The Golden Circle / http://www.startwithwhy.com/

Why I Work

One of my favorite books on leadership is by Simon Sinek, titled “Start with Why”. This is my attempt to apply what I read into a meaningful and personal example. I always choose jobs and projects by gut feel and now I want to explore that gut feeling and put into words, the higher purpose that I want to achieve from work.

What I do:

IT Return On Investment
Agile Software Development Management
Technical Team Management (onshore and offshore/distributed team)
Data Analytic Decision
Coaching and Mentoring for Engineers
Technology Road Map
Product Management
Application and Data Security
Cloud Computing
Software as a Service
Database Architecture
Software Architecture
System Architecture
User Interface
Software Programming (C/C++, C#, Java, PHP)

What I do was very easy to write; I listed some of typical things on a resume.

How I work:

Lead a team to analyze many possible solutions based on Return on Investment (ROI) of Information Technology (IT). Create prototypes and Minimal Viable Product (MVP) to jump-start a business concept. Plan and execute long term product road map to enable the business to scale and grow.

How I work was harder to write. I love to build technology and I love to build teams. When the team members and the technology come together, everyone feels the energy and the positive momentum. Everything seems to be in the Zone. We might be arguing about some minor point about UX or algorithm efficiency, but everyone depends on each other for the success of the upcoming release. Words can't describe that optimism and productivity that’s literally in the air. We all drank the Kool-Aid and there is a sense of mission and purpose. As a leader, I try to create that sense of common purpose. Create a team ego, where everyone knows the team and individual responsibilities and values each other’s role, skill, and contribution.

Why I work:

Create innovative products that solve a human problem through the business of technology.

Why I work turns out to be very hard to define, and I’m not sure if I have the right reason, yet. I know it’s not about money, title, technology, or learning cool stuff. I have walked away for all those things because I felt a company’s reasons and values were not in line with mine. I don't want to be busy with work; I want to work with a purpose. Yes, I want to change the world, and it must be a better world.

I’m not interested in making rich people and corporations even more money (although I don't object to that, clearly in a capitalistic society, profit is a critical measurement of one’s success.) Profit should NOT be the primary measure of success and purpose. I see profit as a natural outcome of a successful venture. When a product has the correct value, customer traction, and scalability, then profit is the natural outcome. I accept the Darwinian necessity of profit as a corporate survival fitness measure.

I’m technology agnostic. I worked for Microsoft and I have many good things to say about their products. Open source technology is great too. I don't have a dogma of Java vs. C# vs. Objective-C vs PHP, etc. I don't need to argue the benefits of VMs, Just-In-Time compilation, compiled, or interpreted languages. There is no perfect fit for any specific set of technologies. There are many cultural and technical reasons to advocate one set of technology vs. another. I'm more interested in making a right decision based on corporate culture, hiring availability, and business risk.

The reason why I work is certainly a mouthful of words. What does it really mean? I’m pulling a Matrix, Morpheus quote.

You're here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it’s there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad.

This is how I feel when I work; there is something wrong, something that should be better and easier. I want to drill down to understand this feeling, why is it wrong, how did become this way, was it always this way, why does this wrong continue? And I'm driven to correct the wrong using technology. I know the problem and the solution is larger than me. I need to build a team, gather people with the same feelings and desire to correct the wrong. Gather people who are smarter and more skilled than I and together we can try to make a difference.

I want to solve problems for people.

NextCard — For me it is a more fair and faster way to get a better credit card. People deserve smarter score and better service online. Paper statements and paper checks are lame. It’s standard nowadays, but during the late 90's, it was all new.

Entropia — Distributed computing. Why buy more computing power when you are not using the power you already have.

Karma Innovation — Kids’ toys are boring. I wanted to create better toys that really taught music, were fun, and most importantly, felt magical.

EPS — Energy management is broken, it’s an invisible cost and full of lost opportunities. People want to do the right thing, but don’t know what to do. Data and algorithms will be the light that shine and make the invisible, visible.

As Jack Dorsey said “You have an idea and the company becomes oxygen for that idea… In these times, a company is the best way to spread that idea.” Building technology to solve problems takes money, skills, people, and planning. Business is most effective way to raise money, gather, organize, plan, and manage all those resources to deliver a meaningful solution. Helping customers and business planners understand what’s possible with technology and delivering the result is the ideal way to work.

I’m still an optimist and I still want to change the world for the better (for me, for people around the world, and for my kids.). That’s the big picture of why I work.

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