Typical 24: Steve Miller, nfrastructure Inc.

IDG Connect is looking to speak to IT, business and marketing professionals across the spectrum to discover more about their very different, typical working days…

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Steve Miller      

 Job title:  COO

 Company: nfrastructure Inc.

 Location: Albany NY

 Years’ experience: 31



1.         What time do you reach the office each day?
I reach the office most days between 8 and 8:30am depending on the morning meeting schedule. The day actually starts somewhat earlier, usually around 7am with a quick email or text check. Then we go from there.


2.         Is your job varied?
Yes, and it is the dynamic nature of the job that I think makes it the most fun.   

3.         Is your job creative?
Yes, creative or I’d like to say, innovative. We must always be looking for smarter and better ways to do every part of our job or someone else will. I’d say it’s a requirement of the job and I believe our customers expect that of us. 

4.         What do you spend the majority of your time doing?
Working on initiatives that ensure our company is exceeding our client’s expectations today while being also prepared to meet evolving demands in the future as we scale and grow with our clients. I cannot think of any effort that is not somehow related to those goals.

5.         Do you personalise your desk?
Of course, family and New York Yankee pictures.

6.         Would you describe yourself as creative?
Creativity is life blood for an organization so I think it is more important for me to ensure my organization fosters an environment for creativity. To answer your question directly, I’d like to think I’m creative. I think the trick for me is to take my experience gained over the years, put it all in the idea funnel for a specific challenge, and derive something new from it that is game changing. I try to be careful because experience can be “baggage” that can actually limit creativity. Therefore, it is critical to bring along a diverse team with fresh perspectives. It’s really fun when it works, and maybe plays to my competitive nature as well, when you know you have something!

7.         Do you have any quirky daily rituals?
I love music and play my guitar on most evenings so I tend to travel with it. Since a very hot or freezing car back seat is no place to leave a guitar, I bring it into my office which brings interesting looks and fun comments but no concert yet.

8.         Do you tend to work on your own or with colleagues?
The team building exercises and tests we’ve all taken seem to categorize me as “collaborative who enjoys working in teams” and I think that’s a great way to foster innovation and get the best and most diverse ideas. However, there are times when you have to take the reins and I don’t have a problem going heads down. 

9.         How many hours on average do you work a day?
I’m glad you asked for an average because any given day is all over the place in terms of time. I’d say ten hours average.

10.      Roughly how much time do you spend each day…
on email?
1-2 hours. Taking calls? 1-2 hours. In meetings? 4-6 hours, customer and internal.

11.      Do you use social media much for work?
Yes. I wouldn’t have categorized myself as an “early adopter” a few years back, especially compared to my kids, but I am definitely fully on board now.

12.      What do you enjoy most about your work?
Leading and working with really motivated, smart people who have a common goal in mind and who go get it, whatever it is.

13.      What type of music (if any) do you listen to at work?
I don’t really listen to music at work much which might be a surprise since I love music. I do however feature a “song of the day” for anyone who cares to hear it. It’s usually something obscure and could really be from any musical genre, since my taste is pretty broad. It’s fun and breaks up the day with a smile or two.

14.      What do you do for lunch?
Usually order out if we are working through lunch or are having team meetings and of course, customer lunches. Once in a while, we go out and sometimes, it’s the chips in the candy machine which I don’t feel good about so let’s move on.

15.      Do you socialise with work colleagues?
Yes, I love the people I work with and we tend to be a work hard, play hard bunch so I truly believe socializing is a natural part of being a high performance, high morale and balanced team.

16.      Are there any tasks (through your career) you’ve been especially glad to get rid of?
I love solving “good challenges to have” like answering how do we grow faster?  How do we become more efficient, more effective?  How do we make sure we are on the next wave before our competitor?  Bring higher value to our customers?  You can imagine then, why I’m glad to not be performing tasks that solve the bad problems to have.

17.      What is your last task of your day?
Check tomorrow’s schedule and make sure I’m prepared for it and finally, organize and prioritize my notes and to dos.

18.      How do you like to relax after work?
I love music, sports, family, friends and the Adirondacks so it usually has to do with some combination of those things.

19.      Do you keep checking email through the evening?
Yes, and in our connected accessible world, why not? It’s too easy and frankly, I think it has become an unwritten expectation of most of us. Typically, I look for urgent items or customer correspondence to act on immediately. The remainder is usually tabled until the next day. 

20.      Do you take work projects home with you?
Yes, depending on the urgency, we all do what we have to meet our deadlines.

21.      What would you say to your 20-year old self?
Stay balanced and true to yourself in your personal and professional life, it’s going to get busy. Through it all, know what you want and focus on it. Take calculated risks and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You’re probably better than you think you are. Strive for the highest integrity in everything you do. Expect to work hard. Be dedicated, trustworthy and loyal. Learn from your mistakes and earn long lasting, meaningful relationships throughout your life. Go to bed a “good tired” every night knowing you gave it your all.

22.      If you could try out any job for a day, what would you choose?
Doesn’t every kid want to be a firefighter or wait, maybe play centerfield for the Yankees? That’s the toughest question so far!

23.      What device did you use to answer these questions?
MacBook, listening to internet radio on a flight from the West Coast, coming back from a customer visit.

24.      Do you use your own personal device for work?
I think the personal device and work device have become one in the same. I have one MacBook and one iPhone and conduct both personal and business from those devices. It’s just too complicated otherwise.