While in college, my career aspirations ranged from physician, lawyer, teacher or swim coach. Likewise, my roommate was considering sales or marketing careers. Years later, it seems statistically impossible that both of us would own technology companies. While in school, neither one of us wanted to be in an IT field, and we both would have debated anyone labeling us as nerds. Yet, here we are in the ultimate nerd job – both running companies that sell computers. I decided to conduct a “scientific study” to see if this was really such a coincidence. My roommate and I were both college swimmers, and maybe our unique personalities are more drawn to technology than others. I embarked on trying to prove my hypothesis – collegiate level swimmers are nerds.
To prove my point, I did some massive searches of thousands of people on LinkedIn. I found all the people who have “NCAA Swimmer” in their profile, and calculated the percentage of those who are in Information Technology industries vs other industries. I then calculated the same percentages for other LinkedIn search terms – NCAA baseball, NCAA basketball, NCAA football, NCAA gymnastics, and NCAA Tennis. Obviously, this analysis is not 100% accurate, but it is as close as I could get to figuring out who on LinkedIn was a college athlete in a particular sport. And obviously there are numerous other technical careers, but I wanted to focus on information technology in particular – my industry. (more…)
I have worked for large companies, sold to large companies, and consulted with large companies, and I am always amazed at some of the procedures, policies, and strategies they implement in the name of cost savings or efficiency. Some of these strategies last for years, if not decades, until someone with some common sense looks at the process with a different lens. Over the past few years, some of these dinosaur strategies have become more evident. New technologies have created tremendous opportunities for companies to drive innovation, enter new markets, and cut costs. Yet, these decades-old practices thwart innovation and inhibit creative managers to drive change within their organizations.
Dear Fortune 500 CEO,
The results of your tests are in—your company only has five years left to live! You move at the typical snail’s pace of a big company, caught up in bureaucracy and quarterly earnings calls. Your death is inevitable—your billions of dollars of revenue will evaporate quickly, shifting to a company that is just starting up this year, crowd-funded, launched in the cloud, with a new business model you did not think was viable or even possible.
Throughout my career, I have started small companies and worked at large Fortune 500 companies, and in both scenarios there was a strong belief in conducting annual planning sessions to prepare for the coming year. A little over a year ago, I founded Relus Technologies, my fourth start-up, and we are now going through this same exercise. I have learned a ton in past iterations of business plans, and I will hopefully use some of this knowledge in preparing our 2015 plan.
When I was in high school, one was expected to know two or three key numbers: your locker combination, your home phone number, and your home address. Optionally, you should know the phone number and address on any fake IDs in your possession, just in case you were questioned at the Hog’s Breath Saloon – which was highly unlikely. Other than that, life was pretty simple in terms of remembering any numbers, combinations, or passwords.