Welcome to the IT career Energizer podcast for anyone who wants to build and grow a career in IT, develop and improve your strengths and skills, be inspired and motivated by the successes of others, manage your career progression and achieve your IT career goals. And now your host, Phil Burgess.
Welcome to Episode 347 of the IT career and adjuster podcast. My guest on today's show discovered his love for technology by disassembling and reassembling computers salvaged from a shuttered Black and Decker office. He also taught himself basic so that he could create his own simple text based games. He is now the CEO and founder of pliancy, a technology enabled professional services company that helps startups scale their corporate IT. So it's my absolute pleasure to welcome to the podcast, Marcus Olson,
Thanks for having me Phil.
So Marcus, can you tell us a little bit more about Plansee? And how it came about? And what you know, what benefits does it provide as a company to its clients?
Sure, I could go on for quite a while. So I'm gonna give you the condensed version, which is, I used to be in back end kind of engineering, more focused roles, doing scaling startups, their technology servers, networking data centers, and the company I worked for in Minneapolis got acquired. And in the process, I moved to Silicon Valley, I was originally from Minneapolis, Minnesota, and I just needed work. And so I found a consulting gig back then I called it consulting firms before this term, MSP came up, but I got this IT consulting job. And I just really fell in love with the application of technology to people. I think that's something that I missed over many years, as my roles got more and more technical, I felt like I was moving further and further away from the people that, you know, technology was supposed to serve. And this was never a job I expected to keep long, for very long. And it wasn't something I expected I'd be so passionate about. But I immediately just hit the ground running, doing IT consulting work. And what I learned in doing that before starting pliancy was that a lot of IT consulting firms and MSPs started adopting models that I just frankly, felt weren't serving the best interests of the client. When you were an IT consultant, it was all about applying technology to help these businesses grow and whatnot. And it started to kind of get commoditized and relegated to doing help desk and you kind of got pushed further and further away from the business's objectives as an individual and more and more into the closet, if you will, of the server room. And I just was at ends with the consulting firm I was working out with because I felt like Man, we could be doing so much more for these companies that we support, we could be introducing them to new emerging technologies, we could help them deploy technologies that further their business, I don't want to just fix laptops. And so I left that company and started another IT consulting company, which was called TSG at that time, and we were doing your traditional IT consulting, right billed hourly fixed, whatever you need. But there was a lot of really interesting technology was coming out back in that era, which would have been around 2008, which was VMware, like two Dotto or something like that, you know, it was starting to move away from servers in your closet to servers in the data center. Fiber Internet was becoming reachable. So I immediately started spinning up private cloud. This is before, you know, the big private cloud providers today and leasing back this technology on a month to month basis to the clients that we supported. That eventually evolved as I saw SAS coming. I said, You know what, I think that this is a dying industry, despite it being the most profitable have ever had been, I said, you know, I think SAS is the future play here. At that time, SAS was being sold to small little Medium Business flower shops. It wasn't these big companies that were jumping on the SAS bandwagon it was how do you get email for cheaper, but I saw that that was not going to be the long term. And so we pivoted to pliancy and rebranded and started building a SAS orchestration platform and started kind of evolving from an IT consulting firm into what we call a technology enabled professional services firm. And what I mean by that is, we're looking at how does technology allow us to deliver our services and our value proposition to our clients faster, smoother and better value, and not so much just the application of technology at the client, but holistically thinking about that. And so that's when we kind of started blowing up. We're about 130 or so employees now and we've doubled in size about roughly every year and so it was kind of when we made that mental shift and started really communicating that value prop that the company took off. So you would hire us if you're an emerging new company, and you know that you You're going after a big, audacious goal, or you know, you're going to scale really rapidly. And you want technology that you grow into as opposed to technology you grow out of many companies are delivering technology you grow out of if your company successful early on, and that means rip and replace disruptions, poor foundations of scale. And so we come in, and we work with vendors like Oct and duo and our own proprietary software to deliver month to month enterprise SAS turnkey solutions that our clients then grow into.
