Technology as a Career Choice
I admit it. I fell into a technology career (almost) by accident. I was working a dead-end labour job in Toronto after I left high school and passed by the DeVry Institute of Technology every day on my way to work (nothing like a dead-end job to give me motivation to go to college). One day I dropped into the admissions office—and didn't look back.
My Attraction to Technology: Lust for (Artificial) Life (and the money)
While my entry into the world of technology seemed somewhat happenstance, I believe my subconscious drove me to do it. I believe my attraction to technology came from an event a year before I attended DeVry, when I was working at yet-another-dead-end-job and the company's computer broke. Somebody whispered to me that the IBM guy who was coming in to fix it was charging $125/hr! That made an unforgettable impression on me seeing as I was making $3.50 an hour at the time. (Of course what I didn't know was that IBM that made the $125/hr., not the technician.) Still, it taught me that if something was that valuable to a company, then there was probably a future in it.
Forget Science Fiction. I Discovered a Programmable Life Form.
I was schooled, primarily, in hardware technology, but it was a class in software (8086 assembler) that got me. It was an aha moment. These assembler commands could seemingly create "processes with a life"? That first lightning bolt epiphany still energizes me to this day. I didn't know it then, but it was my first of many gut feel moments in the technology arena. What do I mean by gut feel? It's not unlike a compulsion. You see a new technology and you are driven to invest (time, effort, money). Your peers question what you are doing. You question what you're doing. But in the end, you're right. Your gut feel was right. My peers questioned my move to software (from hardware). That was a good move. My peers questioned my obsession with Unix. That was an awesome move. My peers questioned ... (you get the picture). These type of gut feel moments happened with Google, MySQL, PowerBuilder, Dropbox, etc.
For many years, I believed my gut feel was 100% suited for new technologies and new markets. Not so. Today, as VP of marketing I use my gut feel as a proxy for what my target market is thinking. I try to get inside their heads. This involves plenty of listening and research. It also requires great execution skills. After all, there's no lack of ideas when it comes to marketing. The challenge for most people is picking a few compelling ideas and executing on them. That's the hard part.
Innovating in a Mature Market
Today, I work in a relatively mature industry (banking software). So to make headway and fuel growth, we have to play on the edge of that mature industry. We try to be "where the puck is going to be." That's why our term deposit product is such a star today. It was no overnight success. We worked hard to figure out what would give our customers the edge. Then we executed our plan. As such, when the liquidity crisis hit and companies were desperate for ways to acquire capital, our term deposit product became the great marketing success it is today. It's no surprise that ING, Presidents Choice, RBC, Canadian Tire, Xceed, etc. chose us. We earned that business.
Disclosure: The company I work for is Strategic Information Technology.
Email Patrick Lannigan at lannigan at gmail dot com for more information
This page was created and/or refreshed on March 09, 2016 @ 11:47:56