You can learn great deal from the extremes of success and failure and help build the right habits early.”
Ian Reynolds is a Partner at Zibtek, LLC a global software development firm with over two hundred engineers across the US, Philippines and India. Ian began his career working in the world of startups after college. This time covered the arenas of healthcare, business to consumer software applications, ecommerce, loyalty rewards and software aimed at reducing the cost of digital charitable giving.
After graduating with his MBA in only one year, Ian worked as a consultant in the energy industry where he interacted with virtually every industry vertical including upstream, midstream, downstream, oil field services, commodities trading, retail power and beyond. In this capacity he executed over $15 billion in transactions spanning M&A, Restructuring, and Advisory. He helped clients streamline processes around enterprise software architecture, upgrades and support teams spanning two continents.
Outside of energy Ian has served clients in numerous roles providing custom software development, process and performance improvement and beyond. Currently commuting between Salt Lake City and Houston, and periodically India, Ian is proud Texan but known to enjoy the fresh mountain air. He and his wife share their greatest accomplishment in raising two wonderful children.
Where did the idea for Zibtek come from?
Zibtek was borne out of the idea of extending a quality internal development team to be available to serve the ideas of the marketplace.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Because we try and overlap with our Indian teams I start my day around 6am,
How do you bring ideas to life?
When I have a new idea I try to write it down in my notebook then within 24-48 hours I am bouncing it off my colleagues and employees. If it sticks in any way I generally try to move on it immediately so that it doesn’t get lost or forgotten.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Advancements towards AI that is accessible to the average consumer is probably going to have a greater impact on the world than the combustion engine. Increased capital deployment towards that end is very exciting.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Aggressive reading. Most of the best ideas I have had in life have come from the connecting other peoples dots.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Pay more attention to the people who have done exceptional things through modernity and history. You can learn great deal from the extremes of success and failure and help build the right habits early.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Put a brick through your television and never buy a new one – you will be happier in more productive and to be honest, you won’t miss much.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Constantly seek feedback from your employees and your team. Their brains have just as many neurons as yours – you are better off using them.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
We have started including our employees in more operational decisions and improving transparency. This has a twofold advantage. We get feedback on our ideas and they have an opportunity to step up into those new capacities. The results are fairly predictable, better engagement, better alignment around goals and its much more fun to work as part of a team as opposed to trying to micromanage people who are very capable by themselves.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I suppose overestimation is a natural tendency. Borrowing engineering principles of building a bridge that is 10x as strong as the typical weight that will use it is a really powerful concept. All ideas risky ideas should probably at least see if they match this stress test.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I have heard from research physicians that there is no tool in the market that is cheap and easy to allow them to get patients to sign up for clinical trials. Reducing the cost and time required to get research studies underway is a viable business and something needed by the market to help reduce the cost of bringing new treatments to market.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Christmas shopping for my two year-old, looking forward to spending time with the family.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
Rocket Chat is an open source communication tool that we have the whole company on and with it I can monitor virtually every project – we have about 200 team members using the tool and it is the primary vehicle for almost all internal communication outside of email. It only costs us about $20 dollars a month for hosting, you can’t beat that kind of value.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
‘Leisure, the basis of culture’ by Josef Pieper is a very short but very concise work with a powerful message about the creation of ideas and the outlook required to generate those ideas, their potential affects on society (which are applicable to business) and a consideration of the potentially negative effects of ignoring the need for internal intellection.
What is your favorite quote?
“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.” Marcus Aurelius
• Reading is a tool that lets entrepreneurs leapfrog issues by learning from what others have done. It is really important to focus on content that can have a materially positive impact on what you, and in the service business, what you can do for others.
• Leverage your team – its not enough to begin to execute with an idea; refine it using the power of teamwork.
• Keep family a priority – use the time with family to reset and re-engage with your work when it is appropriate to do work. Wasting time watching TV is just that, wasting time.