothing but the best version of myself and of life. I approach each hurdle as a challenge to be conquered. Central to this ascent was heeding my father’s wisdom that was preached every day on the way to school ‘El quien domina la mente, lo domina todo.’ Which roughly translates to ‘He who dominates the mind, dominates everything.’ This mantra became my daily creed, a reminder that mastering my mindset was key to mastering my circumstances. Aligning my thoughts with my ambitions paved the way for the next chapter of triumph and success.

Based on your experience, can you share five actionable pieces of advice about how to develop the mindset needed to persevere through adversity?

I. Self-Awareness: The journey to overcoming adversity begins with self-awareness. I cannot emphasize enough how understanding your reactions (mannerisms, tendencies, thoughts, etc.) under various emotional pressures is vital. For instance, in the early days of Fortum Digital Services, I noticed my tendency to become overly critical under stress. This realization led me to shift my focus towards constructive self-evaluation rather than self-criticism. Remember, transformation (and mostly importantly: change) starts from within; knowing your own mind is the first step to mastering it.

II. Push Beyond Comfort: You must push. Endurance in adversity is like a muscle that needs constant training. I learned this through continuously challenging myself, be it in high-pressure business decisions or in personal growth. Each venture out of my comfort zone was a lesson in resilience. For instance, pitching to a major client for the first time was daunting, but it taught me to channel nervous energy into a focused drive. It is only when we test our limits do we rearrange our mindset and realize that we are in fact capable of so much.

III. Continuous Challenge: Embracing discomfort is key to growth. I often found that pushing my limits, whether in learning new technologies or exploring unfamiliar market territories, expanded my capabilities. It’s in these moments of challenge that one’s true potential is uncovered. Evolutionary speaking, your brain will trick you and want to stay in that “known” territory. We must train ourselves and our brain. Plus, we get the added bonus of whatever results from coming out of our comfort zone. We must push more and more.

IV. Embrace Courage: Fear of failure can be paralyzing. I constantly ask myself, “What would I attempt if I knew I couldn’t fail?” This mindset shift has incredibly empowering. A common thought when faced with adversity is “What happens if it doesn’t work out?” Interrupt that thought. What if it does work out? For example, venturing into AI-driven analytics was a risk, but it was one that profoundly transformed our business trajectory. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

V. Acceptance and Persistence: Understanding that not every endeavor will be a success is crucial. Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means learning from every outcome. As Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” It’s about making peace with the journey, not just the destination. It’s about understanding that you must be proud of yourself and keep pushing. It’s about enjoying the journey.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who helped get you to where you are?

Every person I’ve met has influenced my journey, but the most profound impact came from my relationships with my ex-girlfriends. Their presence in my life was more than personal; it was transformational. They helped me introspect and evolve, turning personal challenges into professional strengths. The empathy, understanding, and joy I learned from these relationships have been integral in shaping the way I connect with clients, adding a layer of genuine care and value to our services. I am happy and grateful for everyone and anyone I have had the pleasure of coming across.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Currently, our focus is on honing our existing services to provide unparalleled value to our clients, providing the best care, service, and experience. However, we’re excited about an upcoming venture: launching a non-profit dedicated to self-care. This project stems from recognizing the profound impact of mental well-being on overall life quality. We aim to address the critical issue of suicide through supportive services, hoping to make a meaningful difference in the community.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

If I could inspire a movement, it would emphasize the importance of human connection in business. In an age increasingly dominated by AI and analytics (which revolution we are leading), the need for empathy and genuine interpersonal relationships is paramount. This movement would advocate for business practices rooted in understanding, empathy, and selflessness, promoting a culture where doing the right thing for the right reason is the standard.

Any parting words of wisdom that you would like to share?

Adversity comes in many different shapes, forms, and sizes, yet universally challenging. My parting wisdom is to prioritize self-care. In business, as in life, your well-being should come first. It’s not selfish to look after yourself; it’s necessary. A well-balanced individual is equipped to face any challenge. To anyone struggling, remember that it’s okay to seek help, to take a moment for yourself, and to acknowledge your journey. At Fortum Digital Services, we’re more than a company; we’re a community ready to support and listen. If anyone reading needs any help, an opinion, or just a listening ear, we are happy to listen.

Final Thoughts

Antonio Castelan’s narrative is a compelling reminder of how challenges can be transformed into opportunities, particularly in the dynamic world of real estate technology. His journey at Fortum Digital Services showcases the power of perseverance and innovative thinking in overcoming adversity. This story not only inspires but also illustrates the impact of cutting-edge digital solutions in revolutionizing the real estate industry. For more insights into Antonio’s transformative approach and Fortum Digital’s role in shaping the future of real estate tech, read the full article here –