SO, YOU’RE THE GUY THAT WENT FROM GRADUATE TO GM IN 5 YEARS…HOW DID YOU DO THAT?
*cough* 4 years!
My secret is always looking for the jobs other people didn’t want to do. That, and talking with confidence even if you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Don’t tell anyone!
Our culture is still the same. Take initiative and if your ideas suck then move to the next one, if they work, double down and get recognized for making a difference. I can’t say I really went out of my way, or even asked for the job. It was a matter of personal tenacity, timing and what the business needed. I think everyone in the management team has had to make that decision – follow a career path, or do whatever Entelect needs right now to continue growing.
Anyway, the longer version is that many years ago I put my hand up to moonlight and rescue a project that had come off and we needed a team that we just didn’t have. Myself, and a few others at the time (including Shashi) worked a second shift from 4pm until 10pm most days for a few months to get this project going. I think the management team realised that they didn’t really need another lead for this project and just gave it to me to sink or swim.
I definitely sank, but didn’t drown. A few months later I ended up in the position to use the experience from this project to oversee the technical and operational sides of several smaller projects in parallel and very quickly took over the managed projects division of Entelect with all of 6 or 8 people in it. The rest is history.
What was the hardest part of the transition?
I believe the hardest part of any management position is having to wait for much longer periods of time to learn if your initiatives, management style and ideas are working. Feedback takes ages. As an engineer you just press compile and get instant feedback, so unfair.
There is also the stress that comes from having visibility of people’s careers, a sales pipeline and the madness that is resource planning. As a problem solver at heart, learning not to try and solve everything all the time is a major challenge for me.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working mostly in business development, finding and securing the best possible projects for Entelect people to work on. We aspire to certain types or projects and customers, and sadly these aren’t always the ones banging down our door. This means I need to go and find them, learn what they need, and present a compelling case why Entelect can solve their problems in amazing ways.
I still spend a lot of time doing recruitment, some account management and supporting the rest of the management team.
What has been your greatest challenge in your role?
Keeping up relationships outside of work. Time has been sacrificed for the passion and energy I’ve poured into Entelect. I’ve never been forced to or not given a choice though, it’s just a case of managing it carefully! More recently, calendar tetris, I’m used to just saying yes to everyone, and never being that guy who asks to reschedule!
Are you involved in any of our social clubs?
Yup, I climb every so often with the rock climbing crew, especially when they go outdoors. I’ve also been in the winning dota 2 team for the past 2 lan events!
What is the most fulfilling part of your job?
Being in and among such incredibly talented people. It’s a crazy notion that I could go out and sell borderline anything and we’d be able to do it. I’ll get in trouble for saying this, but really it’s amazing to watch Entelectuals at work sometimes.
What’s something that happened that can only happen here at Entelect?
I believe our whole management team has written code that is still in production for customers we still have.
A few years ago, the caterer for our year end function said to us “Listen, I cater for festivals, there is no way a bunch of programmers can drink 800 litres of beer in an afternoon”. Needless to say, he had to drive back to his warehouse from the Vaal for another 800 litres.
What’s something you are most proud of? (Work and personal)
I’m most proud of the people I’ve worked with and grown alongside, seeing our ideas for engineering, customer management, team and business building work is super cool and motivating.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen or experienced at Entelect?
Shashi with a tinfoil hat on before year end function was pretty good. I also saw Sheldon give up during a boat race one year and empty most of the bottle on his head when he had to turn it upside down. Tomislav can do funnels while in a handstand!
SO, DO YOU THINK YOU CAN STILL CODE?
I’m a cowboy, I can make things work, take things apart and debug anything. I get bored when building things though, so don’t keep me on project for too long!