Empowering Decision Makers: Arun Jacob with Zonar Systems

Show Details

Through his personal experience as a former employee of Disney, Arun Jacob had the opportunity to see how valuable it is to grow an employee in an encouraging environment. He has taken these lessons with him into his own managing beliefs, as the current Vice President of Software Engineering at Zonar Systems, a company providing fleet management systems for their clients.

He wholeheartedly believes in teaching his employees through mandating a structure, encouraging them to make tough calls, helping them to learn from their mistakes and ultimately become better decision makers. Tune in for more insight from an industry expert.

Topics we discuss:

1. Employee growth
2. Zonar Systems
3. Disney employee experience
4. Team building
5. Software engineering
6. Mandating decision-making structure

Related Links:

1. Zonar Systems
2. Linkedin
3. Waving Not Drowning
4. The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization by Peter M. Senge
5. An Introduction to General Systems Thinking by Gerald M. Weinberg
6. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
7. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute
8. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't by Jim Collins
9. Site Reliability Engineering by Google SRE Team
10. The DevOps Handbook by Gene Kim, Patrick Debois, John Willis, Jez Humble
11. Leading the Transformation: Applying Agile and DevOps Principles at Scale by Gary Gruver and Tommy Mouser
12. High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove

Show Transcript

Carlos: Hello and welcome to another episode of Tech People. Today, we have Arun Jacob on the show. Arun is a Vice President of Software Engineering at Zonar Systems. Arun’s experience is very interesting. Right now he is working at a medium sized company called Zonar Systems but he is at the forefront of designing the ways that this organization is now delivering software.

Some of the most interesting points that we are going to cover are particularly around some of the experiences Arun brought from different experiences in his past at companies such as Disney, Hewlett-Packard and others. And how that shaped Arun’s vision and some of his own core principles as to how he runs an engineering group. One of the most interesting topics that we discussed today was the philosophy that Arun has on actually enabling other people to make decisions, avoiding him having to be the ultimate decision maker on some of the decisions that other team leads can make. So I think this is particularly interesting because I see ourselves even at Gistia and some of our other clients and people that have come on the show always wanting to have some sort of checks and balances before certain decisions are made. And while those are useful I really think that Arun’s vision in allowing people to make those mistakes and sometimes, the word isn’t making the mistakes, but making decisions that could be right or wrong but enabling people to make those decisions, and that’s how ultimately he’s able to make so much progress in such little time. So anyways, without further ado, let’s welcome Arun and enjoy this episode.

Arun, my friend, thanks so much for joining me today. I appreciate your time, time that you’re taking away from your day to spend with us. How are you doing today?

Arun: Good, and thanks for having me. I’m glad to be here.

Carlos: Right. Well, I think it’s going to be an exciting episode. You bring a breadth of experience that I think has shaped the work that you’re doing today at Zonar Systems. Yeah, I’m very excited to share that with the audience.

Arun: I am excited to share it too. This stuff I usually puts my wife and kids to sleep. I’m glad somebody out there might get excited about it.

Carlos: Alright. Arun, tell me, the first question that I would like to ask you is to get to know you a little bit better so the audience can get an idea of what are the things that interest you. But tell me a little bit about your background and what made you interested in technology?

Arun: You know, I was thinking about that a little bit the other day and it actually started all the way back when I was about 10. My middle school actually had a mainframe. It’s kind of a weird school, had some pretty advance stuffs in it. And back in those days that was a huge novelty and so all of the kids just piled into the computer labs and we all ended up learning how to program some Basic, and make some little games and basically have fun with it. And then my dad brought home an old IBM or a brand new at that time, IBM PC80, and so I continue to write some programs too mostly because I was home and bored. And I really had a lot of fun writing some simple graphics programs and playing around with what I could do. I kind of set away from computers a little while through high school but in college I fell back into them. I was a Physics major and so when we’re trying to do some labs we ended up writing some very simple programs to emulate things like rocket launches with force of gravity, force of air friction, things like that; and so I started programming again and I taught myself a little bit of C.

