CEO at 8th Light
JuntoMentor: Designation (J5), AllSet Turnover (J6)
"It takes minutes to get to these important, core problems. I realized how much longer it takes me, outside of Junto, to get to that place."
What is your strength when it comes to emotional intelligence?
I am empathetic to what anyone is going through because I’ve been there. I have done most of the jobs on my way to CEO. I started as software engineer, went on to director of business development, was even in marketing for some time, finally general management and then CEO. Having done all of those is definitely the key to keeping me humble and empathetic.
How would you describe your areas of expertise based on industry, market, and/or function?
My expertise is in building great software teams and products. I was trained formally through apprenticeships in software engineering and building teams, and I’ve even taught software. In terms of market, I’ve worked a lot in financial services. As far as my function, I’ve mostly done engineering and strategy. I’ve been both a co-founder and someone that came in low in the company and took ownership of the entire company and changed the direction.
What is your superpower?
Systems thinking: breaking a complicated system into its parts.
What have you learned about yourself mentoring with Junto?
Interacting inside of this closed system has created so much openness, and even in the first meeting, we can all feel this open environment, and we dive into deep issues so quickly - it takes minutes to get to these important, core problems. I realized how much longer it takes me, outside of Junto, to get to that place.
What is something that’s not on your LinkedIn profile that you wish was?
I perform better with skin in the game. Anytime I’ve had my back up against the wall or the company’s back up against the wall, it adds another element of drive and motivation for me and I perform better with that added pressure.
What are you working on right now?
Building a blockchain consultancy firm.
What is one book, blog, or podcast you recommend widely?
Skin in the Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
Finish the following sentence: “In my experience, _________.”
Building something for the long term is more complicated and more satisfying than you would think.
What is your most memorable Junto moment?
The CEO who I mentored wanted to meet because he had this really strong existential question that could lead to life-changing things. But it turned out that we spent the entire hour over beers with him teaching me about marketing. The roles were reversed. I’m supposed to be this mentor guiding him through business and he just stepped up into teaching me something that I didn’t know.
What are 1-2 leadership virtues you’ve observed or learned in your career?
First and foremost, humility. Starting at the bottom of the totem pole and working your way up forces leaders to stay humble. Second, teamwork. One person can do an extraordinary amount, but at some point, you have to turn it over to your team if you want to ensure longevity.