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5/26/2010
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CIO Profiles: In Their Own Words

IT leaders share their top priorities, biggest mistakes, and career dreams if they weren't a CIO.
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Chief Technology, Product, and Innovation Officer, Active Network

CAREER TRACK
How long at Active Network: A year at this cloud-based event registration company.

Career accomplishment I'm most proud of: I've been able to maneuver through a wide range of industries throughout my career, while continuing to innovate. After 25 years, it can be difficult to keep up with technology, but I've always worked hard to be on top of what's new.

Most important career influencer: My mother taught me the importance of being honest and ethical, and that if you aren't, you might advance in your career, but you'll likely be penalized along the way.

Decision I wish I could do over: There have been times when I've pushed the envelope of technology too hard and didn't allow the technology to mature first. I've learned to let the technology catch up.

ON THE JOB
IT budget: More than $100 million

Size of IT team: About 1,400

Top initiatives:

  • Focus on building best-of-breed products that have strong return on investment for our customers.
  • Drive product consolidation across all of our platforms and business units.
  • Continue our data center migrations and consolidation.

VISION
How I give my team room to innovate and experiment: To innovate, keep things simple. Overdeveloping products is a common mistake that hinders innovation. Typically, only a few key features and functions really matter, and that's where you should concentrate your efforts. We push our teams to experiment and innovate around those key things. We also have a small group whose entire mission is to drive innovation.

What I need from tech vendors: I need IT vendors to be candid about their products' capabilities. They often try to force your set of needs into the capabilities of their product, not the other way around. I'd rather have a vendor say its product doesn't have a certain capability up front, because then we can work around it.

The most common cause of IT projects going wrong: When vendors don't really understand client expectations or requirements, things will go wrong. The most common mistake on the client side is miscommunication about success factors for a project.

Kids and tech careers: Technology makes for a great, secure career. But it's also a very intense, 24/7 environment. There are other careers that offer the same security and money, but that allow you to have more of a personal life. I love my job and have thrived in it, but you need to be a particular type of person.

PERSONAL
Degrees: Fort Lauderdale College/Florida Metropolitan University, BS in computer information systems; Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management, MBA

Tech vendor CEO I respect most: Michael Dell

Favorite band: Maroon 5

Best book read recenly: Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson

If I weren't a CIO, I'd be ... a watch designer and manufacturer

Ranked No. 29 in the 2012 InformationWeek 500

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