Geeking Out: A Personal Journey to A Career in Technology
In 1999, my father took me to Macworld in San Francisco. Being more of a sports enthusiast and less of the techie type, I reluctantly agreed to the five-hour drive north. Wouldn’t I be completely out of my element? My sports heroes certainly wouldn’t be there. Would other attendees, those who do love technology, be able to spot my outsider status?
My anxiety turned out to be the overwrought worries of a young teenager. While it would be overstating it to say that the conference ended up changing my life – I didn’t meet Steve Jobs or have what you might call an “a-ha moment” – I do look back at that conference hall and the excitement that the release of multicolored iMacs generated as something that might have planted the seed for the career I have found today.
Whether it is in small talk with new acquaintances, meeting fellow parents at my children’s school, or meeting new people at networking events, I am often asked the age-old American question, “What do you do for work?” While not exactly a conscious choice, I have come to realize that my answer is often dependent upon the level of understanding my conversation partner has of the, somewhat obscure, legal technology space. If there is no foundation of knowledge whatsoever, I often amuse myself and talk vaguely about how Inventus assists with forensic data collections of mobile devices where we play a role in investigating embezzlement of….and then let their minds run wild.
After the deer in headlights look, I usually get the question “Well, do you like your job?” I often think, my job has its highs and lows, like any job, but I can honestly say I do like my job. Early on, I worked at companies that were not known for their technological innovation, but simply for being widely used. I felt that the passion I had for technology was not as highly valued as it could be, or should be.
Now that I am a part of the Inventus team, I realize that I was right. It’s great to work for a well-known brand that everyone uses, but knowing that’s the only reason customers keep coming back isn’t exactly inspiring. At Inventus, I’ve been able to talk to people who partner with us regularly and those who do not. For those that do use us, I’ve found that what keeps them coming back is our unique approach to technology. One of our core values is listening to client feedback, and applying technology in unique ways to help them solve problems or achieve their goals. When talking to new or prospective clients, I explain our service model, unique technology and how many of their peers are already working with us to manage discovery more efficiently.
What I’m also sharing with them, that is as equally important, is the passion and excitement that comes from being different than our competitors. Yes, it’s important to show my clients how they can save hours of time and tons of money by utilizing technologies we specifically built for them, however, it’s equally important that I convey my passion for doing so.
Looking back at an interaction I had with a general counsel recently, we were discussing a recent legal matter and how it was similar to a previous litigation we had handled. I just about jumped out of my seat with excitement when they told me how burdensome it was going to be to recollect and re-process data for certain repeat custodians. I was not celebrating their involvement in yet another litigation, but rather because we had listened to other clients detail the same pain points and had reacted by developing M3, our multi-matter management platform that would eventually lead them to significant document review and processing savings. And this is how I know I love my job: because both this general counsel and I knew he was going to use us for this litigation, whether or not we could offer the automated data repurposing capabilities that M3 provides. Not having M3 would certainly mean more revenue for my company and more commission for me. But I was genuinely happy to be able to save his business and his department significant costs by improving this aspect of their business.
While I am certainly not Steve Jobs, I can sympathize with his excitement and passion in presenting and implementing advanced technology to accomplish certain tasks more efficiently. I get inspired by the continued progression of technology and do not feel threatened or overwhelmed. I embrace and encourage those I work on behalf of to effectively and efficiently leverage technology and, as Apple so famously coined, “think different.”