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Reinventing Nerds

Joanie Connell

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Reinventing Nerds

Reinventing Nerds

Joanie Connell

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People Strategies for Technical People

Latest Episodes

Sanjiv Prabhakaran: Culture, Contribution, and Leadership

Sanjiv Prabhakaran is a senior executive and entrepreneur with over 30 years of software development management and technical architecture experience in mobile and web applications for a wide variety of applications and industries. In early 2002, he founded Bytes, Inc. to provide low cost and rapid software outsourcing and project management services. Sanjiv talks about so many things in this episode, ranging from transitioning from coder to leader, leading cross-cultural teams, managing internal politics, and making a difference in the world. You won’t want to miss this episode. Highlights: Q: What do you do as CEO of Bytes and how did you get there? “I wear multiple hats, but my primary role is developing the business. I spent a lot of my time in the Bay Area before 2000. I worked at 3-4 companies. I wrote code and climbed up the ladder and managed small teams developing systems for clients. It was fun in those days.” “There came a time when I was looking to go further and be independent. In 2000, I found a nice opportunity here in San Diego and that’s how we came down. This was as a VP of Engineering and R&D for a small software company dealing with real estate. That’s how I happened to lead a team of 20-30 engineers to make cool stuff.” Q: What was the transition like from being a coder to managing teams? “That was fun! As a coder you’re working with a team, listening to your bosses, and obviously providing input based on your experience. You always had a fixed goal and knew what you were trying to accomplish. But when you’re getting into more responsible roles, the thing that you run across is team culture. How do you integrate—especially when you have teams from different regions and different countries—and have a cohesive culture at the end? I had teams from the US and India and there were cultural differences… Understanding the cultural differences takes time.” “It was a fun experience. It helped me grow into a role where I started realizing how to be patient with people, how to understand differences in how people communicate, and how to to build a team spirit.” To hear how Sanjiv manages cultural differences between the US and India, handles internal politics among leaders, builds trust in the leadership team, and leads his teams to improve efficiency for their customers, listen to the episode. Q: I see that you help physically challenged individuals with job opportunities within Bytes and other companies. How do you do that? “Yes, this was an interesting project that started few years ago. A family friend in India mentioned this young 20-year old kid that had an unfortunate train accident and hit his head and became a quadriplegic with no movement below his neck. He was bed-ridden but full of joy and motivation to live a full life! He found a way to use his voice as a powerful tool to command his computer into doing all kinds of tasks. He was able to use his voice to control the files and keyboard so he could type out documents and do various web development tasks on the computer. He had a couple clients in the UK and USA for whom he did basic tasks of updating web pages and creating shopping cart sites on eBay, etc.” “I then visited him on one of my India trips and was able to see how he manipulated the computer via his voice. It was just mind-boggling to see how his injuries had no impact on his mind and heart. So, I hired him to do some of my web and Excel tasks. He later created a tutoring class in his home to help young kids that wanted to learn about computers and web programming.” To hear other ways Sanjiv contributes to society and to get ideas of how you can contribute, listen to the episode. Words of Wisdom: Sometimes a nod is a shake and a shake is a nod. I had to learn patience to lead a team. Having trust between team members is crucial.

35 MIN2019 DEC 11
Comments
Sanjiv Prabhakaran: Culture, Contribution, and Leadership

Sean Ferrel: Growing a People-Oriented Company

Sean Ferrel founded Managed Solution in 2002. They provide consultative IT services for small-to-medium and enterprise clients. Sean tells his story of literally growing the company from his living room to a flourishing downtown San Diego enterprise. Hint: it starts with, “I was going to be a lawyer…” Within 3 years, the company was recognized as one of San Diego’s 40 fastest growing companies, awarded one of the 40 companies with owners under 40 years old and recognized as the 27th fastest growing IT company in Southern California. His secret sauce? Keeping it people first. Highlights: Q: How did you come to found Managed Solution? “When I got out of school, I realized what I loved was people. If I applied my people skills, I could take into any business, but what did I do in college? I really got into the tech thing. Tech was really interesting at that time, around 2002, and I started Managed Solution. To be honest, I hadn’t done anything else. We started with the idea of le...