And after college I found a job as software tester mostly because I didn’t want to go home and live with my parents. I found a job just testing basically a 3270 Emulator that runs on Windows 3, and after about a week of that I was able to convince my manager that I could automate all my testing if he would let me how to program in Windows. You know, he was a great manager and he said, “That’s great as long as you get all your work done.” And he even went ahead and got some people from the software team there to take me under their wing and teach me about basic data structures. That all ended up with me getting a Microsoft internship where I moved out to Seattle and I’ve been here ever since working on some pretty amazing projects not just in the Windows space but working with companies like F5 Networks, Falken, Disney, HP and now I’m at Zonar Systems.

Carlos: So something you said at the beginning that I’m interesting, you’re emulating something simple just rocket launches. How the hell is that simple?

Arun: Yeah, I should back up a little bit there.

Carlos: It’s a bit off topic but what do you mean by that?

Arun: Well, it’s simple in the sense that we’re actually restricting the parameters that come into it. You know, we’re assuming sort of constant thrust; we’re assuming constant air resistance. We were just trying to play around with this because at that time, simulation was not something that was super common. And so you always start out with the modeling; you constraint it as much as possible so bringing in some really simple variables and applying them with standard acceleration and velocity and distance equations and just repeating that again and again in a loop is basically what our simulation is up to. So a real rocket launch, of course, has to take into a lot more into effect. But those are, you know, part of what we did in physics was think about what we wanted to model and start modeling it very simply and completely knowing that we were sort of artificially constraining the problem but then bringing in more and more complexity as we built up overtime.

So a real rocket launch, even like a rocket launch of a model rocket, would have been very complex; but we were just trying to figure out how to start doing simulations.

Carlos: You know the reason I asked that, and I know it’s a bit of tangent here, but I’ve been fascinated by seeing the impact that, we as engineers, we can have on the world. We can choose to make an impact on different areas, so some of the people that have been on the show recently are in the clinical laboratory world. And it’s fascinating the sort of human evolution that is happening at the forefront of medicine basically. And it’s being led by software engineers in a weird way. I mean, it’s really led by the bioscientists, now to just term them biologists, bio scientific, even this scientific leaders if you would. Now, they can’t do all the work themselves, right? They are counting on engineers like us to help them move things forward so start talking about this it remind me of like the power that influence, that early young influence could have on us. I mean, you could have ended up doing rocket launches at Tesla; I say Tesla but you know what I am talking about. But it’s the idea of being able to pick our destiny by being engineers; we have so many things that we can touch. So, you know, talking a little bit about that, I know that part of your career that led you to some large companies, right, we’re going to talk a little bit about that. And just to introduce our topic today, we’re going to talk a little bit about people, processes and some of the decisions behind an engineer organization.

This is a bit of a broad topic but we’re going to focus a bit about some of the lessons you had while working at some of the large organizations like Disney and HP, some of the influence that you had in terms of like people development, and how that’s impacted the way that you execute as an executive. So anyways, during your time at Disney and Hewlett-Packard, what was the biggest lesson that you learned? And I want to segue that question for a second with that whole impact that we were making, like for you what did you feel like you were making an impact as a person in the process and what was the biggest lesson that you could take out of it?

Arun: Well, that’s a pretty multi-variant question, so let me back up a little bit. You know, I’ve worked at really small startups, to medium size startups, to really big companies, and I think the thing that and actually I prefer is working at a medium sized startups. But the thing I really benefited from Disney, in particular, was that, you know, one advantage a company like Disney does have over startups is the ability to offer continuous learning and to invest back in their people. So Disney in particular taught us classes, took very technical people and taught us more about the business. So looking at the things that we were doing, looking at the projects that we were working on as business initiatives and those classes really opened my eyes— because what I used to be completely wrapped up in technology just for technology sake because it is very cool, very exciting. I started to see what we are doing from the perspective of business, that the things that we were doing were actual investments. Actual bets of business we’re making and they had finite time horizons were we had to prove things out. And so those two things and the kind of educational series that Disney brought us through really brought me out of the abstract and really made me, I guess, aware of how the work I was doing was actually mapped to something real, something with cost benefits, and really mapped into a day to day business instead of just being a pretty cool abstract problem. So, for me, this really helps me going forward because I started to make much better decisions as an engineer. I started to understand what the costs were to the business, what the benefits could be on financial and temporal terms. I became a lot more pragmatic about the software solutions I pursued, and as a result I think those solutions had a lot more impact in much less time than it might have done if I just purely been chasing them on technical merits.