Right. Okay, so in terms of pliancy, are you growing sort of in parallel with your clients in terms of the rate of development and growth?
Yeah, I mean, that's a great point, Phil, which is, you know, because we target the smaller companies earlier on in their life cycles, you know, we get the benefit of getting to go along with their success as well, which is when they grow and they become successful, it fuels our growth. And that's something that our employees love, right? We love working for companies that are doing both things and growing. It's it's adventures to us. And it helps fuel our business too, right? So we're word of mouth business. We're all inbound, we don't do any outbound. Every client is referred to us. And they're usually the same client, right? Which is another five person startup that wants to take over the world or provide some novel solution, whether it's life science, or a bold investor that wants to invest in some emerging technologies, and we get to grow with them.
Yeah. In terms of the different industry sectors that you will you work in? Are you reasonably or relatively flexible? You don't have any sort of specific? Yeah, well, for example, you don't focus just on financial services. Yeah,
I mean, it's an interesting thing. And I could go on for hours talking about the innovation curve. But when you're a new company or a new technology, you have to respect the innovation curve, meaning you have to meet the customers where they are now. And so you know, we target companies that are kind of have bigger pockets in longer runways to get their goals. Because we are a little bit more expensive than your typical competitor, but we deliver far more. And so your average StateFarm local branch that's that's booting up is probably not going to use pliancy. But a company that's trying to solve cancer, or a big investment firm that wants to fuel the next companies that shape our planet, they're the type that are going to join us and say we need the best we need to scale, we know that we're going to be successful. And so we have a huge success rate with our clients. I can't think of really any of our clients that didn't make it. So yeah, we're not completely, you know, we we do narrow down to life sciences and finance. But the reality of it is we actually serve emerging bolt companies. It just so happens that right now we're marketing towards life, science and finance. But any emerging bolt company would be a great client of ours, we just at the moment aren't taking those on. And we do get a lot of outreach from them. It's just not in the cards at the moment for us.
Okay, good. All right. Well, that was great. Thank you, Marcus. So we're gonna go into the main the main content, if you like of the interview. So we're going to start with the opening question, which is about Korea tip. So can you maybe give us a career tip that the audience may not be aware of from perhaps should be?
Yeah, well, well, when thinking of a career tip through the lens of a technologist, or somebody who's passionate about technology, I think the best tip I could give is, is really focus on what the value is that you're driving for the companies you work for, you know, or whatever you're doing, it's very easy to get really swallowed up in the I love to build these complex Erector sets in my basement, you know, type approaches to technology. But really, ultimately, technology needs to serve a goal for the company and for the people. And so if you're really just trying to establish a good balance between like, I love this technology, because it's awesome. And I also need to serve these goals to this company, as opposed to finding an emerging technology and getting so engulfed in it that you're now trying to find the problem that can solve, which I think is a trap that a lot of early technology, individuals kind of fall into, which is they, they want to sell technologies, because they love how complex they are and how challenging they are. And oftentimes, they're not appropriate for the business or its lifecycle. So really balancing both of those, I think is the best tip I could give.
Absolutely, yes, I think you're right about sort of almost putting the technology first rather than the needs of the the client and what they what problems they have and what needs to be solved. Often the case I think that's probably true about some, some software solutions and software packages that are being developed without necessarily understanding what problem they are there to solve.
Yeah, and I mean, if you're building the trust with the I'm gonna keep saying client but it company you work for, you know, if you're building if you're building that level of trust that they know that you have the best interest of the company's success, and you're applying technology appropriately. You'll get that seat at leadership, you'll get that they'll listen to you. But if you're overselling on technologies you don't need and we all know how technology projects go, right? They're generally very bumpy they create disruptions. So if you're not moving at the right pace for that business with the application of Technology, then people are going to think that you just want the budget to play with new toys. Shiny Object Syndrome is a huge problem in technology. And so you know, it's really important that you balance those and earn that trust, because then when you find something really novel, there's some huge opportunity at this company could capitalize on that you work with, you'll have that that year from leadership, you know, they'll trust you. But if you've been historically selling them things they didn't need and overcomplicating things, then you're going to be met with resistance.
Indeed. So just just going back to your own company, so do you work with your clients on sort of understanding what return on investment is and how it can be demonstrated, once implementation has been completed?
Yeah, I mean, it starts with social proof, right? You know, we're very strict model in that we deploy the same approach to each client, and that allows us to leverage social proof for the next client coming in. And the second to that is, is, you know, some of the most important things that you might do in your life are also the least quantifiable. It's really like any huge opportunity or big movement is oftentimes really challenging to quantify. If it was quantifiable, then that means that somebody else has already been measuring it and likely been capitalizing on it. And so you know, for us, it's a, it's a lot about showing, hey, look, these companies that work with us, when they reach this stage, this amount employees and whatever, they have a higher, you know, ranking of satisfaction from the employees that work there with the use of technology, we have a far less cost as they scale. Because they chose the right technologies. I mean, if you were to build a house and you cut corners on the foundation, you'll be paying for that house until you die. You know, you'll constantly be fixing the cracked wall, fixing the thing. But if you have a nice solid foundation, you put a lot into the architecture of that, you'll find that there's actually less of a cost long run, you know, this is not anything new. There's nothing novel, we've all paid for the cheaper contractor to remodel our bathroom before. And we know how that wound up. But you know, ultimately, yeah, and it's hard to quantify. But social proof is one that we use, the success rate of our companies in our industry that does have a lot of failures, life science, is really, really high. And then as they grow, they can start to see a lower cost per employee to support you know, they'll start to see that as they continue to scale through our approaches that their cost to support each individual they hire goes down and down and down. And so and they have less and less issues employing new technology into their organization, but not because they've laid the right foundation leveraging tools like Okta and duo and, and whatnot. So yeah, it's it's, it's not easy, but it's not impossible.
Yeah, absolutely. Good. Okay. So Marcus, can you tell us about your worst career moment and what you learned from that experience,
I made, I made a mistake. I, I started off and dial up support my first my first IT job was dial up support. And I remember getting paid minimum wage to deal with angry customers and trying to support people over the phone to get connected on dial up was probably one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life. From a just stress and everything. But I wound up getting recruited from there to go work for a company called Phantom Ball that was inventing real time data for fantasy sports. So if you play fantasy sports today, and you're watching your score go up real time. That was our IP that we created in Minneapolis, small Oh, six person, right? Yeah. And I, I remember before getting to fan ball, I took a job that paid well, that I hated. I went and worked for the government. And I worked for the city of Minneapolis. And while it was a Ford, you know, it was a Ford thinking depart. It wasn't completely antiquated. It just, I don't know, there was something about it. It just felt like I went so I took the bait. Right. I took the bait, I got that 20 30% Raise. And I was recruited to go work there. And I it was a soul sucking job. It just it was just a job or they were always moving my cubicle to the worst one in the office wasn't really valued. The technology I was playing with was more about maintenance than it was moving forward. I didn't get to take advantage of cool new technologies. And, you know, so that was probably my biggest career move was I went and worked at a company that was a glacier, you know, the city. And I did it for the money. You know, I was 2122. That was my first you know, I think I was making 50 grand a year 45 grand a year. That was a pretty big deal in Minnesota. I thought I'd made it. I thought that was what the goal was. But it was really about a year and a half two year setback. So that was probably my biggest career mistake was seeing the dollar signs and leaving a company that I loved working for a startup to go work for the government. And I'm glad that I went back to a startup right after that, because that was a pretty pivotal in my life to work at that small startup and I'm glad that I did that. But yeah,
okay. So you have to have different values now. about how you assess an opportunity. Yeah,
I mean, I think my, the way I look at life right now is, is, if you, if you and this is so hard to communicate to people early in their careers and everything, if you do what you love, the money will follow. And if you do it long enough, more money will follow. It's not always about a pay raise or a new role or a new title. It's really about just making sure that you're there's something about what you're doing that gets you up every day or drives value to you that's maybe intangible. A good example would be when we're hiring consultants here. I buy us heavily on why they consult. Why don't you do this, and I won't hire them if I can't, in 15 minutes, and this might listen to his supplies here. Crap, I'm giving away the secret sauce. But if if you don't organically come to a conclusion in our interview, that that the reason you do this is because you love helping people be successful at technology or that you love helping the end user, then we won't hire you. I don't care how technical you are, I don't care how capable you are. If that isn't something that gets you up every morning, then you're not, you're not going to probably be successful here at least. But that Trent that that goes to anything you do, you know, you've got to love what you're doing, because you'll be doing it for a very long time for a very small amount of pay before some sort of inflection happens, where suddenly now, you're like, what happened? Right? Like, why are we so successful? Now? Why is this paying off? And so yeah, you got to have that, or else you won't get through the hard times, you won't get through the moments where it's not paying off? So that's my my career advice, I guess.