29 MIN2019 NOV 30
Comments
Sean Ferrel: Growing a People-Oriented Company

Will Marshall: Improving Your Relationship with Your Lawyer

Will Marshall is a co-founder and partner of UBM Law Group. He drafts and negotiates commercial contracts, especially SaaS and traditional software licensing agreements and takes care of all sorts of legal things that come up for businesses. He is also especially knowledgeable in issues that come up with small businesses and startups. If you are avoiding talking to your lawyer, have ever had a bad experience with a lawyer, or are curious about the issues that can come up when technical people deal with lawyers, listen to the episode. Will gives tips for technical people on how to communicate with lawyers and save money by doing so. Highlights: Q: Tell us your story of how you came to work with tech companies. “I had an unusual career where I started as a General Counsel of a company—so I did the whole startup thing—and then I went into private practice, for about the last 10 years or so. Usually, it’s the reverse. That’s important because I learned to be a lawyer in a business ...

32 MIN2019 OCT 9
Comments
Will Marshall: Improving Your Relationship with Your Lawyer

Burt De Mill: When Technical People Do Business

Burt De Mill is the President of BDM Consulting, a San Diego based consulting firm that works with small and medium sized companies who are in the biotechnology tools and clinical diagnostics spaces. Burt helps companies define their products and markets, conduct new market research, and launch products. Burt talks about the challenges scientists encounter when they interface with the business world. Highlights: Q: Burt, you are a scientist by training. How did you move into business? “I wanted to be a doctor. I was the kid who wanted the chemistry set and microscope for Christmas. I was a chemistry and biology major at the University of Maryland. Then I applied to medical school and didn’t get in.” “While I kept trying, I worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital doing cancer research. I was working with a very prestigious physician, Dr. Philip Burke, who said to me after I gave a presentation, ‘Burt, good job, but I noticed you had more fun doing the presentation than doing the work....

27 MIN2019 SEP 7
Comments
Burt De Mill: When Technical People Do Business

Adam Cuppy: Building Confidence in your Soft Skills

Adam Cuppy is the Chief Operating Officer at Zeal, a web and mobile apps development company. He is also an actor. He helps Zeal focus on how process drives success. He says he has “no idea” of what he does. Already, you can tell this is an entertaining episode. Really what he focuses on is business development, evangelism, speaking nationally and internationally on confidence and process-driven team development and how to apply the soft side of life into the highly technical side of life. Highlights: Q: As an actor, what draws you to high tech? “I went to college for acting and worked for a large regional theater company in a small town in Oregon, called the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. While I was there, I learned a lot about general human psychology. As an actor, your job is about simulating and replicating the responses and reactions that a fictitious human being would have in a given situation. You learn a lot about the human physicality and the general patterns they follow ...

37 MIN2019 JUL 27
Comments
Adam Cuppy: Building Confidence in your Soft Skills

Gina Stetsko: Becoming a Compassionate Leader

Joanie has a conversation with Gina Stetsko, Vice President of Manufacturing at Eupraxia Pharmaceuticals in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Gina has a been a leader in Pharmaceuticals for over 35 years and she’s held other executive positions in the pharmaceutical industry including: Vice President of Product Development, Vice President of Operations, and Chief Scientific Officer. Highlights: Q: How did you get into pharmaceutical development? “As a child, believe it or not, I used to read encyclopedias. Luckily, they were scientific Encyclopedias. I chose Pharmacy because I was interested in how you could swallow a drug and then it would affect your headache or something else in your body. I no idea! As a child, you want to know those answers.” “I stuck to it and became a pharmacist and I got my license and decided that I could do more, and my boss told me, ‘Go back to school. You can do more than this.’ So, I got my PhD in pharmaceutical development and I’ve spent the l...

34 MIN2019 JUN 3
Comments
Gina Stetsko: Becoming a Compassionate Leader

Meetesh Karia: Advantages of Diverse Teams

Joanie interviews Meetesh Karia, CTO of The Zebra, the nation’s leading insurance search engine. Meetesh’s interest in computers goes back to childhood. He taught himself several programming languages back in the 80s when he was a kid and played on his dad’s 8086 computer. He studied computer science and math and minored in psychology in college. Meetesh is first generation Indian American and he grew up understanding and valuing what diverse teams bring to the table. We talk about how to recruit, hire, and manage diverse people, the unexpected benefits and challenges of diversifying, how to manage people remotely, and how Meetesh grew from managing a handful of people to over a hundred. Highlights: Q: Why and how do diverse teams help? “Let me start by illustrating it with a story. In early days at The Zebra, when we were designing our first release and we were designing the thing we thought we wanted to use. We built it and released it. What we learned through that was that 40...

35 MIN2019 MAY 23
Comments
Meetesh Karia: Advantages of Diverse Teams

Vladimir Baranov: Startup Stressors for CTOs

Joanie interviews Vladimir Baronov, who is a Founder and the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of AdvisorEngine. They build powerful and intuitive technology for financial advisors. Vladimir oversees the company’s software development and technological operations. He has nearly 15 years of experience designing and building successful technology solutions. Vladimir shares keen insights on the stressors that arise for CTOs and others in startups and how to manage them. We also dive into overwork, how to talk about it, and how to maintain your health in a startup environment, and how to prevent burnout. Highlights: Q: What does a CTO (Chief Technology Officer) do? “The CTO role is very differently implemented depending on the organization, but generally you’ll see a mix of technology strategy, software development practice, with the infrastructure, internal applications, data compliance and security. Sometimes it’s shared with a CIO.” Q: What does a CTO do differently at a startup? ...

32 MIN2019 MAY 13
Comments
Vladimir Baranov: Startup Stressors for CTOs

Alex Balazs: The Benefits of Inclusive Leadership

Joanie interviews Alex Balazs, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect at Intuit. Alex shares the story of his transformation from being a quiet engineer to becoming a communicative leader. He also shares his insights on inclusion and describes how he is supportive of women in tech. Being inclusive is key for Alex and he shares why. He is also on the Board of Lead Inclusively, Inc., a company that helps companies be more inclusive. We cover a lot in this episode, so be sure to listen to the end. Highlights: Q: Tell us the story of how you came to work at Intuit. “I was born in Ohio and was raised in the Midwest. I always had this feeling that I needed to expand my horizons. Post graduate, I moved to Northern California and worked for Carl Zeiss. My first professional program language was Assembly. I went to work for a startup in Boston and it didn’t work out, but a mentor from Carl Zeiss had just bought a small startup called Intuit and invited me to interview. I started at Intu...

33 MIN2019 MAY 3
Comments
Alex Balazs: The Benefits of Inclusive Leadership

Lisa Kaczmarczyk: People Issues in Project Evaluations

Dr. Lisa Kaczmarczyk is an award-winning computer science researcher, educator and book author. She provides independent evaluation services for academia and the hi-tech industry. These evaluations are used as evidence of project viability to secure funding from grant agencies and investors. Her clients have included Google, Stanford University, the University of Illinois, Purdue University, California State University and the Broward County Florida Public Schools. Dr. Kaczmarczyk is also an Adjunct Faculty in the Computer Science Department at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont California. Dr. Kaczmarczyk holds advanced degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Oregon, Northeastern University and Tufts University. Dr. Kaczmarczyk was lead author on the 2014 ACM Education Policy Committee report “Rebooting the Pathway to Success: Preparing Students for Computing Workforce Needs in the United States” and is author of the book “Computers and Society, Computing...

