Rocket Science: Arthur Fullerton

Arthur Fullerton is a husband, father of three, audiophile, and CTO of the ad agency Rauxa.

What technology do you need to upgrade in your home?

My television. I’ve got an old LG that I bought in the dark ages. I remember I was trying to hook up my MacBook to it with HDMI, and there was just nothing. Total black screen.

However, that upgrade is very low on the priority list in our house. It’s high on mine, but low on everyone else’s.

Best music discovery of 2018?

There’s this vocalist, serpentwithfeet, who’s amazing. He just dropped his debut album and weirdly sounds a little like Nina Simone. It’s kind of like future beat, but really amazing vocals.

He did a duet with Björk, and I’m a huge fan of hers. She’s always been very experimental with sound and melody. Just nice, nice mellow music to counteract the craziness of my life in general.

What common trap do you see young tech companies fall into?

I’d say being over-aspirational. I believe companies should focus on the main utility and/or service they want to provide, get laser-focused on that, and come as close to optimal as possible.

Once that happens you can expand the feature set or service. There’s a littered highway of companies that have had a very fragmented approach … too feature heavy … in regards to what their offering should be.

Overmeasurement can be an issue too … that belief that you need to track absolutely everything. Even if it’s an MVP, sometimes people feel they need this constant influx of data.

The Test and Learn approach, which everyone’s been talking about for years, is the way to go. Find out what your core objectives are for the system. Measure those to quantify said objectives, then optimize if necessary.

What’s the mobile app you use the most?

Spotify, definitely. A close second would be Soundcloud. I’m heavily into music discovery.

In terms of utility, I’m pretty dependent on the whole Google suite. I like Inbox a lot because includes a cognitive layer. It’s able to anticipate responses, parcel your appointments, and prioritize things based on what it perceives as important.

Favorite neighborhood restaurant

I’m one of those annoying healthy people, but I do have my guilty pleasures. I’m going to have to go with the classic: Dallas BBQ. It’s just down the street, we order it from Seamless, everyone seems to like it, and there’s always tons of leftovers.

My son loves two8two on Atlantic, which is a burger joint. The family enjoys Apollo Diner too, but we try to keep that stuff to a minimum because we can be a pretty crazy caravan. We have three kids, so we get the side eye when we bring our kids around to a quiet restaurant and they are doing cartwheels and smashing ketchup packets.

What’s your favorite outdoor space?

I love Brooklyn Bridge Park. It’s evolved into such a great spot to bring the kids, exercise, or go to a restaurant. Plus it’s got a beautiful view of Manhattan, and you can jump on a ferry there and go to Governors Island. So many options, I just love that about Brooklyn.

What’s the best lesson you learned from your worst boss?

Oh gosh, that’s a tough one! I don’t want to quote who said this, because he actually was a good boss, but there’s some advice he gave me that I pull out all the time. He’d always say, “You got to A-S-K to G-E-T.” If you don’t ask for it, you’re not going to get it, whether it’s a promotion or a raise or more resources to help you do your job.

There’s also something a former coach told me once that I say to my teams. He’d tell the story about two guys driving a hundred miles an hour down the highway. The driver grabs the rear view mirror and throws it out the window. The passenger looks at him and says, “What the hell did you do that for?” And the driver responds, “Because what’s behind us is of no consequence.”

So, invariably in this space things go wrong, mistakes happen, problems surface. It’s an imperfect, unpredictable space, but you have to let things go, learn from them, evolve and get better.

What’s a buzzword that should go away?

I used one in an email today. I said, “I have a hard stop at 4:30.” Hard stop … I cringed as I was typing it.

There’s a laundry list of things that should go away. “Let’s socialize that” is one I hear a lot. “Framework” was big a couple years ago. If you didn’t really know what to call something, you call it a framework.

I’m also hearing “technical debt” a lot, which is a viable thing, but now suddenly it’s everywhere. It’s like, can we think of something else to say? I’m hearing also “gravitas” a lot as well, which sounds pretentious even in context. That said, I’m probably guilty of saying these as much as anybody else.

Best action movie of all time.

I don’t know I would consider this an action movie, but I love The Usual Suspects. There’s some action in that. I saw the most recent Mission Impossible, which I thought was terrific. Love him or hate him, Tom Cruise is the last of a breed of action star. He’s going to put everything on the line, like learning to fly a helicopter or training in the martial arts. The attention to detail and quality of those movies are undeniable.

Of course when it comes to older action films that have held up well, one does come to mind. The other day I watched the Patrick Swayze (RIP) vehicle Road House, I consider it an American classic. Every time that shows up on TV — which is a lot — whether it’s 5 minutes in or 50 minutes in, I get comfy and watch it.

It’s got the right amount of that late ’80s cheese and dialogue, and a very high level of ridiculous bubblegum action. All-star cast: the great Sam Elliott, Ben Gazzara, Kelly Lynch, and blues legend Jeff Healey. So hey, sit down and boot up Road House, you will not be disappointed.

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Random questions, random answers, good times

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