Podcast Episode 010: Part II with David Sobeski




The Corporate Corner
Episode 010
David Sobeski
Part II

In this second episode with David we talk about a lot of things. To give you an idea of the topics here is a selection of some of the subjects:

IT or Technology

David mentions his annoyment with me using the term IT in the previous episodes of the TCC Podcast for what in his eyes should be the technology department. 

It’s true I have been fostered in companies where there were a clear distinction between business and IT and the IT departments was always referred to as IT, the people who brings cost to to the table whereas in David’s world it’s all about building great products and there is no real distinction. 

How wonderful wouldn’t it be to work in a company like that. 

Difference in attitude Europe versus US

David is talking about the difference in attitude between Europe and the US. 

In Europe the perception is that everybody just have a job whereas in US many people have the ambition to change the world. 

In Europe some of the companies David talked to is all about revenue, profit margin, cost and not what the company is actually producing. 

David notice that in Prague trams are full at 9 in the morning, they are full at 5 in the afternoon and you rarely see office lights on in the evening.

It is funny, but as I am writing this I am reached by the rumor that my previous company is thinking about installing the clock stamp system for the staff in the Prague office, same as they have in Frankfurt and I am curious how David would survive in such an environment.

In the Czech Communist system this was called “Píchačky” and is well symbolized by this picture and doubtful whether this is generating creativity and most likely, if introduced, will make people feel they are thrown back to a period and regime that everybody thought was long gone.

David mentions that for his first 10 years at Microsoft he worked 7 days a week and without ever taking holidays. He explains:

I never thought of a job as 9 to 5. I thought of a job as we need to go deliver Internet Explorer, we need to go deliver Windows, we need to create a whole new way of doing things, we created AR at Disney before AR was cool.

The 1 on 1 walker 

David use the technique of walking with his direct reports on his one on one meetings and he is doing it outside the office to get out the confined office environment.

Let’s go out. Let’s just be two people and kind of friends for the 20 minutes we are going to go for a walk and have a real conversation.

That is the time he got to know what is really going on and people having the guard down outside the office, David explains and this leads us into the next subject, friends at work.

Friends at work

David tries to put a wall between friendship and work. He explains:

The hardest thing you can do in your career is to lay off people that you really didn’t want to lay off and to fire somebody. People have lives, they have families, they have kids on college and bills to pay.

David mentions that he noticed a lot of people who have promoted friends and seen the problem that it can cause and he tries to keep a barrier between friendship and family and he explains how he learnt this at an early age at Microsoft.

Jim Allchin was a good teacher for this. I definitely learnt that you should separate business life and personal life. You should never promote someone because he is a friend.

He tells us about some negative examples of this that he has seen and what it causes:

I witnessed people who have become really good friends and they promote their friends. They actually cause badness in the culture, they cause, if they are not good at their jobs they cause people to be mad or upset and you have created a cancer in the organization.

But David also mentions that he has made some good friends during his career which in my opinion is inevitable, we are human beings after all.

Fearless

David mentions that he has always been fearless and he emphasizes the importance of being fearless and what he has noticed.

I think people have fear, fear of speaking up, fear of being wrong and they don’t know how to be fearless and to stand up for themselves.


He recommends the reading of Jean Case’s book Be Fearless: : 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose

So you were always fearless, even in the beginning of your career? Mats asks David.

Yeah, even as a 22 year old kid. Look I have been told by various leaders, that was a stupid idea, dumb, can’t believe you thought of that. OK, that is your opinion, you are no different than me, I don’t care what your net worth is, I don’t care what your wealth is, I don’t care if you are 50 and I am 20, doesn’t matter. What I know is, we are both just people trying to go solve hard problems and you are going to have your opinion I am going to have mine.

What a gift to have that capacity of mind!

And more

We cover a whole bunch of other topics and Ariel and I are doing a nearly 30 minutes debrief as we find the conversation so interesting so hang in there, it is long but a lot of take aways.

Where to find David

David is publishing his wisdom mainly on Facebook and Twitter and that is where you can best follow him.

Facebook – David Sobeski.

Twitter – dsobeski

Podcast Episode 009: David Sobeski, a true Technologist and Computer Artist




The Corporate Corner
Episode 009
David Sobeski
Part I

Background

For years I talked to David about this podcast I want to make and that he just have to be part of it so he is aware, but when we meet up at the local Starbucks before the talk he is making it clear that this is not something he is looking forward to.

It’s snowing outside, a cold January day in Prague, one of these days you just want to put a blanket over your head and sleep an hour more.

“Where are your questions? David is asking.