Carlos: What that kind of tells me is that just thinking about our previous conversation where we did our previous interview; you have a lot of emphasis when it comes down to making sure that you’re not only growing your team but you’re giving them some of that same model that you were given. You’re teaching people how to fish instead of you giving them a fish, and I know that’s kind of a weird example. But instead of making decisions for them, you are enabling them to make decisions.

Arun: Yeah. I mean, that’s what we always, what I am striving for because my job I can’t possibly make all the right decisions. I don’t have the information that I need, and I need people to make better decisions so that we can operate in a more decentralized way. I mean, if we are all relying on me to make the right decision, we’re not going to get really far. One of the things that we try to do or sort of informally and every engineering organization I’ve been is make better decisions and part of that is intuitive. Engineers tend to be rational people, and tend to be able to make rational decisions, but when decisions start coming at you hard and fast, a lot of times what I see is it works best when we have a framework. Really specifically kind of a way to list out our options, pros and cons, the overall cost, the risk of making a bad decision and weigh all of that together and even writing it down, right, so we can just lay it out side by side. So one thing I’ve seen a lot of success with is if we actually mandate that; if we mandate the structure but not the decision. It’s almost like that book about checklist, right. Some people would say, “Why would you make me write things down in a checklist, I know what I am doing.” And my come back to somebody saying, “Why would you make me write my decisions down in this very prescriptive way?” What I would say is, “Look, it frees you up to actually do the thing that brings you value, which actually makes the right decision,” as opposed to trying to think about all the options in your head and meandering back and forth.

Carlos: In order to give a bit of more context as to the conversation, I think we’re going to dive into a bit more in detail; but let’s give it a bit more of a context within the company that you are working at now. What is Zonar Systems and what does the company do? What do you do at Zonar Systems?

Arun: Ok yeah, that’s all good questions. So Zonar Sytems provide fleet management solutions for companies. We help companies increase the safety and efficiency of their commercial vehicle fleets. Our customers are commercial trucking companies. They are people transportation companies like school buses, and the vocational companies like utility companies or construction companies; anybody that needs to manage a fleet of commercial vehicles and really ensure that the fleet is safe, that the drivers are driving safely, and that the drivers are driving efficiently.

Carlos: Now, how does engineering support the business? What’s their role and what’s the output of engineering to the company?

Arun: Yeah, engineering actually builds all the products. I mean, when we started in early 2000s, the technologies that we’re bringing to bear were actually really revolutionary at that time. So engineering has always been a real core part of the DNA at Zonar Systems. Right now, today, we are part of what we called the Product Delivery Organization; so we are building the products working really close to with product management and program management.

Carlos: So give me little bit of an example. What are some of these products or what do they look like? Are they all software, hardware, what is the mix of it? I am trying to get a sense of the output that the type of teams that you’re putting together have to work together to deliver.

Arun: Yeah. We sell both hardware and software solutions. So our customers, you know, again thinking about the safety and efficiency of their fleets usually have different personas, right? We have a sort of a Central Dispatcher Persona, that person that needs to understand how the whole fleet is performing and where everybody is so they can make decisions about where they need to be or other sort of optimization decisions. We have drivers, some that need to understand what dispatch wants them to do, but also how safely they are driving. They also need to comply with federal government driving regulations— safety regulations. So our products are really a combination of hardware and software to meet those needs. At a basic level, we let our customers understand where the vehicles are, how the drivers are performing, how efficiently they are driving, and we also sell specialized hardware and software solutions for again some of the verticals that I talked about. So for commercial trucking companies where drivers are doing really long hauls, we want to make sure that drivers are inspecting their vehicles making sure that they are safe. You know, inspecting the truck, inspecting the trailer and they are adhering with national safety standards, meaning they are not driving for too long.

