Read Time Two Minutes
The interview with Jim didn’t nearly happen a few weeks back. I had agreed to meet Jim to conduct the interview but I hadn’t agreed on the location. Jim thought it was in Dundrum, I thought it was in the city center. So when I got an email to say call me when you arrive I started to get overwhelmed what did he mean?!!!.
I take the blame that I didn’t put the location into the invite (I’m still learning!). When I called Jim he had said that it was a big sales day for his employer so he couldn’t be off the floor too long. By the time I packed up the stuff to get out to Dundrum it would of been to late to conduct the interview.
Jim to the rescue! Jim jumped on the Luas and we literally conducted the interview in 50 minutes. I learned so much and it was a great conversation about technology, culture, minimum viable product and going to work each day to create greatness and having fun.
For those that don’t know Jim, Jim is a technology guru and has worked in some fantastic start up’s such as Marrakech, Opsource (which was sold to Dimension Data) and Ezetop (which is now Ding) to name just a few. Jim’s career has worked in games development in the early 1980’s to systems integration in the 90’s. More recently, the focus has been on building enterprise-grade products and platforms. I have never come across a person in nearly 10 years who hasn’t said great things about Jim!
While I was setting up the camera equipment I got a little flustered as I was conscious of the time and didn’t use a widescreen shot on the video camera. The result was that half of my body was missing from the film. Luckily for me I got some help to iron out the creases and the video still came out well.
Why a Start Up?
One of the first questions I asked Jim was why he chose a Start Up vs a more traditional career. Jim gave an answer that I could only describe as compelling. Jim used such exciting phrases such “as the enjoyment of the start up”, “the land rush of Oklahoma“, “great open planes of opportunity”, “anything is possible” & “you get to create the culture by choosing the people you want to work with”.
I found myself hanging on in anticipating to his next words and picturing the land rush of Oklahoma. When my wife was listening to that part of the podcast she said “you did well to interview Jim, he made you look good”. I still don’t know how to take it but one thing’s for sure that part of the conversation was pure HBO Boxoffice!!.
I took away two points from our conversation that really stuck with me. The first point let the data tell us what the customer wants before we embark on providing a service they don’t need or desire. The second point make today count and don’t put off your enjoyment for some time in the future.
Let the Data tell us what the customer wants
I learned a lot from Jim particularly the concept of minimum viable product, get a product to market let the users test it and let the data be a judge whether or not you continue with it. Jim is very passionate about the merits of working to an agile methodology to generate a minimum viable product. Jim really hammered home the point in a very eloquent way the benefits of agile, not to over think the process and fall into the trap of too much planning. Let the Data tell us if one feature is better than the other. Jim spoke with experience of how the other approaches such as a waterfall methodology would never allow you to be as productive or fun.
The biggest takeaway – Make today count.
The biggest learn I took away from our conversation was creating a vision and culture that is focused on the here and now and making today count. A vision where you achieve greatness every day and you celebrate those moments as a collective team. A vision that’s focused on living in the moment “as who knows where it’s going to go“. It’s been by no accident that those companies Jim worked for have been so successful as they have had a visionary leader and a culture that as Jim puts it “is like a personality you want to spend more time with”.
That has a compelling feel to it and it brings me back to when I was growing the Dublin office armed with a vision of creating an excellent customer experience for our candidates and clients. A vision that united with everyone wanted to feel proud to come to work and give outstanding service and make a difference to people’s lives. I still think about what Jim said and it’s had a big effect on me. Enjoy every moment, don’t put off your enjoyment as this moment counts and let’s create something great today as “who knows where is it going to go”.
This really resonated with me as we can all get caught in the trap of I will be happy when we do X and so on and that day never comes. When you listen to Jim on the podcast (i strongly recommend you do) you can see how important work is to him and the importance living for the moment to the culture of any companies he has been involved in.
Jim has a lot of people who have influenced him throughout his career most of them have been great entrepreneurs he refers to them as DaVinci’s, Columbus, Shackleton’s of the modern era. They share a common trait of high energy and a clear vision that nothing will stop them getting there.
Work is extremely important to Jim and in his words it “feeds his soul” so working in the right company and doing the work Jim is passionate about is crucial for his happiness. I think we can all relate to that one.
Excellent advice offered by Jim in the podcast
- Manage your career – Jim sets out the importance of not falling into the trap of progressing into management if its not your passion
- Leadership through doing – A path of growth for you & your people
- Test Control Experiment – Let the Data tell us what the customer wants
- The Future of IT – Micro services, AI & IOT
- Jim’s Favorite interview Question & Advice to Graduates
- Defining Road Map and Technical Direction
- Why hiring is super important to culture and how you know in 30 seconds if the person is right for your company
- Balancing it all
- Jim’s mantra from Stephen Coveys 7 Habits – Sharpen the Saw
I would love your thoughts about the podcast / video as this feedback shapes how I conduct the podcast and blog posts. Hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it with Jim.
What action are you going to take after listening to the podcast / Video?