Tag Archives: tech leadership

Pat Cullen: Leading Through Growth



Pat Cullen is the VP of Engineering at Carrot Fertility, the leading global fertility healthcare and family-forming benefits provider for employers and health plans. Pat oversees and directs Carrot’s information security, data, and engineering teams. He has more than a decade of experience as a technologist & thought-leader who builds effective teams by driving engineering best practices, empowering developer productivity, and promoting deliverable alignment. Pat discusses leading through growth, how his business background helped him, and his specific approaches to leading tech teams.

Highlights:

Q: Tell us about your background and how getting an MBA helped you in the field of software development.

Pat says he had an MBA planned from the start, from when he was a junior in high school. He describes how participating in team sports and activities helped him see how important it was to learn to learn more about leading teams. Having a business background helped him as a software developer know more about the big picture and as a manager better understand where other functional teams were coming from.

Q: What leadership challenges have you faced as Carrot grew from a startup to a midsize company?

Pat explains how having managed growing departments at larger companies gave him experience with growth. He also describes how he had to learn how to let go of control and how to help others become more comfortable with change and uncertainty. Pat brings in specific tech and business examples to illustrate his points.

Q: What is good about slime mold?

Pat describes how focusing on outcomes as opposed to outputs can lead to more innovative solutions and how slime mold does that organically. It’s a great story of letting your team overcome barriers, make mistakes, and generate powerful solutions.

Listen to the episode to also hear Pat talk about his experience in larger companies, dealing with layoffs, building feedback loops, and more.

Words of Wisdom:

Come to every situation prepared with two to three possible outcomes.

Stop the meeting five minutes early and rate the meeting around the room.

Give little “f” feedback not big “F” feedback.

Contact Pat Cullen:

Happy to chat with whoever whenever, here’s my Calendly: https://calendly.com/pat-carrot/coffee-chat

The simplest way to connect with me is LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/%F0%9F%A5%95-pat-cullen-b3295b29


Steve Hoffman: People Skills for Founders



Joanie has a conversation with Steve Hoffman, CEO of Founders Space, one of the world’s leading startup accelerators. Steve has trained hundreds of startup founders and corporate executives in the art of innovation and provided consulting to many of the world’s largest corporations, including Qualcomm, Huawei, Bosch, Intel, Disney, Warner Brothers, NBC, Gulf Oil, Siemens, and Viacom. Steve is also a venture investor, serial entrepreneur, and author of several award-winning books, including “Surviving a Startup” published by HarperCollins. Steve has also worked in the television and gaming industries and has some great tips and stories to share.

Highlights:

Q: Steve, you’re known as Captain Hoff in the gaming world. Tell us about your work in the television and gaming industries, as well as what games you play.

Steve is known in Silicon Valley as Captain Hoff because he’s a game player and designer.  He started out playing Dungeons and Dragons, RuneQuest, and almost any board game you can think of, as well as video games of all kinds.  He worked for Sega on Sonic the Hedgehog, and eventually started a company and created the award-winning strategy game, Gazillionaire, and many other games that are still available on Steam.

Q: What skills did you have learned along the way to expand your ability from developing to lead teams and companies?  How did you learn to manage people?

Steve learned the hard way.  He was an introvert and extremely shy.  Even though Steve comes across as an extrovert now, he said it was all trained.  He said he started out being really bad at presenting, interviewing, making sales pitches, and so on, but just did it.  He said the way he learned was to notice every time what worked and what didn’t and never do the same thing twice.

He learned how to go from telling people what to do to asking them what they think they should do, what problems they are facing, and what they need.

Listen to the podcast to hear how Steve came to start Founders Space, what some of the most common challenges he see tech startup founders running into, and what kinds of barriers technical founders create for themselves.

Shout Out:

Steve’s book called Surviving a Startup: Practical Strategies for Starting a Business, Overcoming Obstacles, and Coming Out on Top.

Words of Wisdom:

The only way to meet a challenge is head on.

Don’t sell people on what you’re doing; figure out what they want.

You cannot motivate people by standing over their shoulders and nitpicking them.

Get people on board by asking them what they should be doing.

Instead of convincing yourself that you’re the best, ask yourself “how can I be better?”

Contact Steve Hoffman (Captain Hoff):

Founders Space: https://FoundersSpace.com
Books: https://FoundersSpace.com/books
Podcast: https://www.CaptainHoff.com/
Facebook: https://Facebook.com/groups/FoundersSpace
LinkedIn: https://LinkedIn.com/in/FoundersSpace/
Instagram: https://Instagram.com/FoundersSpace/
Twitter: https://Twitter.com/FoundersSpace/


Lydia Chiu: The Importance of Communication in Web Design



Joanie interviews Lydia Chiu, a partner at Jub Jub Interactive.  Jub Jub is a web application development company based in Orange County, CA.  Lydia has over 15 years of programming and web development experience.  She has a deep understanding of content management systems and enterprise application development.  Listen to the episode to hear Lydia’s stories on how she became a web developer, how she developed as a leader and how communication has been core to her success.

Highlights:

Q: How did you develop an interest in web design and become a partner at Jub Jub?

It’s not the typical story and it involves an interesting pivot and an unusual partnership.

Q: What challenges did you run into early on as a team lead and how did you overcome them?

It included a feeling of imposter syndrome, a lot of learning, and good communication skills.

Q: How have you evolved as a leader over the years, for example as a partner at Jub Jub?

Learning how to groom new leaders and employees who could interact effectively with clients.

Q: How do you understand your clients’ businesses and needs and what skills did you have to develop to get better at that?

Lydia’s early work in customer service while in high school was an important experience for her to develop communication skills and comfort in delivering bad news.  Delegating is an ongoing challenge.

Q: There aren’t many women who do what you do.  What has been your experience as a woman in the field of software development?

Lydia has had great female role models but has also encountered some unfortunate situations with clients who respond to her differently than her male counterparts.  Listen to the podcast to hear her stories.

Words of Wisdom:

Mom was always right.

No matter what you’re doing, writing and coding are fundamental skills for success.

Anytime you start a business with partners, there’s a huge amount of trust that you need.

Knowing you’re going to work through conflict is key to a successful partnership.

Contact Lydia Chiu:

Website: jubjub.com

Email: lydia@jubjub.com

Twitter: @lydiaatjubjub