-1 s2019 APR 23
Comments
Lisa Kaczmarczyk: People Issues in Project Evaluations
the END

Latest Episodes

Sanjiv Prabhakaran: Culture, Contribution, and Leadership

Sanjiv Prabhakaran is a senior executive and entrepreneur with over 30 years of software development management and technical architecture experience in mobile and web applications for a wide variety of applications and industries. In early 2002, he founded Bytes, Inc. to provide low cost and rapid software outsourcing and project management services. Sanjiv talks about so many things in this episode, ranging from transitioning from coder to leader, leading cross-cultural teams, managing internal politics, and making a difference in the world. You won’t want to miss this episode. Highlights: Q: What do you do as CEO of Bytes and how did you get there? “I wear multiple hats, but my primary role is developing the business. I spent a lot of my time in the Bay Area before 2000. I worked at 3-4 companies. I wrote code and climbed up the ladder and managed small teams developing systems for clients. It was fun in those days.” “There came a time when I was looking to go further and be independent. In 2000, I found a nice opportunity here in San Diego and that’s how we came down. This was as a VP of Engineering and R&D for a small software company dealing with real estate. That’s how I happened to lead a team of 20-30 engineers to make cool stuff.” Q: What was the transition like from being a coder to managing teams? “That was fun! As a coder you’re working with a team, listening to your bosses, and obviously providing input based on your experience. You always had a fixed goal and knew what you were trying to accomplish. But when you’re getting into more responsible roles, the thing that you run across is team culture. How do you integrate—especially when you have teams from different regions and different countries—and have a cohesive culture at the end? I had teams from the US and India and there were cultural differences… Understanding the cultural differences takes time.” “It was a fun experience. It helped me grow into a role where I started realizing how to be patient with people, how to understand differences in how people communicate, and how to to build a team spirit.” To hear how Sanjiv manages cultural differences between the US and India, handles internal politics among leaders, builds trust in the leadership team, and leads his teams to improve efficiency for their customers, listen to the episode. Q: I see that you help physically challenged individuals with job opportunities within Bytes and other companies. How do you do that? “Yes, this was an interesting project that started few years ago. A family friend in India mentioned this young 20-year old kid that had an unfortunate train accident and hit his head and became a quadriplegic with no movement below his neck. He was bed-ridden but full of joy and motivation to live a full life! He found a way to use his voice as a powerful tool to command his computer into doing all kinds of tasks. He was able to use his voice to control the files and keyboard so he could type out documents and do various web development tasks on the computer. He had a couple clients in the UK and USA for whom he did basic tasks of updating web pages and creating shopping cart sites on eBay, etc.” “I then visited him on one of my India trips and was able to see how he manipulated the computer via his voice. It was just mind-boggling to see how his injuries had no impact on his mind and heart. So, I hired him to do some of my web and Excel tasks. He later created a tutoring class in his home to help young kids that wanted to learn about computers and web programming.” To hear other ways Sanjiv contributes to society and to get ideas of how you can contribute, listen to the episode. Words of Wisdom: Sometimes a nod is a shake and a shake is a nod. I had to learn patience to lead a team. Having trust between team members is crucial.

35 MIN2019 DEC 11
Comments
Sanjiv Prabhakaran: Culture, Contribution, and Leadership

Sean Ferrel: Growing a People-Oriented Company

Sean Ferrel founded Managed Solution in 2002. They provide consultative IT services for small-to-medium and enterprise clients. Sean tells his story of literally growing the company from his living room to a flourishing downtown San Diego enterprise. Hint: it starts with, “I was going to be a lawyer…” Within 3 years, the company was recognized as one of San Diego’s 40 fastest growing companies, awarded one of the 40 companies with owners under 40 years old and recognized as the 27th fastest growing IT company in Southern California. His secret sauce? Keeping it people first. Highlights: Q: How did you come to found Managed Solution? “When I got out of school, I realized what I loved was people. If I applied my people skills, I could take into any business, but what did I do in college? I really got into the tech thing. Tech was really interesting at that time, around 2002, and I started Managed Solution. To be honest, I hadn’t done anything else. We started with the idea of le...

