C-suite career advice: Oren Goldshtein, Vectorious Medical Technologies

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in IT? “If you want to expand your knowledge, remember small startups are a great place to do a lot and learn a variety of skills in a short time.”

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Vectorious Medical Technologies

Name: Oren Goldshtein

Company: Vectorious Medical Technologies

Job Title: CEO

Location: Tel Aviv, Israel

Before co-founding Vectorious in 2011, Oren Goldshtein served in both managerial and lead-engineer positions in the semiconductor and telecommunications sectors, including CopperGate Communications (acquired by Sigma Designs USA), Amimon, and Metalink (acquired by Lantiq, Germany). Through these roles, he gained invaluable experience in all aspects of business - from building a company, to technology innovation, and from implementation to commercialisation.

What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received? I see too many people listening to advice from others. I believe this is often a mistake because, in business, you have to listen to your gut - only you know what you are going through. It’s true there are many people who want to help but, ultimately, they have a very narrow perspective of things, mainly influenced by their own experiences and beliefs.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t consult with others however, you need to filter through the advice and remember what worked for someone else, won’t necessarily work for you. I know when I’m at the crossroads of making an important decision, I need to dig down and find the answer within myself.

What was the worst piece of advice that you received? The worst piece of business advice I received was to never start a medical startup! I was told the risks were too high and there’s almost no money in medical. They, wrongly, claimed you can’t raise enough money to go through an FDA process and, even if we did somehow manage this, it would take decades to reach the market.

Maybe they had a point, and the statistics to back up those claims, but I felt like they were saying I shouldn’t follow my dreams - and we know that’s horrible advice. If I'd listened, I would never have started Vectorious. Our success proves that sometimes the risk is high, but the potential benefits are even higher.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in IT? Some people pull off creating successful startups in their twenties, but the vast majority of us don’t - including myself. When you look at your career, always keep the long game in mind. Think to yourself ‘where do I want to be in five years? In ten years?’ And make sure you answer this for yourself, without focusing on what others want for you.

If you want to expand your knowledge, remember small startups are a great place to do a lot and learn a variety of skills in a short time. You might not necessarily have the opportunity to specialise in have more bureaucracy even if they are typically excellent places to understand large-scale processes. You need to know what is right for you. So, if you’re starting your career, and have the opportunity, try landing a job with a mid-size startup. These companies combine both cultures, giving you a firsthand look into the high-tech world and allowing you to forge the right path for you, and only you.

Did you always want to work in IT? Kind of. Before I entered university, I was deciding between medicine, architecture and engineering. In the end, I decided to study engineering because it was a more natural fit with my logical way of thinking.

What was your first job in IT? My first job was as an engineer at Motorola Semiconductors.

What are some common misconceptions about working in IT? People assume we solve problems such as fixing computers or a company’s internet issues. But, the truth is it’s our job to proactively solve bigger issues on a larger scale.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position? I wasn’t a c-level executive before founding Vectorious, so I might not be the best to offer advice here however, I would say, if you want to become a c-level executive, don't wait to be promoted, rather, follow your gut and start your own company.

What are your career ambitions and have you reached them yet? My ambition was founding and managing a successful company with a product that has a real influence on people’s lives - I’m almost there.

Do you have a good work life balance in your current role? I will be honest, nothing can adequately prepare you for becoming a CEO. My role means I am always connected to work and never put it aside - there isn’t an easy way to learn there is no real separation between life and work. I do however, make sure to have lots of weekly family slots in my calendar, and I enjoy spending time with my kids and watching them grow.

What, if anything, would you change about the route your career path has taken? Not much. I do wish I could have learnt what I know in a shorter time, but a lot of people think the same.

Which would you recommend: A coding bootcamp or a computer science degree? I would say a computer science degree as it provides you with both deeper and wider knowledge.

How important are specific certifications? This really depends on what position a person is looking for. Some positions require highly specific certifications and some don’t, so it all boils down to what your exact aim is.

What are the three skills or abilities you look for in prospective candidates? This is an easy one for me. I am mainly looking for talent, the ability to think outside the box and also a ‘can do’ attitude.

What would put you off a candidate? I would say I’m put off by candidates who choose to speak too much and don’t listen. Listening is such a vital tool in both our personal and professional lives, it shouldn’t be understated.

What are the most common mistakes made by candidates in an interview? How can those mistakes be avoided? I have a couple of examples that candidates tend to make, which can easily be rectified. Firstly, when someone emphatically declares something positive about themselves or their abilities, but can’t back it up with specific examples when asked.

The next time would be when an interviewee hasn’t taken the time to learn what a company does. I’m not talking about a deep dive into the intricacies of a company here, just the basics. Make sure to do your homework!

Finally, a common mistake is when an interviewee tries to steer the conversation by not answering a question. Sometimes this happens because they either don’t listen carefully or it’s a tricky topic. It’s important to pay attention and stay on point.

Do you think it’s better to have technical or business skills - or a mix of both? This depends on the job. I would say technical jobs often don’t require any business skills however, when looking to develop your skill set, it’s important to be intentional. Have a plan and, most of all, trust your gut.