We are excited to welcome our newest Lean Innovation and Growth Strategist, Paul. His Bigco and startup background lends itself as an integral asset to the entrepreneurial culture and growth at The Garage Group. Welcome to the team, Paul!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I love ideas and debate. I believe a fulfilling life comes from incorporating and being comfortable with continuous change and embracing what’s new with a strong team. As such, I love trying new things both personally and professionally. Professionally, I’ve been a golf course superintendent, auditor, finance manager, strategist, and marketer. Personally, I’m married to the best woman ever who makes me better. I love hiking, wine tasting, exercise, including biking, running, yoga, pilates, and high-intensity interval training, traveling, scuba diving, golfing, rock climbing, and more.
What’s your MO?
Continuous asking of why from all angles. I love to collaboratively challenge the status quo to bring ‘blue sky’ thinking to life and effect organizational change.
What is your work philosophy?
Nurturing and developing people and relationships is the most important thing to emphasize at work. I like to understand people at their core. This helps me learn and perform better and it can help me directly or indirectly develop colleagues, customers, and consumers.
Something interesting people might not know about you?
I’ve passed the first level Court of Master Sommeliers and the second level Wine and Spirits Education Trust exams.
So, you jumped into The Garage Group. What made you decide to join us?
A couple of quotes spoke to me. “We check our ‘We can’t do thats’ at the door” and “Courageous minds only” told me TGG is a company that embraces continuous change. The people corroborated this for me. Being among a talented group of people who believe in taking on big challenges and helping others do the same is important to me.
What does an “entrepreneurial approach to research and innovation” mean to you?
Embracing fear, complexity, and challenges head on with a systematic, replicable way of thinking to provide a path to grow.
How do you apply your entrepreneurial mindset/start-up thinking to your personal life? Tell us a story/example!
I’m writing a book called, “Couch Yoga: A Bingewatcher’s Compendium of Poses.” The purpose is to introduce more people to Yoga, an exercise / meditative practice I’ve come to enjoy, because it’s a great way to improve strength and flexibility. I use one of America’s new favorite pastimes, binge watching television, as a way to be approachable when connecting people to something that may be intimidating and foreign. The book started as a bit of a white elephant Christmas gift for family, but I couldn’t stop writing because of how fun it was to create. The MVP is created so look for the first ‘real’ version to hit the market soon.
What trends do you see in marketing, branding, or innovation at large companies that lend well to a more entrepreneurial approach?
Pressure. Pressure from small companies and startups is driving fragmentation in traditional industries effecting change in BigCos. Traditional internal paradigms for how things get done is getting companies to reassess their marketing practices. Development of new media channels, e.g. – mobile, tablets, etc., is opening new ways to reach consumers that Bigcos haven’t fully figured out yet.
What was your favorite book that you read last year? Why?
Zero to One, by Peter Thiel. It helped me understand and digest the difference between incremental innovation vs. game changing innovation. My mind expanded. I gained the knowledge of how to frame business ideas against needs and how to amplify them to be more disruptive.
What podcasts / shows are you currently listening to / watching? Why?
Podcasts: Criminal and How Did This Get Made? These podcasts are very different. Criminal is short vignettes highlighting topics in the crime genre. The stories are fascinating and help you learn more about unique crimes and issues within the criminal justice system. How Did This Get Made? is completely different. Former The League on FXX stars poke fun at movies asking the show’s title question, “How did this get made?” It’s a comedic critique examined in front of a live audience. The comedians take movies through the ringer. You’ll laugh but also learn a lot about how creatives analyze movies.
Shows: Westworld and Silicon Valley. Technology drama and comedy are awesome! Westworld is a real mind bender. It’s shocking! It’s a great composition of human ego run amok within an AI enabled world. Silicon Valley is just funny and, from what I’ve read, pretty accurate on the eponymous heart of the tech industry. The combination of satire, character development, and challenges start-ups face is pretty rich.
What is your spirit animal? Why?
Bear. A bear can provide reassurance of renewed power and courage. It looks cute and cuddly but is strong and authoritative Bears are protectors, which is a role I like to play.
What is something you believe that almost nobody agrees with you on?
Red wines are great with fish. The masses have been trained to pair white wine with fish unequivocally. Maybe the similar color drives the thinking because it’s easy to understand. In reality, it’s about flavor and strength. Light, fruity red wines are oftentimes perfect and preferable to whites with fish. I’m happy to help expand one’s mind anytime on this subject.
What’s your favorite innovation that’s come out in the past year?
Bird. https://www.bird.co/ As Tech Crunch has stated, “Bird looks to be the Uber of the electric scooter market.” The scooter is enabled by an app and easy to use. Rather than a hub network, Bird uses GPS and self locking mechanisms to allow scooters to be distributed anywhere in a locale.
Tell me two truths and a lie about yourself.
I’ve run two sub-four hour marathons
I’ve visited every state in the US
I once won a long jump competition