29 MIN2019 NOV 30
Comments
Sean Ferrel: Growing a People-Oriented Company

Will Marshall: Improving Your Relationship with Your Lawyer

Will Marshall is a co-founder and partner of UBM Law Group. He drafts and negotiates commercial contracts, especially SaaS and traditional software licensing agreements and takes care of all sorts of legal things that come up for businesses. He is also especially knowledgeable in issues that come up with small businesses and startups. If you are avoiding talking to your lawyer, have ever had a bad experience with a lawyer, or are curious about the issues that can come up when technical people deal with lawyers, listen to the episode. Will gives tips for technical people on how to communicate with lawyers and save money by doing so. Highlights: Q: Tell us your story of how you came to work with tech companies. “I had an unusual career where I started as a General Counsel of a company—so I did the whole startup thing—and then I went into private practice, for about the last 10 years or so. Usually, it’s the reverse. That’s important because I learned to be a lawyer in a business ...

32 MIN2019 OCT 9
Comments
Will Marshall: Improving Your Relationship with Your Lawyer

Burt De Mill: When Technical People Do Business

Burt De Mill is the President of BDM Consulting, a San Diego based consulting firm that works with small and medium sized companies who are in the biotechnology tools and clinical diagnostics spaces. Burt helps companies define their products and markets, conduct new market research, and launch products. Burt talks about the challenges scientists encounter when they interface with the business world. Highlights: Q: Burt, you are a scientist by training. How did you move into business? “I wanted to be a doctor. I was the kid who wanted the chemistry set and microscope for Christmas. I was a chemistry and biology major at the University of Maryland. Then I applied to medical school and didn’t get in.” “While I kept trying, I worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital doing cancer research. I was working with a very prestigious physician, Dr. Philip Burke, who said to me after I gave a presentation, ‘Burt, good job, but I noticed you had more fun doing the presentation than doing the work....

27 MIN2019 SEP 7
Comments
Burt De Mill: When Technical People Do Business

Adam Cuppy: Building Confidence in your Soft Skills

Adam Cuppy is the Chief Operating Officer at Zeal, a web and mobile apps development company. He is also an actor. He helps Zeal focus on how process drives success. He says he has “no idea” of what he does. Already, you can tell this is an entertaining episode. Really what he focuses on is business development, evangelism, speaking nationally and internationally on confidence and process-driven team development and how to apply the soft side of life into the highly technical side of life. Highlights: Q: As an actor, what draws you to high tech? “I went to college for acting and worked for a large regional theater company in a small town in Oregon, called the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. While I was there, I learned a lot about general human psychology. As an actor, your job is about simulating and replicating the responses and reactions that a fictitious human being would have in a given situation. You learn a lot about the human physicality and the general patterns they follow ...

37 MIN2019 JUL 27
Comments
Adam Cuppy: Building Confidence in your Soft Skills

Gina Stetsko: Becoming a Compassionate Leader

Joanie has a conversation with Gina Stetsko, Vice President of Manufacturing at Eupraxia Pharmaceuticals in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Gina has a been a leader in Pharmaceuticals for over 35 years and she’s held other executive positions in the pharmaceutical industry including: Vice President of Product Development, Vice President of Operations, and Chief Scientific Officer. Highlights: Q: How did you get into pharmaceutical development? “As a child, believe it or not, I used to read encyclopedias. Luckily, they were scientific Encyclopedias. I chose Pharmacy because I was interested in how you could swallow a drug and then it would affect your headache or something else in your body. I no idea! As a child, you want to know those answers.” “I stuck to it and became a pharmacist and I got my license and decided that I could do more, and my boss told me, ‘Go back to school. You can do more than this.’ So, I got my PhD in pharmaceutical development and I’ve spent the l...