Okay, good. All right. So hopefully, something a little bit more positive. Can you tell us about your career highlights?
When I stopped consulting or when I left the consulting firm I was working out, I left out a passion. I left because I felt really at ends, I felt like the firm I was working for the company I was working for and they're gone now out of business. So I can say, not trying to, you know, throw anyone under the bus. But I felt like they were more interested in building their business. And they weren't delivering value to their clients. And when I left, because I just felt like it was working against the company, meaning that every effort I gave to 3x of the company, the company just felt like it just wasn't returning they didn't weren't interested in the same things I was interested in. So when I left, it was really, it was really rewarding to have all these clients reaching out to me. And these clients, were saying, Hey, where are you going, we're gonna follow you, etc. And this isn't uncommon in our early professional services company. But one of them was a successful investor that invested early and companies like Cisco and apple and whatnot. And I remember him and keep in mind now I'm a Midwestern, you know, 20, something year old, 25 year old wearing a tie in Silicon Valley, because I was a Midwestern thing. And everyone told me to stop wearing my tie. But I was just like, that's how we did it. If you worked downtown Minneapolis, you had to wear a tie and dress up and go through those things. And Silicon Valley didn't really, I kind of laughed at people like me, but you know, I was trying to be all professional and everything. And so I didn't really, I wasn't really who I am today, per se, I didn't really think of you know, the capabilities and what I would achieve. But I remember this investor coming up to me, and I'd seen him invest in such amazing companies. And he goes to me, he goes, Listen, Marcus, I invest in people, not companies, I invest in people. And I think that you would be wildly successful if you started your own consulting firm, with the principles and the approach that you've always delivered to us. And the funny thing is, is I didn't want to start this company. I wanted to go work at a Silicon Valley startup, I wanted the waterslides and the chefs and the bus to pick me up. I mean, that was the dream. If you're a 20, something in Silicon Valley, I don't want to be insulting company. I know how hard it is. I worked a lot and oh my god, it's one of the most brutal industries to start. And he said that to me in that night, I went home and, you know, I was like, man, well, if he believes in me, then I guess I have to believe in myself, I have to believe that what he's talking about is something that's actually there's potential here. And that next morning, I went on LegalZoom for 99 bucks, and I started what is now pliancy. So, you know, I think that was a to have somebody with that level of success and, and, and whatnot notoriety, say to me, and that's all he did, and give me money and invest. And he just said, I believe in you. And I think that was probably I look back at that moment a lot. And I'm glad that I listen to him. I'm glad I believed in him believing in me.
Indeed, absolutely. Yeah. Okay, so Marcus, can you tell us what excites you about the future of careers in it?