And that extends into school buses of course as well as some of the more vocational commercial fleets. We are also branching into live real-time and post drive driver coaching with some of our new products so we are helping drivers get better in a moment. The company actually works to get their drivers better after the fact by having real video evidence of what transpired during a drive. With have some school bus or pupil market focused solutions that actually help make sure that kids get off and on school buses at the right stops. That’s actually a problem and our solutions also let school route planners manage route planning. School bus route planning is incredibly dynamic problem that’s pretty hard. These products are actually making it easier for school districts to make sure that kids get to school and get home safely.

Carlos: What is your role within being in engineering groups? I understand as an engineering group there might be electrical, there might be hardware, there is software. Explain to us what a VP of Software Development title means at Zonar Systems.

Arun: So really, you know, I take care of the software as a service products that we have whether it’s our Web UIs or APIs. I also run the teams that do the backend and data processing. As you can imagine, we have a lot of devices— about 450,000 devices out in the field all sending us data. And our job is to get insights from that data and present that back to the customer. There is a very large data component of what we do. And we also have mobile teams so our mobile teams serve at the driver giving them the insights from the data but also allowing them to do things like inspect their vehicles, input their drive time and their duty stats. I run those teams, the mobile, the data team, and the software as service team and the API teams.

Carlos: So you run a bunch of teams? I mean you have multiple hats, I mean, your role. So how do you make all these teams work because they are semi different disciplines? I mean, they are all the same discipline but the specialization of each is more granular. How do you make them all work together? Let’s say as you as the nucleus of this process and being a pivot to have to serve multiple units. How do you do it all?

Arun: Well, I think the key thing is I am not the nuclei. In fact, the system can’t really work with me being the nuclei. Really what it is about is building the right system and the right organizational structure to allow people to execute independently from one another as much as possible because there are always dependencies in our product lines. You know, there is our telematics devices that send in specific kinds of data that we need to surface to different product lines. So there are dependencies but as much as possible we want to allow these teams to run as independently as they can.

I look at it this way: I have two main jobs, or maybe it is three now, now that we talk about setting up the right organization; it’s ensuring that the organization can execute as efficiently as possible. And I guess maybe that’s my only job because the way I see that happening is I bring along the people and the roles they play and the processes that they use to deliver software and the technology that we use to deliver software to get better at delivering products, right, because we are in the business stuff. And when we get better at delivering products we deliver better products. That’s kind of my main focus and in order to do that I can’t be that nuclei. I can’t make the decisions. There are some decisions obviously we are the final arbiter of that but it can’t be every decision. What I actually need to do is help ensure that the best decisions are made. I am not on the ground floor where the inputs and the decision are where the impact is most understood. What I can bring to a decision that needs my input is the perspectives of business and the overall company strategy and the overall technology strategy. So I make sure that decisions that I am involved in and you know I am usually involved in some of the bigger decisions. I make sure that we align the technical decisions we make as an engineering organization align to that business and company and technical strategy.

Carlos: What are some of the mechanics, mechanisms that we can use to get people to embrace, explore way of thinking instead of you solely being responsible? You know, I am trying to get into not only mindset. Try to explain your mindset let’s say another novice manager but also what sort of mindset they need to create or foster within the people that they manage. You see, what I mean because there are people that like to be managed and need to be micromanaged, and you need to foster this mindset of not needing that. So what are some mechanisms? Are there some things that you’ve put in place for this?

Arun: Yeah, I mean there are so many ways to tackle that. We try not to hire for people that liked to be micromanaged. There is a lot of behavioral questions that we ask upfront to make sure that no matter how green the person is that we are getting, that they are capable of rational thinking and taking action. I mean, everybody is sort of needs to be backed up and everybody at some point or another needs to look to a higher opt to make sure they are aligned. But really we try to bring people that have a bias for action and independent thought. When I think about this parallel way of thinking, when I think about enabling others to execute it making sure they have the bias execute first and then making sure that we give them the ownership that they need in order to execute. I think ownership is something I’ve been thinking a lot about every organization I’ve been in. There has been a little bit of lack of ownership due to disempowerment and so what we try to do is set up the right conditions to ensure that people feel like they own their product, they own the success of that product and that they can control the outcome, and when we do that they start making decisions.

