My Awesome IT Job: Chief Technology Officer, Attivio

Summary:Hey, we all complain about work from time to time; we've all had lousy jobs. But before you call it a day and head off to the support group that meets at the bar, here are a few words from an IT pro that loves their work.

Hey, we all complain about work from time to time; we've all had lousy jobs. But before you call it a day and head off to the support group that meets at the bar, here are a few words from an IT pro that loves their work.

Name: Sid Probstein

Location: Brookline, MA, former home of Conan O'Brien, Mike Dukakis and John Hodgman (the guy who plays the PC on the Apple commercials)

Profession and specialization: Software product/service development - specialized, I guess, in Search, after more than 10 years in the business! One of my first efforts at a large financial services company was featured as a Microsoft Solution in Action in 1994.

Hobby: I am hopelessly addicted to live rock music... in particular I like to find unique bands with a sense of humor (and/or brilliant musicianship) but who are not yet mainstream. Some examples include Big Lazy from New York City, The Upper Crust (four fops who wear wigs and ascots and such and sing about how hard it is to get good help when one is truly rich) and most recently The Sword from Austin Texas, who are now on tour with Metallica.

I am an amateur restaurant reviewer.

I am a (very) amateur drummer; I recently switched after playing guitar (really badly) for 20 years. (Now it can be said I play two instruments ... badly.)

Last book read: Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson and Bangkok 8 by John Burnett

Latest accomplishment: Co-founding Attivio and getting a GA version of our software out and deployed with customers before we were 1 year old.

Toughest technology lesson learned: The best, award-winning technology is not enough. You also need to have the ability to create or tap desire in customers, and bring that desire to fruition. To put it another way, revenue is nature's way of telling you that you are on the right track...

Advice to an up-and-comer:If you want to write code forever, focus on being the best at it ... if not, focus on being a bridge between business and R&D by staying current in technology and getting to know the other side.

Also, as a product/engineering development manager, you have to try to be a multiplier, not an addition. Programmers add capacity but if you can figure out how to make everyone 1.5 or 2x more productive, you will go far. This is something I learned from Microsoft's excellent book Code Complete many years ago, and it has never been more true in this "web 2.0" era where time to market is still critical.

[Know someone who thinks their IT job is awesome? Introduce them to me at debperelman [at] gmail [dot] com.]

Topics: Enterprise Software, Banking, Browser, CXO

About

Deb Perelman is a journalist in New York City with a focus on tech and the daily grind. Previously she was a reporter for eWEEK, leading the magazine and Web site's coverage of the issue and trends that affect IT workers.

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