Oh, man, I mean, there's so it's so funny because if this was 10 years ago, Phil and we were talking about the careers in it, I mean, there was really just kind of two or three at that time right there was like networking and infrastructure which was kind of balled into one there was software development and then there was like it general it right now there's so many and I mean, you can't even keep up with all of them. But you know, so I'll just speak with regards to the one that I know best and that I've been passionate about which is really you know, general it and I like to read for them as really technologists, what excites me about the future of that role this technologist role is that I feel like we're seeing this shift year over year of the importance of the IT department, the corporate IT department in helping drive success for companies, I feel like we're, it's not that long before we're going to be at that leadership table sooner, meaning maybe when the company's 1015 20 people, we're going to be involved in decisions that are made, they're going to ask us to help us steward the use of technology to grow that business. And so for me, that's really exciting. Because I think that, you know, you become a really important individual early in the company, I would argue that, besides the science of whatever the company is doing whatever product they're building, or whatever, the next most important thing is, how do you use technology to further that, cause faster, whatever that might be. So, you know, that's kind of my, my thoughts on that is, I think that, you know, people that are generalists and technology will, will play a much bigger part much sooner, and companies and will have to learn leadership skills better. That's something I'm passionate about here is I really think that anyone that's getting into kind of a general technology role needs to be really focused on leadership skills, management skills, branding, marketing, all these weird, soft skills that you wouldn't normally attribute to a technology role, I think are going to become far more important because you're going to become more and more intertwined with the different departments in this company. You know, the marketing department might come to you and say, how do we connect this HubSpot to this thing and move the data between that it's a company of 510 15 people, you're gonna become the glue that moves the data and the collaboration between the different departments and helps identify emerging technical trends that these departments can leverage? And I wouldn't say that over the last 10 years, that hasn't always been the case. But I'm seeing it more and more and more. The companies we work with and support are oftentimes asking us, hey, what do you use for this? What do you use for that? That wasn't a question I got 10 years ago, nobody was coming to me and saying, Hey, Marcus, we're gonna tools would you use for effective meetings? 10 years ago? Yeah. So yeah, yeah. That's what I think of it, I think it's going to be a very important role over the next decade.
It is good. Okay, we're gonna go into the reveal round. Now we're gonna find out a little bit more about you and the way you think you're ready for this.
Are you ready? No, I'm just kidding. Yeah, I'm ready.
So what first attracted you to a career in IT?
I would, well, I'm an introvert. And I grew up, you know, kind of sitting in the basement building Legos, and you know, really just kind of being a little bit of a loner. And it was a creative. And so I remember, and I grew up, you know, relatively poor section eight housing, so I didn't have access to technology financially. But Black and Decker closed down in the local branch in Minneapolis, and my mom had been there 15 years. And the parting gift that they gave her and I think they intended for her to sell them is they gave her all of the 286 IBM's when they shut the office down, and I think they expected her to go sell these $2,000 machines on the marketplace, bring them to compu world, you know, make some money from that, but she didn't know how to do that. So she just gave them to me. And I love taking things apart and putting them together, I love Legos, etc. So that's immediately when I started doing, I started just taking these things apart and making them work and combining them. And, you know, that was kind of when I just really loved that once I got them working, there was like an endless portal to taking things apart and putting things together behind that screen. Meaning that there was very little capital outlay or cash or anything that it took for me to take something apart and put together with Legos, they were expensive, we had to buy them. You wanted to build a tree house, you had to get the tools and the wood and go, you know, but with a computer with programming language, you know, programming languages and games and things like that. And those you could spend hours, you know, days, weeks, you know, building things and taking them apart at no cost. And so I think that, that that was what kind of got me really, really passionate about it was I didn't have to leave the house. And I didn't have to have money to really start building meaningful, cool things. And of course, that's what transpired me building calculator games and, you know, building role playing games for my peers in middle school in high school that would be distributed, because I can make them without any money.
Yeah, yeah. Right. And what is the best career advice you've ever received?