Carlos: How do you keep a balance between giving too much reign to make decisions that might be overstepping their, and I don’t say people do this on purpose, but their decision might be impacting another area of the business that they don’t know of because they live within this specific thing. Let’s say the hardware team makes a decision that they are going to use x, y, z thing and then this could impact a sprint on the software team. Now, of course, asking the question I am already thinking of a solution. But I am curious, how do you keep a balance between making x decisions that are too many decisions like letting them make too many decisions but most importantly how do you handle people that make the wrong decisions? Because I am sure that will happen and it can be your out sort of it because you were enabling these people to make a decision. So how do we keep a balance between making the right decisions and what happens when they make the wrong decisions?

Arun: So making the right decision is really a matter of having the right information. If somebody within a team makes a decision that actually impacts other people and other teams we usually find about it pretty quickly when the people on the other team starts talking. And a lot of times, in fact most of the time when that decision is made, it’s made without the context that it actually impacts other teams. What that really means is what we have to do, what we do as management is we make sure that people understand the context in which they are making a decision.

So like one example would be we had somebody make a decision that affected how the rest end up doing authentication. And it was actually a reasonable decision but it wasn’t the right time to make that decision. We couldn’t just say. “We’re going to make this change and all of you are broken.” So part of that was going to that person and saying, “This is a reasonable thing to ask for but not of this time so what can you do that won’t break everybody.” Because I like the long term vision but what you are doing right now is going to break everybody.

I guess the thing that we are trying to do is communicate as much information as people need to make decisions. And because of the way that we’ve structured the teams, most of the decisions they make are within the context of their teams and they know that. When decisions are made that may impact other teams we make sure that we communicate that. And that’s usually done by basically exposing dependencies between teams. You know, in order to deliver this product I need this in the data feed. That’s what a product team might say. The data team might say, “Ok, well in order to get that data we need the hardware team to actually create it. We need the firmware team to actually get that signal and convert it.” And so people start talking and we usually line that up that’s fairly straightforward. What we try to do is we try to understand as much as possible some of the dependencies that we have in our solutions.

And we also try to build a system where we don’t always have to walk all the way back on the dependency graph where if the data team builds up pretty much everything that’s coming up the hardware then the other teams don’t have to keep on going all the way back to the firmware for instance and asking for things. They will just get it from the data. I think systematically speaking what we are trying to do is set teams up to be able to operate up a rich set of data, make their own decisions and not impact others. We are trying to do that in a way not only to process level but at the technology level as well where the technology stacks that people stand up are completely isolated from one another.

Carlos: What do you think has been the most, let’s say, fun part of the role? I am curious because you’ve been there for about two years now. In experience of other people that I have talked to there is usual in the first couple of months are challenging in the sense that you bring something new to the table. But then maybe you are now there is two year down the line things are settling in and now you discovered the challenges that you have to focus and improve, but then also you start to enjoy more like the people and kind of this growing more into an organization, so I am curious what has been the most fun part of the role?

Arun: So, I came to this company because of the people I met working at the company and there were some transformation that really needed to happen in order for the overall engineering team to really start lining up and delivering solid product. And the best part of this role so far is seeing the teams take that on. I think a lot of that has to do with the people in the company that they are willing to try new things. Because they were willing they are able to transform from people that were sort of didn’t have a lot of ownership and were taking orders into much more self empowered, self organized units that made decisions, and will come to us explain their decisions in terms of the options that they’ve taken and the pros and the cons. It’s been great to see that because I think the level of energy on the teams and in the building has gone up significantly as people who have taken a lot more ownership of what they are working on and we are not done by any means. Their progress is unevenly distributed across the organization and we are just starting to make some headway on some of the technology pieces of puzzle. But the progress so far from the change in attitude, the embracing of the new roles, and the way the teams that lead into the process itself has been really great to see.

