Chief Technical Officer, LifeSize
How long at current company: Six years
Most important career influencer: I've been lucky to have worked with some very good people. But the biggest influence on me, hands down, was my dad, and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him. The core values he taught me and the wisdom he shared I apply every day in my professional interactions and approach to my career.
Advice for future CIOs: Support my iPhone as a full-fledged device on the network! But seriously, as CTO my focus is likely more forward-looking and broad than a typical CIO's, and the iPhone has changed the dynamics of the smartphone market--yet it still faces some resistance from traditional IT. We have to embrace that kind of change.
Also, curiosity about emerging trends is vital. Spend a small portion of time to think outside your comfort zone.
Finally, remember the IT group is a service organization. Make sure you keep your customers happy.
Best way for CIOs to cope with the economic downturn: The communication technologies that exist today are not at all like the ones that existed five years ago. Take a fresh look at them. They will save operating expenses and increase productivity.
Kids and technology careers: My son will go off to college next, and I'm confident he will not follow in my footsteps as an electrical engineer. He's competent at programming and Web creation tools, but he's more a user than a developer. But any future job will require a high level of competency with technology, and he's well prepared for that. I'd guess that sports medicine will be more likely for him.
The next big thing for my industry will be ... There are many dimensions of change in the video-communications industry. Certainly, performance will ratchet up to higher bit rates, and there will be larger spatial resolutions, increased frame rates, better error resilience.
On The Job
Size of IT team: Fewer than 10
How I measure IT effectiveness: As a young company, the success metric we used most often was, "Does it work, and can we afford it?" We've rapidly evolved from that stage and, as a result, our IT department is evolving to support our growth. For instance, as we continue to grow, our processes need to change along with the supporting systems. Also, we recently hired a very experienced director of IT, and that will make a huge difference in bringing our IT operations in line with where we are as a company.
Colleges/degrees: University of Texas Austin (go, Horns!), BS in electrical engineering
Leisure activities: Tennis, experimental airplanes, RV trips
Business leader I'd like to have lunch with: Warren Buffett, at Gorat's in Omaha
Biggest business-related pet peeve: Vaporware
Smartphone of choice: Phone 3G
Personal computer: Apple MacBook Pro
If I weren't a chief technical officer, I'd be ... traveling around the country in our RV