A technology company must ensure that it deploys savvies who can contribute effectively to the growth of the company. One such core technical contributor is Mitchell Sellers. Being the Founder and CEO of IowaComputerGurus (ICG), he endeavors to integrate innovative solutions by offering business-class management systems and custom coded solutions that exceed client’s goals. Mitchel a.k.a “Mitch” holds a deep knowledge and understanding of software development with a focus on architecture, standards, performance, stability, compliance, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness.
CIO Look admires such leaders and appreciates Mitchel’s work in the evolving technological sector, and takes pride to feature him in Transformational CEOs Edition.
Below are the highlights of an interview conducted between Mitch and CIO LOOK:
Kindly take us through your journey on becoming a leader.
I never intended to become a “leader.” Back in 2005 & 2006, I recognized that there was a strong need for professional development expertise across the .NET technology stack from websites to applications. It became a single-minded focus for me. I think that people are naturally drawn towards that kind of dedication to something. Couple that with sound business practices and attention to quality, and it forms the core of leadership success.
How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to appeal the target audience?
It’s a delicate balance. Our customers are businesses and enterprises that need reliable, secure, and performant solutions for mission-critical applications. We create those solutions by writing code, architecting and managing the hardware and hosting environments they run on, and training business teams to deploy and use those solutions. So that’s both a diversified set of offerings and a narrow focus at the same time. Importantly, it’s all the things we’re really good at.
As per your opinion, what roadblocks or challenges are faced by CEOs in a corporate business? And what is your advice to overcome them?
I see lists of challenges all the time. But the truth is that every business and every CEO are different. What is a challenge to one person is a perfect fit to the natural talents of another. The event or roadblock that hurts one business can be a redirecting opportunity to another. But the most common challenge I see in most business leaders is too much looking at the now, day-to-day operations and neglecting the long-term health and growth of the business. Especially, if you’re a small outfit – you’ve got to have a one, three, and five-year time horizon that you are looking at. You need to be flexible to change your plans, but you need to always be aware of your plans so that you do not make decisions today that will hamper your future.
Sometimes that can mean NOT taking a project now that might distract or unnecessarily redirect company focus, even if that job pays well. It can mean not hiring certain job positions now – even if you feel temporarily overwhelmed in that area – and instead making a strategic hire for the future. Or maybe you invest back into your own technology and website this year – even when things are going well – because you know that it’s needed for next year’s success; things like that.
What are your intakes on roles of a CEO with regards to transformational leadership?
The term “Transformational Leadership” has unfortunately become a buzzword these days. It’s as if “transformation” has become a goal unto itself. This misses the point. Transformation happens all the time to virtually every modern business. It’s often not pleasant. It often arrives unexpectedly. In my view, successful “Transformational Leadership” is when you manage and adapt to the disruptive technology and market conditions that come while still accomplishing tasks, projects, and strategic objectives successfully.
Every successful CEO and entrepreneur who has been on the job for a decade or more either has such skills, has failed, or little bit of both.
Tell us something about your industry and the competition it gets in the market?
The competition in our space is really interesting. Where most industries have experienced a lot of consolidation, the website and application development market is still wide-open and entrepreneurial. I think that this has something to do with the fact that great technology projects – even ones inside huge technical organizations like Microsoft, Google, Oracle, and Apple – are accomplished by small to medium-sized teams. Even Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, has publicly discussed what he calls the “Two Pizza Rule.” That rule stated that – even in a company the size of Amazon – no technology project should have more team members than can be fed by two large pizzas. This is because the team becomes less agile, more structured, less accountable, and ultimately less creative. And there is some solid social science that backs this up.
This allows a lot of small-to-medium sized development teams thrive, and the best ones find their niche like we have. And that also means that the best competitors are also cooperative players – hiring each other from time to time. It’s really a great way to get things done. Let’s call it Cooperative Capitalist Competition.
As a leading provider of custom applications solutions, what is your most vital contribution in growing technology sector?
That’s an interesting question; we have taken two approaches to contribution. The first is that we take a no-compromises approach to website and application security, and we contribute reference materials and best practices to the broader development community at no cost. The second is that we regularly release internal tools, utilities, and modules on GitHub as open-source contributions in order to help everyone create better solutions.
What will be your future endeavors and/or where do you see yourself in the near future?
We’re really excited by the recent advancements in the Microsoft .NET Core coding framework. We think that the portability, incredible performance gains, and security of this technology make it the business development platform of the future. So, we’re investing heavily in this technology stack and supporting the open-source and .NET Foundation projects built on it now.