“I thought you were going to have a notepad with questions”

Maybe I should be more structured I’m thinking, but questions for David I have more than enough of. He is like an encyclopedia of modern and ancient technology and knows literally everybody who is worth knowing in the technology industry. After the podcast episode with Tony Schiavo David is messaging me that he thinks he knows Tony, they studied at same place and same time and he remembered the accountant guy. Same when I read about some company or that and that person, it nearly always turns David is knowing them.

I decide to throw the structure of the interview upside down and start with these questions that is burning my head, the ones about Bill Gates and Microsoft.

Bill Gates and Microsoft

I recently started to follow Bill Gates blogs and his LinkedIn posts and he comes across as this amazing philantrop caring about everything from Vaccines, Alzheimer’s to Artificial Intelligence and meditation at it sound somehow too good to be true.

How was he really as a boss? I wonder and I ask David, who had the opportunity to work with him in Microsoft.

He tells us the following:

We were very focused on making sure we had a great product or we beat this competitor or that competitor. He was very competetive, very aggressive, very to the point.

He had a communication style in a meeting where you kind of had to impress him. He would ask very tough questions, he knew a lot before coming in to a meeting, but I think the one attribute he has is he can listen very quickly, process very quickly and ask really, really hard questions and you need to be able to answer these questions or it just turns bad.

David continues:

It wasn’t like he was trying to be mean spirited it was really about trying to push you and trying to get the best out of you and thus the team.

David talks more about Microsoft and how it is a company with a lot of technically really smart people and that in the old days the tend to build products from a technology view first rather than with a product view.

Microsoft was a developer lead company, we would build Windows SDK, Visual Studio, C++ compilers, we spent a lot of time building the developer tools we used ourselves.

David explains how inside Microsoft they felt like the underdog who could be outcompeted at any moment, while from the outside many of us felt like Microsoft was this big monopoly.

David gives us some insight into what Microsoft were the late 90ties and early 2000 years and he is also mentioning how he for the first 10 years at Microsoft worked 7 days a week and never took a day off. Pretty amazing and unbelievable for a European thinking of work life balance.

David’s background.

David is talking about how he grow up in West Pittston, Pennsylvania in a classic middle class family with parents who sacrificed for themselves for their kids.

David was lucky to get his first computer, a Texas TI/99-4A computer as a young kid and that is when he started to use computers by playing games and not long after doing programming himself.

In high school he won a statewide coding competition and then went to university and studied computer science and mathematics.

He is praising the connections you make in university as very important.

He learnt the importance of time management at an early age and always tried to under promise and over deliver.

IBM

David’s second job was a IBM where he joined the IBM Watson research center where he worked on software for phones and he worked on the first smartphone, the IBM Simon phone.

His boss at IBM wanted him to wear a white shirt and maroon tie and to come to work at very specific times and David got yelled at for not obeying the rigid IBM rules. One of the reason he left IBM relativeley quickly.

Building Great Products

David is talking about the importance of being a listener, a user of things and to love the idea of investigation. Be a customer and never be afraid of asking dumb questions.

He gives as an example, the movie Big where Tom Hanks plays the kid Josh Baskin whose wish it is to be a grown up.

In one of the scenes Josh Baskin is in a meeting with the CEO and the person presenting the new product and by saying some simple phrases out of kids mouth like “I don’t get it” and “it’s just not fun” he turns the whole discussion around and David emphasizes the importance of never loosing your eyes of innocence.

And More

We cover a lot more in this episode, we also talk about David’s close relation ship with Steve Jobs and their talks about the future of computing.

David talks about a startup he was part of, Playdom, and how they were sold to Disney.

He explains why Computer Science really should be called Computer Art and much, much more. Tune in.

Podcast Episode 007: David Dostal, a German Freedom Seeker

David Dostal

EPISODE 007 DETAILED SHOW NOTES

In this episode Mats is meeting with David Dostal. They had the conversation in Prague just before Christmas.

Topics covered:

  • David’s quest from freedom at any price
  • David’s interest for computers and programming already as a young teenager
  • How he as a 25 year old started a company in Switzerland
  • The struggle you can have with German bureaucrazy
  • David’s experience as in investor in internet companies
  • How his journey that took him back to his parents roots in Czech Republic
  • The creation of his new company Fetview and what change that will bring for gynecologists and patients over the world
  • What David thinks about theoretical studies
  • Advices he would give to young graduates and students
  • How he as a teenager improved the production lines at Mercedes
Continue reading “Podcast Episode 007: David Dostal, a German Freedom Seeker”

Podcast Episode 006 with Tony Schiavo, a Wall Street FinTec CTO

Tony Schiavo

EPISODE 006 DETAILED SHOW NOTES

Topics covered:  

  • Tony’s career in several Wall Street Banks
  • The challenges in managing people
  • How to manage by influence
  • Buy versus build in the software industry
  • How to hire the right persons and what to look for
  • How Tony took a break and went to a silent retreat
Continue reading “Podcast Episode 006 with Tony Schiavo, a Wall Street FinTec CTO”

Podcast Episode 005: Stress at the workplace with Katri Lampinen

Stress at the Work Place

Today Mats meets with Katri Lampinen. She is working for SPP, a swedish provider of Pension and Insurance solutions and is an expert and has lot of interest in stress related questions.