Carlos: You know, Arun, I really enjoyed the fact that this was a bit of a refreshing conversation because usually I end up talking a lot about very specific technical topics which are super interesting and important to a role but I haven’t had many conversation where we’re talking about literally the process and the way as an organization we make decisions. As you said, we can’t be the nuclei and make all the decisions, we need to enable others. And it’s easier said than done just to let other people make decisions. I think our natural predisposition is to try to make all the decision ourselves. I need kind of a new mental model and trying to figure out how can we enable others to make decisions that are in line with the big picture. This is an extremely fascinating topic. I mean, we could potentially write a book about this.

Arun: Well, I think other people have actually. One that I would say is it’s really about setting up the right systems to check people’s thinkings so we use Scrum. And in the process of grooming a ticket or user story we use GRS so I call it a ticket. But in the process of grooming a user story there is a lot of collaboration and discussion and ideas being tossed around. And so usually the decisions that people are making are decisions that are being made by the best thinking. And so the fact that the teams are set up with a specific process that allows them to get the best thinking and bring it forward is critical to us having confidence in the way that they are making decisions. The other part that gives us confidence is when the teams come up with critical decisions and talk about the options they could have done and why they didn’t do them. For us, for me and my team of managers, it’s really good to understand what could have been done and why it wasn’t done. And it gives us a chance to ask some of our critical questions and make sure that other options would be considered if needed or that we really understood their thinking.

I think there is a whole bunch going on here. Part of it is organizational system dynamics, part of it is software delivery processes, things like Scrum, part of it is how you communicate. And I am not saying we are really really good at that. I am saying we are pretty aware of what we need to do we are taking small iterative steps towards that. But when I look back over the last 18 months the amount of ground we covered by taking those small iterative steps has been huge.

Carlos: We are near in being at the end of our episode. I have two last questions for you. But before I ask you those questions, in this last answer that you gave me, it made me think of a conversation I had with a previous guest, VP of Engineering from a software company called ABCmouse. The episode is on the website now, his name is Bill Salak. We spoke about Conway’s Law. I know that any organization with this system will produce a design whose structure is a copy of the organization’s communication structure.

Arun: That’s right.

Carlos: That’s verbatim so in a way that’s exactly what you’re doing. You are building that communication structure to yield a product. You designing that and it’s essential.

Arun: We are. It actually bleeds all the way into the architecture, right? So we are using, basically we are setting up a distributed event cache for our data using some of the patterns that LinkedIn has for instance where what we are doing is we are considering the data that comes in from our devices as events and we are allowing teams to consume the events that they care about. And that level, right there, we’ve got independence from other teams and we allow teams to actually independently iterate.

We are in the beginning stage of this so there is still a lot of, “I need this data”, “I don’t have this data”, “Can you get this data in?” There is still a little bit of that dependency mapping. But what we are trying to build up is an architecture that actually allows our organization to move quickly and in parallel and have teams make really good decisions. And the process is that we set up a lot of teams to make those decisions and to communicate them up. You know, my role is to amplify the good decisions that we make and catch the bad decisions that we make. And really it’s not the decisions that I make. It is actually the decisions that are being made by the people that are closest to the problem.

Carlos: Alright, Arun, so I have two more last questions for you. So do you have any resources or books, even blogs that you recommend?

Arun: Yeah, I do. I have a pretty long list. I read kind of old stuff classics.

Carlos: Those are the best, right?

