Brian Vickery, VP of Enterprise Solutions at ProKarma
Brian Vickery is an evangelist and account manager helping to promote ProKarma as a global, world class software solution and business intelligence provider.
Q What inspired you to enter your profession?
A Well, my profession changed. I started out as a mechanical engineer because everybody told me I was either a lawyer or an engineer. When I got to my first job, they needed some way of tracking resources, and the associated skills matrix, to find internal candidates when preparing proposals. I knew nothing about software development, but I took a cut at it – and it worked. Then a guy supporting an Oracle-based application quit the company. I was the subject matter expert for the application he wrote, so I stepped in and started writing code.
I enjoyed the application development, but I was much more intrigued in the data itself because I considered it foundational to successful application development. As a result, I’ve stayed close to the data architecture, data modeling, data integration, and data visualization side of things (the business intelligence piece).
Q What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
A Depends upon the scenario. If I’m data modeling, I still prefer Sybase PowerDesigner. I have favorite business intelligence (BI) tools, but I can’t list them here because we are technology agnostic when it comes to BI solutions and strategy!
If I’m doing personal social media monitoring and engagement, I use HootSuite. I use our own Pulse Analytics for corporate social media monitoring since it includes more analytics and sentiment analysis. Other tools in my arsenal are BundlePost, Buffer, Feedly, ManageFlitter, and DoShare.
And let’s just throw Pandora in here, too – gotta have my music, wherever I go, on all of my devices (including the SmartTV).
Q What’s your best time-saving shortcut productivity tip?
A Hmm, several of the tools listed above contribute to my time-savings. However, one example is that I have several trusted content sources in BundlePost – I will select blog posts from those trusted sources, “randomize” those posts so the same blog does not get referenced consecutively, and then schedule them using Hootsuite. I do still go in and read each post before it is shared, but this saves me a LOT of time with content curation.
I also like to work in focused bursts/sprints, and then walk away and let the mind wander. I can come up with great ideas, for entirely separate business problems, on those walks.
Q What everyday thing do you think are you better at than anybody else?
A I’m best at being me because nobody else can do it (or would want to, perhaps). I’m an admirer of many, but I idolize none – because I’m already comfortable with my strengths and limitations. I am a jack of all trades when it comes to professional expertise and hobbies (mostly tennis now). I’m well aware there will ALWAYS be someone better at many of the things I do, so I focus on being good enough to contribute professionally…or have fun personally.
Q What are you currently reading?
A Data Science for Business by Foster Provost and Tom Fawcett – and The Detachment by Barry Eisler.
Q What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
A Too many good ones here – my grandparents raised me, and I think they did a good daily job of preparing me to be a good husband, father, and provider. My first real boss, out of college, also told me to be nice to everyone…you may work for them someday.
Q What’s your greatest challenge?
A Time and Scale – both professionally and personally. Knowing I need to stay at the strategic level…but still enjoying some of the tactical execution.
Q What’s your greatest achievement?
A Twenty-five years of marriage to my best friend and being counted amongst best friends for both of my daughters.
Q Anything else you want to add?
A ProKarma has provided solutions for industry verticals spanning Automotive to Utilities (hmm, couldn’t think of a zoo – although we did provide solutions for a museum). We’ve helped put planes in the air, tires on your car, coffee in your hands, and healthcare information at your fingertips.
Keep us in mind for software and mobile application development, test automation, BI strategy and execution, big data solutions, and social listening and analytics with Pulse Analytics and Pulse Athletics. It sounds like I’m keyword stuffing here, but I’m trying to concisely describe just how much we do. A common goal is to provide highly interactive and intuitive user experiences along with captivating yet actionable data visualizations.
And keep me in mind if you want to play tennis or talk Denver Broncos, Denver Nuggets, and Texas Longhorns!!
Q Who would you like to see answer these same questions?
A Do they have to dump a bucket of cold water over their heads? You’ve already interviewed Robert Caruso, so let’s throw in Amy Tobin, Sam Fiorella, and Danny Brown. That gives you three people with strong, insightful opinions…so what exactly makes THEM tick?!?
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