Talmix consultant CJ understands what it is that makes innovation work in the commercial world. Before discovering the new world of work and how he could bring value to it, he delved into academia, engineering and product management. The narrative of CJ’s 25 year professional career is a play in 3 acts.
Act 1: Learning a technical trade
After finishing his undergraduate degree at Cornell, CJ spent 5 years turning himself from a literature major into a technical person. He learned to write code and build systems as an applications architect - writing in SQL and Visual Basic, the building blocks of client-server architecture that underpinned the technology world’s move away from mainframe-oriented technology. The company he was with put him in control of managing the business unit that produced a third of its revenue and while there, he helped it grow from 30 to 300 employees. However, at some point it dawned on him that while he had been learning so much on the job, he didn’t have a well-rounded grasp of running a business. So he decided to go and do an MBA at London Business School.
Act 2: From product manager to business developer
CJ completed his MBA and made the transition from a hands-on, architect making decisions on technology, to a product manager. In the technology arena this meant working alongside the engineering and CTO team to put together the requirements to get initial product market fit and build a minimum viable product. “I was doing all of the things you hear about today in the startup world. I spent ten years, from the time I finished my MBA until 2011, doing that.”
Having done all he wanted to do in product management he realised that he had something special - he could talk tech, do tech and understand how to make tech fit into a market. This made him an ideal candidate for business development and leadership. Alongside this realisation he had noticed that the world of work had started to change. He took a position at Silver Spring Networks in Silicon Valley where his expertise in the Internet of Things began to thrive.
He spent four years there, helped them go through their IPO, and at that time was leading the product line of responsible for the vast majority of revenue in the company. At the end of that project the CEO tapped him on the shoulder and congratulated him on a job well done, but said that he really saw CJ growing as a business developer and entrepreneur. Following this suggestion CJ took up a position starting a new line of business for the company, which was in the smart city space. Getting that business off the ground was a harbinger of the more entrepreneurial mindset he’d start to build in his career portfolio.
Act 3: Independent innovator
In 2013 CJ began taking independent engagements, such as the year long project he won through Talmix, where he helped a client get a smart street infrastructure project going in 10 countries. And an initiative where he was working with a Canadian energy services company to plan and execute the strategy to turn their street infrastructure into a canopy for smart city applications. He also worked with a couple of startups where he was able to advise the management teams on their various PMF or MVP early stage ventures. “I’m in this place where in this 3rd act I’m looking for new and interesting challenges where I can leverage all of the experiences from Act 1 and 2 to add value and help companies move faster, because the world isn’t slowing down.”
CJ’s specialism in energy started at Siebel Systems where he was the product lead for an energy product that was bought by Oracle’s utilities business. He has been involved in the energy sector ever since, working under different regulatory and competitive conditions - the US, Australia, Europe and the deregulated markets of the UK and New Zealand. For CJ his expertise is in understanding the dynamics of utility in various geographies and seeing the business imperative behind it.
Does your company need to innovate to compete in a new world? When you need a specialist come to Talmix. There are 30,000 independent consultants available on demand, and over 500 have worked in the energy sector with a specialism in IoT. Tell us about your challenges and we’ll match you with the best consultants out there.
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