c-suite-image
Human Resources

C-suite career advice: Nate Good, ShowClix

We ask industry leading C-suite professionals for their expert career advice...

28-04-2015-nate-good-showclix
  Name:
Nate Good

  Company: ShowClix

  Job Title: CTO

  Location: Pittsburgh, PA

 

What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?

Don't be afraid to challenge conventional wisdom.

Computer scientist and Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was said to use a clock that ran backwards, which served as a reminder that just because things are always done one way, doesn't necessarily mean that it’s the only way.   

I've found that challenging conventional wisdom, asking why things are done the way they are, and ultimately not being afraid to try new things can pay off real dividends. For me, after getting a bad vibe during an on-site meeting with a company, I turned down the cushy offer and signing bonus (something I thought was only reserved for pro athletes) to take a job that paid half the salary but offered the right culture and long-term opportunities. And this certainly paid off in the long run.

What was the worst piece of business advice that you received?

A degree from an esteemed university is the be-all, end-all.

Universities can offer phenomenal learning experiences, create long-lasting relationships, and open up career opportunities, but this isn't the entire picture. It is equally important to be doing things beyond the classroom – something that’s especially true in the tech space.

Disciplines like philosophy may see very little change over the course of a century. Meanwhile, computers, by Moore's Law, see exponential changes over time. By the time something has made it to curriculum, it might as well be ancient. If you aren't doing things outside of the classroom – picking up new languages, working on side projects, engaging with others in the tech community – you're at a real disadvantage.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry?

Build things. Break things. Be proud of those things. Show them off to your peers. If you think its cool, chances are that others will think it is too.

When I was starting out as a young freelancer in college, the only way for me to convince a company to fork over money to an undergrad was to show them the interesting, often unrelated, side projects I’d been working on.

Aside from being great learning experiences, building things you love can open up networking opportunities and even career paths. Now that I'm tasked with hiring, I'm far more interested in what candidates can show and tell me about the things they're proud of building than I am about the lines on their resume or the University they attended.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position?

First off, don't aim for a c-level position. Work hard. Be fastidious. As our CEO likes to say, get out of bed and do what you say you're going to do. Be willing to take responsibility. Be unafraid to take ownership of things regardless of if they go well or not.

If you're focused on the politics of climbing the ladder, instead of honing your skills as a leader, you'll hone your skills as a politician.

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or of the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?

I've had the pleasure of talking with many budding software engineers at networking events or in return trips to my alma mater. I typically preach the aforementioned advice to make sure you're always building and learning outside of the classroom. Learning from my own career path, I also tend to encourage taking seemingly unconventional risks – whether looking for jobs outside of the traditional meccas (think Pittsburgh instead of Silicon Valley) or not basing your job search on how much you’ll be compensated.

One of those freshmen I had spoken to took my advice to heart, got involved in local startup circles, and years later came on board as a full-time software engineer at ShowClix.

PREVIOUS ARTICLE

« New generation gets benefit of friendlier business intelligence

NEXT ARTICLE

Romanian startup makes rehabilitation fun with games »
author_image
IDG Connect

IDG Connect tackles the tech stories that matter to you

  • Mail