I’ve been in the Technology Solutions space for over 25 years and have held many corporate positions in Senior Management, Leadership, Sell Side, Delivery Side, and the Supply Side over the course of my professional career.
My employers have been mostly mammoth Global Technology and GSI firms including KPMG, Deloitte, SUN, VMware, IBM, Atos, Oracle, and Cisco just to name a few.
All of these popular “big tech brands” have their own strengths and weaknesses and I’ll definitely take some time to compare and contrast them in future roundup style posts.
In retrospect though, many of the work cultures within these organizations are so drastically different from each other and that has been the one constant throughout my entire career so far.
So much of the way people behave in one tech org vs another is usually predicated on how effective the executive leadership team is outside the numbers game.
The way I see it is that life is divided into two halves. For simplicity, let’s call it the first half and the back half and assume we live to be around the century mark.
So with regard to my first half, I can say with certainty that it was not all rainbows and unicorns. There were some really high highs and even more really low lows. No pain no gain right?
Fast forward to the current chapter where I work with Fortune 500 Clients to accelerate end-to-end digital transformation giving them the best business and technology outcomes and helping them achieve their financial goals.
I tend to combine all my work and life learning experiences together, share ideas, and interests and distill the information into edible morsels for y’all to consume! Hopefully, this information will provide you with value and fresh perspectives/relevance in your own business transformation journeys whatever and wherever that may be.
Not All Corporate
More than what you read on paper, I’ve also been an entrepreneur and had a few notable side hustles as the founder of an Internet Incubator in the early days and later in the game was the Founder and CEO of XFLY Systems and Executive Partner at the Drone Media Group
XFLY was an Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) manufacturing company that developed heavy lifting (100kg+) industrial-grade Drones that were used in Hollywood feature films all over the world and in many high-risk Industrial applications from Firefighting California Wild Fires, to Search and Rescue Operations and Agricultural applications from crop spraying to researching the Rainforest Canopy.
If you are into UAS/Aerial Robotics/Drones you can check out my published IEEE Spectrum feature.
Back in the early 90s, I self-learned how to create websites, write code, and architect systems. The internet was in the early beginnings of what it is today and at that point in time, I was just in the early stages of my career. Web 1.0 was buzzing, and people were starting up dot coms daily. It was a period of hyper-growth and I was on the cusp of a movement that put us where we are today.
I quickly jumped on the bandwagon after I realized how exciting the trend was going to be and decided to go all in. I literally got my hands on every book that was published on the topic and probably read about 60 books that single year as well as thousands of online posts and articles and started developing my own software. I really began to live in it, breathe it and obsess over it.
One day, I ran into a Senior Executive and IT leader at one of these random meet-up events. She was part of the Senior Executive leadership team at a leading financial services firm, and we began talking about how the Internet revolutionized the Technology and Business landscape. The conversation ended up going on for over two hours and to my amazement, she had very little knowledge of how to leverage the Internet in her business.
This was a C-level IT veteran who was likely making close to $1M/yr in the 1990s. At the time I was early in my career and during that single meeting was absolutely mind-blown that someone with this pedigree was so uninformed about how to leverage the Web for business advantage. She asked me many questions to learn how to leverage this new technology for her organization. We became good friends and she became my first real mentor on how a lot of corporate business worked
These moments and many more are where I realized that my knowledge of disruptive technologies exceeded most when at the dawn of a connected world.
I kept this very notion and relationship in my back pocket over the next several years. This breakthrough personal experience was the long-lasting fuel that would drive me forward for years.
The Back Half
Today, now in the back half of my life, I can’t really say that I’ve been able to break through the proverbial glass corporate ceiling but the next massive realization was that Corporate life is not typically organized to meet all of one’s wholistic expectations and that is how it should be viewed. You can gain the fantastic experience that it offers, but not base personal growth on professional growth. Once I truly separated these two things, I was finally able to create a sustainable work-life balance, not to mention carve out personal time to get uber-fit and healthy and this has turned out to be a fantastic self-improvement journey.
This was another A-ha moment of self-realization. The Journey is more valuable than the result? A new lens is in complete focus and it’s liberating. Perhaps, it is more about people, relationships, self-awareness, living healthy, and creating more Impact. Perhaps… Certainly doesn’t hurt.
Is this a new beginning to the second half? Maybe… OR Is this a new transformational opportunity in life? So many questions with very few answers but here are a few things in my process of making sense of the situation. Fundamentally, transformational journeys are iterative so they are likely to be enhanced in the future based on what is working and what is not.
My sense of curiosity about the unknown is what fueled many of my successes in life so far. Leaning in or leaping into the unknown and figuring shit out through hypothesis, trial and error was one of my first real breakthroughs and not necessarily the end result.
The journeys are more valuable than the outcomes! Furthermore, this chaotic and often expensive way of “leaping in” has turned out to be the most gratifying and rewarding part of my lifelong achievements so far.
When we have a goal in mind, it all comes together. We have the ability to make a positive impact on the world. To create a brighter future for everyone by establishing greater equality and inclusion. This objective spurs us into action. Our discussions and feelings are guided by our objectives.
Technology can help us solve many of the world’s problems, and I’m always looking for new ways to use technology to make a positive impact on the world.
The use of technology to promote goodness. It’s not simply a call to arms for launching an open future for everyone. It’s recognizing that if we want it to happen, we’ll all need to collaborate. If we consider this as individuals or single leaders, we won’t get very far, but as a society, we might achieve a great deal more.
Transformation” means a lot of things to a lot of people. For me, it’s about continual change and improvement. It’s a mindset that starts with the willingness to experiment and challenge the status quo, look for new ways to do things and embracing change both personally and professionally.
Change is all about making things better. It’s about taking what you have and making it better.
The world is changing faster than ever before, and people and businesses alike must change with it to stay relevant. I’m interested in re-imagining and re-inventing the way we do things by learning from the past and continuously making improvements.
I’m constantly looking for new ways to do things, and I’m always experimenting with new ideas. I think that there’s always room for improvement and that we can always find new ways to do things better.
Leadership is about setting the tone and heading in the right direction. It’s also about inspiring people to do their best and being role models. I’m a big believer in servant leadership, which is all about putting the needs of others first and helping them develop and succeed.
I’m a fan of the power of relationships, and trust is absolutely earned. Trust is a foundational pillar of all relationships. I also think that conflict is a natural part of any relationship and that it’s how we handle conflict that defines the quality of our relationships.
We should always strive to be our best selves and we should never settle for anything less. We should always be learning and we should never stop growing. Growth is a fundamental human need, and I think that it’s what makes us truly alive.
So today this is ultimately my WHY as far as I know it. Searching for ways to maximize impact in the back half. We can make a difference in this world. We can leave our mark on the planet and we can do this by doing things so much better than in the past. So that’s what we’re going to do: let’s get started!