Man? Never. I don't get a lot of advice. If I'm being honest. I get a lot of I get a lot of the opposite. You know, a lot of people will look at what I'm doing or what we've been building for many, many years and how I approach things and because it's a little bit contrarian, because it's a little bit different. I'm often met with advice that I wouldn't certainly wouldn't call advice. You know, it's, it's, well don't do that. That's not proven or no one's gonna No one's Gonna buy that or no one's gonna want Okta for a five person company, or, you know, just like, I've met, I've been met with more resistance than I've ever been met with advice, but as time good progress, and amazing people join this company, and they believed in the vision of what we're building, and, you know, I started getting, you know, advice in the sense of like, be authentic, you know, so really, I get the best advice from the amazing people we have here, which is, you know, Marcus, don't doubt yourself, you know, stay committed to your vision, you know, we've got your backing be authentic. And I would say, that's probably the best advice I get is that people just keep reminding me to be true to the mission and be authentic and don't waver. And when you have 129 people behind you doing that, it's, it's, it gets easier. You know, but it's really hard when you got five or six, and you're on Reddit anonymously, and you're like, I'm going to do this, or I'm going to build that and people just attack you, you know, you just get, you know, so being a contrarian is just in general difficult being being somebody that's trying to do something different is very, very difficult. So best advice ever, God is just do do it for an exceptionally long time and be authentic while you do it, and it will pay off in the long run.
Okay. And this might be a bit more difficult to answer, but what is the worst career advice you've ever received? And the
theme has always been like, do whatever else is doing? Why are you taking risks? Why are you taking risks, and of course, coming from a good Midwestern background and a more conservative, you know, financial background, family and others, you know, like, everyone was always telling me not to risk things, you know, don't move to California, don't do that, you know, and do this work at the big fortune 100 And just keep going up. So, you know, avoiding all of that cliche, I would say the actual worst advice that I ever got, is I called, you know, obviously, a lot of our clients are venture capital firms. So I have some great connections and mentors in those VC firms that have built some amazing companies. And I remember I called one that I really respected well, about three years ago. And I said, Listen, I won't say their name. I said, Listen, you know, the company is growing, you know, we're maybe, you know, three or four or $5 million in revenue or something. We're, like, 30 employees, I don't remember the numbers. Exactly. I really want to take this big, bold mission, like, vision, I want to take this to the moon, you know, I want to keep going, I want to really see how big we can make this. And they're like, Yeah, you're a professional services firm, you know, like you, you know, you're not a software company, you know, I would, you know, what I would do, I would take a company, I'd grown a little bit more than I'd sell it, take the money and do it again, you know, I got a friend that golf on the weekend, that's what he does, you know, every two to three years, he has built a company like yours, flips it for, you know, two 3x and then does it again, he's makes a lot of money, you know, he owns a golf course, he's got, you know, three houses and blah, blah. And I was like, well, thank you, I appreciate that, you know, like, appreciate the advice. So, you know, have a good weekend. And I went, and I was like, No, and this is somebody that's built some amazing companies. I mean, you interact with these companies on a daily basis. And, and I was just like, really, really defeated. Because, you know, I was just, I was like, I got this book. But this is a huge industry, there's hundreds of millions of people that need these types of services. I mean, this is, you know, I don't know what I'm doing is important to me. And I feel like it's important that people hear and to think of it as just some company had flipped for two to 3x. Every couple years, like, yeah, it was, it was hard, it was hard to hear. Because, you know, you take so much pride in your baby, you know, and you know, that they hear somebody kind of like, that's lunch, so many successful companies kind of be like, yeah, it's not that you know, what you're doing? Isn't that interesting? Or it's not going to be, you know, the next, you know, duo or the next doctor, you know, and it was I don't know, I didn't take that advice, obviously. But it was hard to hear, I was kind of expecting something different. I was expecting, no, what you've done is amazing. Keep at it, you know, like keep at a champ and just keep doing this for the next, you know, 510 years, you're going to be amazing, like, you guys are going to change this industry. That's what I want. I thought I was going to hear to hear the opposite was was really hard.
If you were to begin your career, again, in today's world, what would you do?
