Whatever your definition of success, you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t want to get there someday. We all do. The question is, how?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean that to be rhetorical or even a provocative question. I mean to answer it directly. But first, let’s make sure we’re asking the right question. Maybe instead of “how,” we should be asking “what?”
“What” is whatever you’re passionate about. Whatever gets your juices flowing? What drives you, motivates you, inspires you? If you don’t know what that is yet, that’s cool. We’ve all been there. But the only way to find it is by getting out in the real world and working, playing, and learning. You know, doing stuff. Getting experience.
I found my “what” in the high-tech industry. I certainly wasn’t alone. So did lots of successful entrepreneurs and executives like Steve Jobs, Oracle chairman Larry Ellison, and LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner, to name a few. But once they got there, the real question is, how? How did they rise to the top?
And therein lies the rub. “How?” is a very tricky question. The answer is definitely not the same for everyone, but when you break it down, there really are just a handful of ways to make it big … or so it would seem.
Do your own thing.
Every great company on earth was founded by someone. Virgin’s Richard Branson, FedEx’s Fred Smith, Whole Foods’ John Mackey – it’s a long, long list. I chose those three because, while their passions couldn’t have been more different, they each found a problem they wanted solved and went for it.
Branson wanted cheaper records, so he sold discount records by mail order. Mackey wanted healthier food, so he started a health-food store. Smith wanted shipments to be faster and more efficient, so he modeled FedEx to be like a bank clearing house, except with planes and trucks.
The “how,” in this case, is finding a problem that needs to be solved – that you personally want solved in a big way – coming up with a solution, and then going for it without stopping to look back.
Climb the corporate ladder.
Everyone may want to make it big on their own these days, but if I had to guess, I’d say that at least as many people have highly successful and fulfilling careers in the corporate world as in entrepreneurial endeavors. That’s the route Weiner took and now he’s running LinkedIn. Not a bad result, if you ask me.
In fact, I didn’t have a passion right out of school and, since my folks were about as far from risk-takers as you could get, entrepreneurship wasn’t in my blood. So I climbed the corporate ladder, became a senior executive, and that gave me the knowledge and experience I needed to spend the second half of my career as a consultant and writer.
The “how,” in that sense, is excelling at your job function, aggressively taking on more and more responsibility, and helping to make your company the best at what it does. That paid off big-time for Weiner, for me, and for millions of others.
Piggyback on a startup or two.
One of the biggest problems I see in our culture is the tendency to see everything in black-and-white terms. Nothing is ever really black or white. The real world is entirely made up of shades of gray. And making it big in your career is no exception.
While you’ll commonly hear the career question framed as something like, “Do you want to be your own boss or spend your whole life working for the man in some corporate behemoth?” those are definitely not your only two choices.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer joined Google right out of school. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak worked for founder Nolan Bushnell at Atari. Actually, all three Apple founders worked there. I worked for two startups that went public, as well as two smallish public companies.
When searching for the right startup or smallish company to join, you don’t just want one with great potential, you want one that needs what you bring to the party. That way, you can be a big fish in a little pond.
The point is, there are lots of ways to make it big. The last thing you want to do is limit your potential by cutting yourself off from a world of opportunities. My career has been a combination of all three methods; you can even mix and match.
Look at it this way. Life is long. Think of your career as a marathon, not a sprint. Just take it one step at a time and always put your best foot forward. That’s how you do it.
KPMG RELOCATING IN STAMFORD, ADDING 110 JOBS
KPMG LLP plans to add 110 jobs over the next five years in a new Stamford office.
The audit, tax and advisory firm recently signed a long-term lease and plans to renovate space in the former UBS building at 677 Washington Boulevard, which it expects to occupy next spring. KPMG has had a presence in Stamford for nearly 40 years, where it currently employs 315 professionals at its location at 3001 Summer St. The firm’s Hartford office has 231 employees.
“KPMG’s commitment to growing its operations and creating jobs in Connecticut is a testament to our top-notch workforce and unbeatable quality of life,” Gov. Dannel Malloy said. “It is an encouraging sign that world-class companies are continually choosing to set up or expand operations in our state.”
The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development is supporting the business expansion in Stamford with a $3 million grant in arrears for leasehold improvements, equipment and other project-related costs. Portions of the grant will be released when certain job-creation milestones are met.
THE 7 MOST IN-DEMAND TECH JOBS FOR 2018
The 7 most in-demand tech jobs for 2018
CIO | Jun 6, 2018
From data scientists to data security pros, the battle for the best in IT talent will wage on next year. Here’s what to look for when you’re hiring for the 7 most in-demand jobs for 2018 — and how much you should offer based on experience.
Source: Computer World
AUTOMATION WILL MAKE LIFELONG LEARNING A NECESSARY PART OF WORK
As more companies adopt and learn through digital solutions, and as new forms of employment and investment opportunities strengthen the demand recovery, we expect productivity growth to recover, write James Manyika and Myron Scholes in Project Syndicate.
