Rafi Holtzman shows employees the love at Luidia

Rafi Holtzman, CEO, Luidia Inc.

A few years ago, when one of Rafi Holtzman’s employees called him from Europe and said she forgot her bright pink suit pants she needed for a trade show she was attending, he went to her house and, not wanting them to get crumpled in his suitcase, carried them by hand on the plane. He got odd looks, but it was just one way the CEO of Luidia Inc., a creator of interactive whiteboard technologies, showed his employee that he cared about her.

Holtzman also drinks his coffee with employees so he can talk to them, and he bought employees expensive ergonomic chairs so they would be comfortable. And when any of his nearly 100 employees have family emergencies, he says he’ll see them when it’s over instead of expecting them to work during the crisis.

“Even if you’re a cold-hearted capitalist, you still want to act like this because it buys you the thing that money can’t buy — it’s the personal responsibility, it’s the self-motivation — salaries will not do that for you,” he says. “Salaries are short-term sugar highs. If people understand you’re there for the long-run … it goes a long way.”

Smart Business spoke with Holtzman about how values affect a company.

What role do values play in an organization?

There are two kinds of motivation in human life — and it’s basically falling into two buckets. One of them is fear and the other one is love. Fear is a great motivator for a short-term burst — if you’re running away from a wild animal or doing a very fast project that you need to do right now and kill yourself to finish it. But if you really want to sustain growth, creativity, teamwork for the long run, then you have to be highly motivated to continue this for the long run, and the only way I know how to do that is personal involvement. I’m using the term love, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s a combination of respect and personal responsibility and taking things really personal.
It helps a lot if you believe in that. You can fake it and do pep talks. A lot of companies will say that people are their strongest assets. But from my experience, not a lot really do mean it on the basic level. If you can really believe in that, you’re a large part of the way there.

Rich man, poor man

Bugatti. The name once conjured images of begoggled drivers steering barrel-shaped cars around dirt race tracks in France. Fast forward 80 years and the name brings to mind zeros. Lots of zeros.

Since its first public unveiling at last year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Bugatti Veyron 16.4 has been eagerly awaited. Anyone can own a Lamborghini — OK, not anyone — but it takes a special collector to write a check with six zeros. Of course, the two-seat Veyron (named for legendary ‘30s racer Pierre Veyron) is not just another car. Sporting four turbochargers, the twin Volkswagen 8-cylinder engines deliver an astounding 1,001 bhp at 6,000 rpm, enough to get from 0 to 60 in an eye-popping 3 seconds. Bugatti, which is owned by Volkswagen, says it will only produce 300 units. A good buy? Perhaps. A 1935 Bugatti T55 is set to go on the block next month in Paris, where it could fetch as much as $2.6 million.

For the less fortunate, we offer below three more affordable choices. FOR MORE INFORMATION: www. bugatti.com, www.ferrari.com, www.ford.com, www.lotuscars.com

Ferrari 575M Maranello | $250,000

High performance paired with exquisite appointments make a powerful one-two punch for Ferrari’s top-of-the-line model. The 5.75-liter, 515 bhp V-12 with a Formula 1-style gearbox delivers 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds and a top speed just a hair under 195 mph. If that isn’t enough to get you, how about an adaptive suspension that, based on road conditions, raises and lowers the ride height to optimal position for the sport or comfort setting.

Ford GT | $150,000 estimated

Starting the design process with the classic 1968 GT40, Ford found it needed to rethink its “Ferrari slayer” to keep it from becoming an airplane. The result is a car that harkens back in looks but takes advantage of the latest technology — composite body, ultrastiff frame and a supercharged aluminum V8 that delivers 500 bhp and a top speed near 200 mph. Limited production — about 1,500 a year — begins in spring as a 2005 model.

Lotus Elise | $39,000 estimated

First promised more than five years ago, a street-legal Elise will hit U.S. shores this year. At one-fifth the cost of many exotics, you still get surprising performance from an engine based on the Toyota Celica’s 1.8-liter, four-cylinder power plant: 0 to 60 in a reported 4.9 seconds and a top speed over 140 mph. But don’t expect a luxury ride. This is a driver’s car; in fact the passenger seat is fixed — and occupies a third less space than the driver’s.