Below is a summary of the evolution of my career and focus, split into three main periods:
TODAY (2014-NOW) | APEX INNOVATOR AT LARGE
Today, innovation is more critical than ever for a company's success and survival. In fact, being innovative is no longer enough. To stay on top, companies must become Apex Innovators. And to do that they need to experiment with and test a lot of innovative ideas in order to find The Right It—innovative ideas which, if competently executed, will succeed in the market.
I am currently focused on helping already successful companies and entrepreneurs become even more successful by teaching them the tools, techniques, and tactics they need to become Apex Innovators. Once a Googler, always a Googler, so I continue to collaborate with Google as Innovation Agitator Emeritus.
RECENT PAST (2009-2014) | GOOGLE INNOVATION AGITATOR
When companies achieve significant success and reach a certain size, they tend to become more conservative and less innovative.
Google did not want that to happen to them, nor did I. So I took on the role of Google's Innovation Agitator and set out to unleash the Google innovators.
Most innovations fail in the market. Most of them fail because they are not The Right It—they might be innovative ideas, but the market is simply not interested in them. And the fear of those failures is a key factor in dampening the innovative spirit. To counter that, my Unleash the Innovators team and I developed a set of tools, techniques, and tactics to test the market's interest in an innovative idea with unprecedented speed, efficiency, and accuracy. We called this set of tools and techniques pretotyping.
Pretotyping worked so well and proved to be so effective that I soon began to receive requests to teach it outside Google: first at Stanford's Graduate School of Business, then at Fortune 500 companies that, like Google, wanted to unleash their innovators. The results were so encouraging that I decided to take an unofficial sabbatical from Google to focus full-time on teaching pretotyping.
REMOTE PAST (pre-2009) | ENGINEER, ENGINEERING EXECUTIVE, CTO
I began my career as an engineer and, later, as an engineering executive and CTO for companies like Sun Microsystems, SunLabs, Google and two of my own startups.
During this period, I focused primarily on engineering and execution excellence. I took pride in building things right.
I was very lucky to join both Sun and Google in the early, pre-pre-IPO, days, so I was able to experience first-hand the amazing things that happen when a product that is The Right It is combined with competent execution—building It right. And, as an engineer and engineering executive, I was fortunate enough to be able to have a role in the development, management, and launch of industry-changing products such as Sun Microsystem's Workstations, SunLab's Java, and Google's AdWords.
My work, both as innovator and on innovation, has resulted in significant recognition and awards, including: