Building Something Exceptional

There is no easy way to leave something when you have poured your whole self into it.

I have spent a week as Director of Development of Savvis’ cloud. After being part of building an incredible product and team, it was difficult to leave. Only the promise of being part of something bigger could dislodge me.

I have known for many years that I love bringing the science of technology to the art of business. It’s not a matter of just “doing IT,” though sometimes it feels like quite the opposite. It is a passion for understanding what is driving a business and discovering the technology that can make it better and support its innovation. Over time, I have found that I also have a passion for building teams and infecting within them a culture of appreciation for pursuing that larger mission.

Is that not IT’s mission? Maybe it should be, but too often something goes wrong. IT can focus inwardly on pursuits like running the perfect methodology, building a case study architecture, maintaining the status quo, or doing something, anything interesting to keep its staff engaged. Along the way, there are countless opportunities for loss of focus and mission. Frequently, many do not understand the pressure that its core business brings; if it is understood, it is resented.

Conversely, a business that treats its technology experts as reactive order takers and problem solvers can lose sight of the sense of innovation needed to stay competitive and undervalues the role IT can play in helping the business achieve such innovation. All are well-meaning professionals with valid insight, but too often, results are not spectacular. Too often, a unicorn is promised, but a pony with some duct tape and a horn is delivered instead.

Over my career I have sought to find ways to bring things back to the core mission, to innovate the business and to do so while smiling and having fun. To do that means building bridges and maintaining an understanding of the overall business. I have built some great things and have found success and learned from challenges along the way. I am fortunate to have had inspiring mentors along the way.

Dozens of people along the way have helped mold me … a CFO father, a former member of the Apollo Lunar module engineering team showed me that a creative team working together can solve seemingly impossible tasks … a famous mathematician taught me to play blackjack … visionaries who are currently working with me to push where the cloud can take us … and people who taught me to use my quirks to the advantage of my teams … I continue to be privileged to have interacted with so many to broaden my perspective.

From these experiences, I have realized that this is my passion: to mentor people to unite business and technology. To find a balance to solve problems. This includes pursuing balance in our lives, as well as balance in the solutions we architect to make the business stronger.

It is truly an amazing time for business. The wide adoption of agile and lean, coupled with both broad and inexpensive access to technologies like mobile, cloud computing, sensors, 3-D printing, and the movement toward a more open world puts technology – and more of it – closer to the business than ever before. Some businesses see how transformational this access will be and have begun to embrace it, but perhaps not enough.  At the same time, individuals struggle to find their balance as access to information and connectivity overwhelms us. As the first generation of CIOs begins to retire, it is our generation that will restore this balance. It will be our undertaking to teach the business community how to master these new innovations to unlock their potential.

To achieve this, I am proud to find a team in Centric Consulting equally as committed as I am to that balance. In all of the interactions I have had, I have never met a better set of people committed to building an amazing culture with its employees and consistently providing unmatched customer experiences. I could not be more proud to join their ranks to help deliver their core principles.

I will be dedicating myself to helping my clients with their transformation, to move beyond just where I work and those that retain our services. More broadly, I would like to use this personal public space to show examples of how to unite business and technology to achieve spectacular results. I want to be able to share some of the perspectives I have gained with my teams so that together we can advance the cause of finding our balance and truly changing the way things work. And perhaps I’ll teach someone the art of Blackjack along the way.

So, I go to build the unicorns. Not shiny things bolted on with duct tape, but the technology that integrates into, and advances, the mission of the business as it evolves.