34 MIN2019 JUN 3
Comments
Gina Stetsko: Becoming a Compassionate Leader

Meetesh Karia: Advantages of Diverse Teams

Joanie interviews Meetesh Karia, CTO of The Zebra, the nation’s leading insurance search engine. Meetesh’s interest in computers goes back to childhood. He taught himself several programming languages back in the 80s when he was a kid and played on his dad’s 8086 computer. He studied computer science and math and minored in psychology in college. Meetesh is first generation Indian American and he grew up understanding and valuing what diverse teams bring to the table. We talk about how to recruit, hire, and manage diverse people, the unexpected benefits and challenges of diversifying, how to manage people remotely, and how Meetesh grew from managing a handful of people to over a hundred. Highlights: Q: Why and how do diverse teams help? “Let me start by illustrating it with a story. In early days at The Zebra, when we were designing our first release and we were designing the thing we thought we wanted to use. We built it and released it. What we learned through that was that 40...

35 MIN2019 MAY 23
Comments
Meetesh Karia: Advantages of Diverse Teams

Vladimir Baranov: Startup Stressors for CTOs

Joanie interviews Vladimir Baronov, who is a Founder and the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of AdvisorEngine. They build powerful and intuitive technology for financial advisors. Vladimir oversees the company’s software development and technological operations. He has nearly 15 years of experience designing and building successful technology solutions. Vladimir shares keen insights on the stressors that arise for CTOs and others in startups and how to manage them. We also dive into overwork, how to talk about it, and how to maintain your health in a startup environment, and how to prevent burnout. Highlights: Q: What does a CTO (Chief Technology Officer) do? “The CTO role is very differently implemented depending on the organization, but generally you’ll see a mix of technology strategy, software development practice, with the infrastructure, internal applications, data compliance and security. Sometimes it’s shared with a CIO.” Q: What does a CTO do differently at a startup? ...

32 MIN2019 MAY 13
Comments
Vladimir Baranov: Startup Stressors for CTOs

Alex Balazs: The Benefits of Inclusive Leadership

Joanie interviews Alex Balazs, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect at Intuit. Alex shares the story of his transformation from being a quiet engineer to becoming a communicative leader. He also shares his insights on inclusion and describes how he is supportive of women in tech. Being inclusive is key for Alex and he shares why. He is also on the Board of Lead Inclusively, Inc., a company that helps companies be more inclusive. We cover a lot in this episode, so be sure to listen to the end. Highlights: Q: Tell us the story of how you came to work at Intuit. “I was born in Ohio and was raised in the Midwest. I always had this feeling that I needed to expand my horizons. Post graduate, I moved to Northern California and worked for Carl Zeiss. My first professional program language was Assembly. I went to work for a startup in Boston and it didn’t work out, but a mentor from Carl Zeiss had just bought a small startup called Intuit and invited me to interview. I started at Intu...

33 MIN2019 MAY 3
Comments
Alex Balazs: The Benefits of Inclusive Leadership

Lisa Kaczmarczyk: People Issues in Project Evaluations

Dr. Lisa Kaczmarczyk is an award-winning computer science researcher, educator and book author. She provides independent evaluation services for academia and the hi-tech industry. These evaluations are used as evidence of project viability to secure funding from grant agencies and investors. Her clients have included Google, Stanford University, the University of Illinois, Purdue University, California State University and the Broward County Florida Public Schools. Dr. Kaczmarczyk is also an Adjunct Faculty in the Computer Science Department at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont California. Dr. Kaczmarczyk holds advanced degrees from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Oregon, Northeastern University and Tufts University. Dr. Kaczmarczyk was lead author on the 2014 ACM Education Policy Committee report “Rebooting the Pathway to Success: Preparing Students for Computing Workforce Needs in the United States” and is author of the book “Computers and Society, Computing...

-1 s2019 APR 23
Comments
Lisa Kaczmarczyk: People Issues in Project Evaluations
the END
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