Arun: Yeah, I think so. I mean, there is a lot to be said for books that have stuck around for a while. So there is a book called The Fifth Discipline which is by a guy named Peter Senge that talks about applying systems thinking to fix organizational problems. And this has been an invaluable resource for me because the kind of problems that come up that I used to think about in isolation are really part of a larger sort of systemic problem, and so if I make a solution to address that exact thing. I am more often than not fixing up a symptom and not the core cause, right? As we try to communicate better and try to get teams moving independently and try to really break through some of the resistance to that. And it’s not people resistance, it’s much as it’s just sort of system resistance. We have to make decisions that are much more holistic than attacking the edges. Now, I am trying to get to a book called General Systems Thinking by a guy named Gerald Weinberg. But I tend to read it at night and fall asleep but some of the other books I’ve read that I really like are, The Goal, by a guy named Eliyahu M. Goldratt. I couldn’t find the author. It is called Leadership and Self Deception which is a really good. A book for me that woke me up to how often I walk into meetings and talk to people with a bunch of pre-conceived vices and now I need to leave that at the door. There is the Good to Great book by James Collins which is timeless. You know, technically speaking, Site Reliability Engineering book by Google, really good. There is some really good technical discussions about how Google has solved some problems and really well written. You know, the DevOps Handbook by Gene Kim and Jez Humble among others is a really good book to understand what that really is. It was important for us because we had sort of segregated IT and Development teams when I first came here. There is a book called Lean Enterprise which is sort of builds up an Agile methodology for software and pushes it all the way into how products is delivered. There is really good book called Leading the Transformation which is about how HP’s printer division actually started to building continuous integration and continuous delivery. You would never think that it would be possible with printers but they did it. There is Andrew Grove’s High Output Management. I could go on for a really long time. I am going to stop now. These books, I mean, it’s so cool to have access to this information. There is so much stuff out there that, you know, I just literally could go on for 30 minutes. But there is so much out there, there is so much to learn. It’s a pretty cool time to be alive with all of these are so accessible.

Carlos: Yeah, and sometimes having access to the books. If we can’t have access to the people that we want to have access let’s say somebody who has passed away or somebody who’s hard to get a hold off. Some of these minds, they spent a lot of times writing the book for us so it’s a very intimate relationship if you would. They spent months working on a book and pouring all their knowledge into it, at least in the good books so consuming that knowledge and the fact that we can do it today and there is so much of it out there. I am amazed at how much people don’t read or read very little. I mean, nowadays audible. Like to me audible is essential. But here is the thing when there are technical books I have to read and highlight stuffs and reread it because I am slow sometimes, so I need to reread a page like four times especially when I’m reading something very specifically a technical concept. I need to study it more than I need to read it, but there is so much of it, and I’m excited that you are a reader.

Arun: Well, I mean I’m kind of old fashioned. I can’t even really do apps, stare a page for a while and then I have to actually have a notebook right next to me and draw. But the only bad side effect is I don’t watch a lot of TV. I just feel like there is so much to learn and all of it is so interesting that there is not enough time to do it. So I try to get to it in the evening and it’s a really good way to relax and kind of kickback after I put the kids to bed.

Carlos: Yup, I couldn’t agree more. Alright, now the last most important question. This is a two-part question, how can people find you and if they are interested in the work that you’re doing at Zonar Systems. Let’s say they are interested, they like to work for you. How can they find out about you and Zonar etc.

Arun: Well, that’s a good question. I didn’t see that one coming. I think for me I’m on LinkedIn. I actually have a LinkedIn link. Ok, at LinkedIn I’m arunxjacob. I have a blog that I am really going to start paying attention to now. It’s called Waving Not Drowning. It’s actually arunxjacob.blogspot.com. I tend to write about some pretty technical things. My perspective at that time, the last one was 2017 I think. Now, I am highly motivated to update that because looking at it and it’s about and I wrote a bunch of things that since been replaced by things like... So I should probably retouch that one and write some more. You know, for Zonar Systems it is www.zonarsystems.com/creators. We are trying to do things in a different way here. I want people that are action bias, that are resilient because we are going to make mistakes and we have to be able to come back from those mistakes and that wants to own things. Because, you know, in this world at this phase with what we need to do I need people that will take the ball and run with it. Those are the three ways you can get out to me.

Carlos: Awesome. Well, Arun, I want to end by thanking you for taking the time to chat, to share your experience with us. I think it’s been an interesting conversation. As I said, it’s been one of the unique ones because we haven’t been talking about how to make other people be better at making decisions in systematic way. It is also a bit of leadership, right, improving our own leadership skills. So I just want to end by thanking you so much for being on the show.

Arun: Well, thank you for having me. I am really glad I could get out and get some of these ideas out of my head. I appreciate it.

Carlos: Thank you so much, Arun.

Building Credibility and Influence as a Leader: John Sadler with Agilent Technologies
Listen to episode