What would I do today? If I was just, you know, once again, I'm really going to focus on what I know best, which is Gen Y t, and, you know, IT leadership, corporate IT leadership, I would say, if I was to start this career again, today, I really wouldn't do anything different than I did, which is go in figure out, however you can get into a technical organization. I think that's critical. Meaning don't go and get that entry level job at at some fortune 100 or, you know, some 500 person mid market company where you're wanting a team of three running the technology or whatever for the company, but go find an organization whose sole existence is around technology, you know, that could be an MSP, that could be an IT consulting firm, that could be a technology, SAS startup, I mean, just make sure that whatever it is, you're surrounded by really amazing technical people, peers that are can mentor you. You know, I started obviously at a data center and then a start up and I talked about earlier I talked about choosing that government job well, I was one of two IT people there and that was my biggest mistake. But yeah, I would say, get into a company that's sole focus is technology, and get in anywhere you can and stay committed to that company for a long time. Excuse me, I got to redo that one. Yeah, I would say, get in early to, to technology company, and do whatever you can to just get that entry level job and learn the business, really understand what it is that they're doing, and how you can, you know, help introduce them to more technology to further that, and just spend as much time as you can understand the why of that company and what they're trying to do, and then just beat that drum. You know, I think that that, that that's how I would do it today, I would make sure that I'm surrounded by other technical folks that can mentor me and support me. And I'd make sure that whatever I'm doing, I'm actually passionate about, which I was, you know, I would say earlier in my career, I didn't, I wasn't able to identify what made me so passionate about technology. But once I did that really unlocked faster potential or more potential. And once I realized, I just love the application of technology to people, it just allowed me to focus my lens for what I was doing in a way that was much more efficient, you know? So, yeah,
good. Okay. And what career objectives are you currently focusing on?
Well, that's hard to say, you know, as the CEO and founder, there's really nowhere else to go in terms of role. But But so what you do when you get to that role, I mean, at least what I did, or what I'm doing is, I'm really just passionate about the progression of others. So when I'm at this role now, where I really measure my success, and is is are the people that are joining here, learning new things, are they being challenged are they developing as, as great technical leadership, is the company doing meaningful things for the industry, for others, is an after a bold mission. So that's kind of what I do nowadays. And I'm really like the steward of the culture and the talent here. And so that's I've been focusing a lot on on leadership and understanding markets and opportunities and making sure that I'm creating something that the people here can keep growing into, if I don't drive the company forward, if we don't go after bigger, bolder goals and things, and the people that are here will lose their opportunity. You know, if the company doesn't grow and go after bigger missions, then it becomes stagnant. And people that are invested lots of time here will have a harder time progressing, the whole company will slow down, which means you know, any company that's not growing, it's much more difficult to progress your career. And so my goal now is really just make sure that we keep being more ambitious. And we keep going after Bigger, bigger goals, so that the people that have put in so much work here and effort, are rewarded with more and more opportunity.
And what's the number one non technical skill that has helped you in your career so far?
I mean, communication, without a doubt, yeah, it just learning how to communicate more efficiently, how to listen better how to, you know, just really navigate the nuances of people, people are not machines, and you can say one thing to one and the same thing to another and have completely different outputs. So in order to actually change those outputs, you have to have more inputs, you have to spend more time understanding them, if you really want to get the same output. So I would say communication is really, really important, just understanding. And this is such a challenge for so many technical people, in my opinion, at least for my generation, which was they valued the tech over the people. And you know, they'll get really frustrated when people didn't understand this technology. Meanwhile, they spent 100 hours in their, you know, at home over the course of three months learning this technology, and they expect them to just be able to digest it in minutes, you know, we're in one meeting, you have to be patient, and you have to learn how to communicate, and you have to learn how to apply those technologies to the values of the other individuals that are receiving them, like how does it help them? What does it do for them? And so yeah, communication without a doubt, communication?
And what do you do to keep your own career energized?