For years, one of the big puzzles in economics has been accounting for declining productivity growth in the United States and other advanced economies. Economists have proposed a wide variety of explanations, ranging from inaccurate measurement to “secular stagnation” to questioning whether recent technological innovations are productive.
But the solution to the puzzle seems to lie in understanding economic interactions, rather than identifying a single culprit. And on that score, we may be getting to the bottom of why productivity growth has slowed.
Examining the decade since the 2008 financial crisis – a period remarkable for the sharp deterioration in productivity growth across many advanced economies – we identify three outstanding features: historically low growth in capital intensity, digitization, and a weak demand recovery. Together these features help explain why annual productivity growth dropped 80%, on average, between 2010 and 2014, to 0.5%, from 2.4% a decade earlier.
Start with historically weak capital-intensity growth, an indication of the access labor has to machinery, tools, and equipment. Growth in this average toolkit for workers has slowed – and has even turned negative in the US.
In the 2000-2004 period, capital intensity in the US grew at a compound annual rate of 3.6%. In the 2010-2014 period, it declined at a compound annual rate of 0.4%, the weakest performance in the postwar period. A breakdown of the components of labor productivity shows that slowing capital-intensity growth contributed about half or more of the decline in productivity growth in many countries, including the US.
Growth in capital intensity has been weakened by a substantial slowdown in investment in equipment and structures. Making matters worse, public investment has also been in decline. For example, the US, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom experienced a long-term decline of 0.5-1 percentage point in public investment between the 1980s and early 2000s, and the figure has been roughly flat or decreasing since then, creating significant infrastructure gaps.
Intangible investment, in areas such as software and research and development, recovered far more quickly from a brief and smaller post-crisis dip in 2009. Continued growth in such investment reflects the wave of digitization – the second outstanding feature of this period of anemic productivity growth – that is now sweeping across industries.
By digitization, we mean digital technology – such as cloud computing, e-commerce, mobile Internet, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) – that is moving beyond process optimization and transforming business models, altering value chains, and blurring lines across industries. What differentiates this latest wave from the 1990s boom in information and communications technology (ICT) is the breadth and diversity of innovations: new products and features (for example, digital books and live location tracking), new ways to deliver them (for example, streaming video), and new business models (for example, Uber and TaskRabbit).
However, there are also similarities, particularly regarding the effect on productivity growth. The ICT revolution was visible everywhere, the economist Robert Solow famously noted, except in the productivity statistics. The Solow Paradox, as it was known (after the economist), was eventually resolved when a few sectors – technology, retail, and wholesale – ignited a productivity boom in the US. Today, we may be in round two of the Solow Paradox: while digital technologies can be seen everywhere, they have yet to fuel productivity growth.
MGI research has shown that sectors that are highly digitized in terms of assets, usage, and worker enablement – such as the tech sector, media, and financial services – have high productivity. But these sectors are relatively small in terms of share of GDP and employment, whereas large sectors such as health care and retail are much less digitized and also tend to have low productivity.
MGI research also suggests that while digitization promises significant productivity-boosting opportunities, the benefits have not yet materialized at scale. In a recent McKinsey survey, global firms reported that less than a third of their core operations, products, and services were automated or digitized.
This may reflect adoption barriers and lag effects, as well as transition costs. For example, in the same survey, companies with digital transformations under way said that 17% of their market share in core products or services was cannibalized by their own digital products or services. Moreover, less than 10% of the information generated and that flows through corporations is digitized and available for analysis. As these data become more readily available through blockchains, cloud computing, or IoT connections, new models and artificial intelligence will enable corporations to innovate and add value through previously unseen investment opportunities.
The last feature that stands out in this period of historically slow productivity growth is weak demand. We know from corporate decision-makers that demand is crucial for investment. For example, an MGI survey conducted last year found that 47% of companies increasing their investment budgets were doing so because of an increase in demand or demand expectations.
Across industries, the slow recovery in demand following the financial crisis was a key factor holding back investment. The crisis increased uncertainty about the future direction in consumer and investment demand. The decision to invest and boost productivity was correctly deferred. When demand started to recover, many industries had excess capacity and room to expand and hire without needing to invest in new equipment or structures. That led to historically low capital-intensity growth – the single biggest factor behind anemic productivity growth – in the 2010-2014 period.
But, as more companies adopt and learn through digital solutions, and as new forms of employment and investment opportunities strengthen the demand recovery, we expect productivity growth to recover. Myriad factors contribute to productivity gains, but it is the twenty-first century’s steam engine – digitization, data, and its analysis – that will power and transform economic activity, add value, and enable income-boosting and welfare-enhancing productivity gains.
Source: Project Syndicate