Katri Lampinen talks about stress at the workplace

Topics covered:

  • The long term sickness leave in Sweden goes up after the holidays, why is that?
  • 7 out of 10 managers are stressed according to a survey made in Sweden.
  • What could be the underlying reason in a country like Sweden to see the stressrelated issues such as burnout rise so much
  • Katri gives some tips on what you could do to manage stress in the new year.
Continue reading “Podcast Episode 005: Stress at the workplace with Katri Lampinen”

Podcast Episode 003: Show notes: India is meeting Czechia and USA, interview with Shuchi Tandon

Shuchi Tandon

EPISODE 003 DETAILED SHOW NOTES

Podcast Recording:  The conversation was held via Skype between Prague, Czechia where Mats was and Jersey City, outside New York on a Sunday. A lot of planning and flexibility was required to time this when Shuchi’s son had a nap. Overall good connection but some blips and cuts here and there. 

Topics covered:

  • How it was to come to Czechia and be one of the first students at the Czech Technical University  when they for first time launched studies in English language
  • The challenge of going back to work after only a couple of months at home with a newborn baby
  • The difference in work life balance between USA and Europe
  • The exellent working atmosphere Shuchi found in Europe
  • The challenge of moving from a cozy European company and to work for Goldman Sachs 
  • Long working hours and not much holiday in USA
  • The difficulty to outsource IT projects to India and the cultural difference between India and USA 
  • How the IT department in the US companies are more streamlined from Shuchi’s experience
Continue reading “Podcast Episode 003: Show notes: India is meeting Czechia and USA, interview with Shuchi Tandon”

Behind the scene for the Mike Kubena interview

Episode number 2 of the The Corporate Corner Podcast is out and I am so happy to share this conversation with Mike Kubena.

This was my first interview and it was important for me that it was Mike, I really like to talk to him and I knew it wouldn’t overly stress me.

So off we went to Denver to see Mike, this was back in August this year and we were in California so Colorado was only 2 hours flight away.

We started the day with a 70 kilometer bike ride. We had been saying for years we were going to cycle together and this was the opportunity and I knew it was also a good chance for me to get Mike a little tired before the conversation.

Continue reading “Behind the scene for the Mike Kubena interview”

Behavior trickles down

Managers come and managers go but a company persists. It is like it
does not matter at the end how a manager behave, what he or she
does or what core values they inspire, the production and the
company will persists more or less regardless as long as there is
knowledgeable employees who knows what to do.
But it does matter and it does impact us all deeply and with the
leader role comes a big responsibility, not only to make your
company a success but also to create an environment where people
like to be, where they want to work and where they can go home
satisfied.

 

 

Continue reading “Behavior trickles down”

The Beginning

 

History

It all began many years ago, when we didn’t even know each other yet, but both knew from the inside out, that Corporate could be different and there was something more, waiting. What that would be, didn’t become clear, until recently when things crashed down, so we could rebuild, even better.

Us

We are husband and wife, co-creators, business people, parents, advisors, teachers, conscious life and business coach, wellness & alternative health explorers, consultants, friends, creators, inventors, builders, writers, podcasters, bloggers and more.

You

Overall, we imagine you to be apart of our ever growing vision of people looking to learn & teach from the past, moving into future effect change, share stories, listen, use our sounding board, explore new & old directions and have fun with what comes up around corporate here and around the world.

TCC Project

Create a community together, through sharing stories, ideas and thoughts. Bring you great podcast discussions and stories.  Straight talk interviews.  And, hopefully a show to look forward to!

Now

This.. is the beginning..

Soon we travel exploring new Interviews, work and discussions you won’t want to miss.

It’s all unfolding, so stay tuned to hear what happens next. Interviews will be recorded, soon. So, keep reading and we will update as we go.

Coming up

Much more bubbling in our minds. We have a super interview  line up for our 9 for 9.  Our 1st 9 week season will be weekly.  Can’t wait to get it all going, to edit and upload. Exciting days ahead. Stay tuned;)