I gotta, you gotta keep being uncomfortable. You know, you if if at any moment you feel like you've succeeded, you should be concerned, you should be worried. Because that means that you're not challenging yourself anymore. I want to make sure that every day that I wake up, I'm a little bit scared. I'm a little bit uncomfortable. We're going to do something today. That's bold. We're going to push ourselves, we're going to try something new is my first podcast, Phil. Yeah, I'm uncomfortable. I'm not gonna lie, right. The employees here said, Marquez, you know, we want you to get out there. And we want you to talk about what we're about and what we're passionate about, because we want more talent here and we want to grow. And I said, All right, I'll go on podcasts. Right. And so I'm being uncomfortable, frankly, right. So that's what I'm really looking for every day. I just need to make sure that I'm spending a fraction of my day and the more the merrier. Being uncomfortable and pushing myself learning new things. That's probably the most important thing no matter what career path you're on, no matter what industry you're in, just as humans You need to remain uncomfortable?
Yes. And what do you do in your spare time away from technology?
Man? You know, honestly, I have two dogs. I love the dog. Architecture, I'm really passionate about design, creative things aren't really into just things that are creative. It's a big outlet for mine. So, but I don't have a lot of time for that when you're growing at the rate that we are. And, you know, after something as bold as we are, you know, it's like, it's pretty consuming, but I love it. So it doesn't really it doesn't really, no, that is my hobby. So yeah, one day, one day, I hope to have a lake house in Minnesota and relax. It's probably going to be a decade from now, who knows. But for now, we're on a bold mission. And we got so much talent here that I'm just really dedicated to learning more and more about the industry and what we can do to keep furthering it. And I love it. Yeah.
Good. Okay. Marcus, can you share with us a parting piece of career advice,
I would say that, that there's two things that I've seen that are pretty common across everyone I know that loves what they do and is successful. The key is that both of those, they, you know, they do something for just an extraordinary long time that they love doing every day. And I like to think of it as buying a lottery ticket every day, you know, you just every day, if you just show up with your whole self, and you're passionate about what you're doing, there's going to be these moments where your you show up on the right day at the right time to capture an opportunity. You can't slack on those things you can't, you have to just everyday be prepared. Because opportunities are incredibly rare. You might have one one every five years as a company or an individual, you have to be ready that day, every day. That to me is you know, I think the most important advice I could give anyone that's trying to do anything, you know, substantial would be just every day to show up with your full self. Make sure that whatever you're doing you love, and be committed to a belief of yours, whatever that is, you want to change an industry and you think you can do it in a particular way be committed to that. And just, yeah, that's, that's my advice. Everyone I know there's Yeah, I never know that's been wildly successful is really done to those things. In both there have to be both because if you don't love what you're doing, there's going to be days where you get up and you don't show up. And that's gonna be the day you missed that opportunity. But you'll never know you missed it. It just you'll just go Why am I not catching that break? Right?
Good. And, Marcus, how can we find out more about you and connect with you,
you can just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org surpri. I would love to talk to people, anyone that's passionate about technology, passionate about their careers. I just love learning perspectives. I love hearing people on certainly earlier ones in their career. And you know, one of the challenges we're going to have as a company as we grow is that we have to keep getting more talent. And you know, labor shortages and talent shortages. And so if somebody is early in their career, and they're listening to this, and they're saying, Oh, well, that sounds like awesome. I want to do it. Marcus is talking about I want to be a part of that. Give me a call, you know or not call us or give me an email, you know, and we'll set up a call and we'll chat about it. You know, I really love learning those perspectives. And over the next several years, if we keep growing at this rate, we're going to have to start understanding how to reach those people and what we can do to get them into this industry and help them develop their skills. That's a big mission of ours, too, is figuring out how do we get more people in this industry? How do we get them passionate about this? So yeah, I'd love to hear from you.
Great. Marcus, thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today. It's been great chatting with you.
Yeah, you as well. Thanks for me, I'm Phil.
Hi, Phil here again. Well, I hope you enjoyed my conversation with today's guest. You can find full show notes on the website at IT career and adjuster.com/e and the number of the episode you've been listening to. If you haven't already subscribed to the show, please make sure that you do so do you get episodes automatically downloaded to your device every Monday. Thanks for listening and have a great week.
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