Intelligent CIO North America Issue 8 - Page 79

On the lighter side of things , we ask the industry experts what makes them tick . . . .

. . . GET TO KNOW . . .

Ken McElrath , Founder and CEO at Skuid

wWhat would you describe as your most memorable achievement ?

After several near-death experiences in my life , the answer to this question has been made quite clear to me . You can ’ t take anything with you , other than your family and friends . Relationships matter more than anything else . So , maintaining a healthy marriage for 38 years ( so far ) has been and will likely continue to be my most memorable and fulfilling achievement . Nurturing an ever-expanding family that cares for each other and sincerely enjoys being together runs a close second to my marriage . In fact , every other accomplishment has been rooted in the support of my wife and family .
What first made you think of a career in technology ?
I wrote my first program in BASIC on a Digital VAX system in college . I was hooked . In my early career , which coincided with the introduction of the Apple Macintosh , I worked in a variety of design and marketing positions and developed Mac expertise long before big companies began to take the Mac seriously . Then I landed at MicroAge , which grew from a computer reseller chain to a Fortune 500 master distributor and systems integration company . While I started as a graphic designer , my expertise with the Mac and databases helped accelerate my career . Looking back , it seems I was most comfortable when standing at the intersection of technology and design . This unique blend eventually landed me a position as Head of Marketing for the company-owned systems integration branches at MicroAge .
I left MicroAge to help launch a non-profit called Trueface . In my ‘ spare ’ time I wrote and sold software to manage non-profits . Afterward , I worked with a series of technology start-ups , including my own companies . My experience included using software to solve problems in retail , supply chain , education , real estate , non-profits and marketing . Solving all these problems ultimately led to launching Skuid , which solves a huge problem common to every industry .
What style of management philosophy do you employ with your current position ?
The most important thing for managers and leaders to focus on is taking care of their employees . You serve them , not the other way around . I think culture is job one , and it starts at the top by defining the values you will hire for and live for . Your employees need to share those values , feel the same passion , and experience the same sense of belonging if you want to achieve your vision . You have to start with taking care of your employees so they can take care of your customers . From this point , as coach Bill Walsh said , the score will take care of itself .
What do you think is the current hot technology talking point ?
Amid this pandemic , it ’ s all about getting and staying connected to your customers and employees in meaningful , helpful ways . Companies that formerly had alternatives to technology , such as physical storefronts , offices or travel , have been forced to completely rethink their go-to-market and other business strategies . Even
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