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Technological Expertise and Interpersonal Skills: Keys to Success of IT Entrepreneur

Joseph Leo, President, Def Method
Joseph Leo, President, Def Method

Joseph Leo, President, Def Method

Realizing the Value of New Technologies

We are using cloud technologies every day and have been for years. Cloud computing is the most responsible way forward for the most existing companies and the most efficient way forward for startups. By embracing Amazon Web Services and Heroku, we use cloud computing to deliver infrastructural solutions to our customers. In a more indirect way, cloud computing supports our GitHub repositories, our internal operations (using Google Drive), and many other aspects of our business.

Big data is a game-changer and we spend a considerable amount of time investing in tools and solutions for managing, transforming, and disseminating big data. To the extent it can revolutionize the industry, it depends on the creative ingenuity of the stakeholders. At Def Method, we are currently working on breaking down and transforming billions and billions of latitude and longitude data for a customer. We can provide more accurate calculations using this data, making it the most sophisticated calculator of its kind. Years ago, this would not have been possible, and until a few years ago it would not have been practical or affordable. Now it is all of those things, and it is up to the people interested in this data to push engineers to take it to the next level.

  Most employees love the opportunity to take your requirements and fit them around their idea of how to meet them 

Companies with user-facing products should be looking toward new web application-changing technologies such as Rust and Elixir. These technologies build on the same kinds of principles that made Ruby on Rails so popular-usability, ease of prototyping, community support-and add cutting edge advancements that allow for low-latency programming, out-of-the-box concurrency, and ultimately, a better end-product for the user.

Innovation at the Core

Nothing is more important to innovation than bringing together a diverse set of minds focused on a common goal. Thus, the biggest step any IT organization can take to foster innovation is to become a more diverse company. This is one of Def Method’s core values, and we work every day toward our goals of diversity, inclusion, and respect. Companies that embrace diversity in a meaningful way will find a wide range of human experience throughout their workforce. Coupled with mutual respect, these experiences can flow freely, generate new ideas and new ways of thinking.

Lessons to Share

One of the biggest lessons I have learned as an entrepreneur and a technology leader at Def Method is to empower those around me. If you have hired well, you trust those people to execute. But you must also trust them to think creatively about their jobs and allow them to put their personal stamp on it. Most employees love the opportunity to take your requirements and fit them around their idea of how to meet them. Let them try. Trust them!

Another lesson I learned is to let my opinion be heard and allow it to be overruled. I will bring up a policy that has been accepted long ago as “business-as-usual” and ask people what they really think of it today. Can it be changed? Is it still worth pursuing? Sometimes I will even set up a straw man argument with the intention of having it deconstructed. I take my employees’ suggestions seriously and make sure they are heard. The most important thing is to empower your employees to make the best business possible and listen carefully when they give you their ideas.

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