Kevin Castle – CTO and a Principal Partner of Technossus

I’m a sticky-note junkie. Any good idea, action item, thought, book to read, or anything of remote value goes onto a sticky note. Each week, I do a “purge,” when I run through all the items or queue them for future action. You can find a stack of 80 or more notes on my desk at any time.

As CTO and a principal partner of Technossus, Kevin Castle has been responsible for the engagement and technical delivery for every executed software project. His ability to align technology offerings with the rapidly changing demands of the industry has been instrumental to the company’s impressive growth trajectory.

Kevin is a passionate leader who’s committed to fulfilling Technossus’ mission through the relentless pursuit of success. In his CTO role, he stands at the helm of the technical delivery side of the business, ensuring the standards, practices, offerings, and successes for client engagements. As a core member of the senior executive team, Kevin plays a crucial role in determining Technossus’ strategic direction and making decisions that will guarantee both short- and long-term success.

Prior to his work at Technossus, Kevin held various roles in enterprise architecture, technology, and project leadership and has implemented millions of dollars worth of software solutions.

Kevin received his bachelor’s degree in computer science with an emphasis in artificial intelligence from San Diego State University. He later graduated with his master’s degree in software engineering from California State University, Fullerton. He’s also a member of Vistage International.

Where did the idea for Technossus come from?

My partners and I were working together on a large enterprise project for a healthcare company, and we ended up having a large string of successes with the project. We realized that our openness in leading the large team, the process and methodologies we applied, and passionate people involved all contributed to the project’s success. We wanted to find a way to craft a company with those same values and principles and created Technossus as a result.

Overall, our goal is to provide the necessary change for businesses that only software is capable of doing.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

My days almost always start with my son Makai tapping on my face to wake me up. Hopefully, the day follows with a morning surf. Then, I drink a Rockstar energy drink with my breakfast and hit the office. When I get in, I write down my top five to-dos on a sticky note and start hammering away as quickly as possible. My outlook calendar governs my day-to-day agenda. I maximize my productivity by trying to focus on what’s most important and having my day scheduled as well as possible.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I bring ideas to life only through the help and support of amazing people at home and at Technossus. The group of people at Technossus is by far the largest group of highly talented technologists I’ve had the privilege to work with.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

I’m fascinated by upcoming changes in healthcare — more specifically, the data and computational focus that healthcare will take, such as sequenced genomes and connected systems. Anything we can do to help the area of computational science exponentially improve the human existence takes the highest value and purpose. The convergence of big data, science, genomics, computation, and cloud systems is the most exciting trend I see.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m a sticky-note junkie. Any good idea, action item, thought, book to read, or anything of remote value goes onto a sticky note. Each week, I do a “purge,” when I run through all the items or queue them for future action. You can find a stack of 80 or more notes on my desk at any time.

Recently, at the Vistage Executive Summit, TED speaker Cameron Herold spoke about the importance of making a daily top-five list of important things you should work on each day. This has been key in helping me focus on what’s most important. Time management is key.

What was the worst job you’ve ever had, and what did you learn from it?

When I went to college in San Diego, I worked as a banquet server for about two years at a local golf course. Most of the time, we were hosting weddings, and the facility would charge a tip for each of the events, but they would never pass a tip down to the servers. A few times, the people getting married found out and caused a huge uproar about the company pocketing all the tips. Not a single tip collected ever went to any of the folks working at the events.

I learned a valuable lesson here. We weren’t terrible people at all, but we felt taken advantage of and disgruntled about it, which prompted everyone to provide terrible customer service. Take care of your people well enough that they’re delighted to take care of your customers.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would probably take the time to enjoy the early days a little more. When we were getting the company up and moving, my wife and I were just starting our family and outgrowing the place we lived in. Everything was on the line, and the stress was piled high. I look back with fond memories and only hope those around me weren’t negatively affected by the pressure I felt.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Ask the hard questions. A lot of times, I find that asking the right questions will uncover the biggest challenges. These questions can include: Do we have a better service offering than our competitors? What are the biggest growth areas we can get into? What have we failed at the most?

I find that getting out of the office, taking a step back, and asking the hard questions often has had the biggest impact on Technossus’ success.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Only hire people who are a good culture fit. Building the company with the right people who could grow with it has been key to our continued success.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

We had some early bumps in the road learning that clients need help defining and envisioning solutions, not just help implementing them. Now we focus equally on providing high-quality technology solutions and being a trusted advisor for our clients’ businesses.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I would love to see a great service that curates all the media content you create so people aren’t overwhelmed with thousands of pictures taken and never looked at, along with hours of video from your single-lens reflex camera or GoPro. It would be great to have a service that could pull highlights of key moments in your life and curate the most meaningful or impressive moments.

HTC’s Zoe app does something like this, but it only focuses on your phone’s digital media. We need something to centralize our media from all sources and give us a glimpse back into those key moments. Facebook does this by doing a yearly look-back, but something that does this on an ongoing basis would be great.

Tell us something about you that very few people know?

I wanted to major in philosophy in college. I graduated with nearly a minor in philosophy and thought till the day that I graduated that I made the wrong choice to pursue a computer science degree. Looking back, those were by far my most impactful classes, but the major in computer science was hands-down the best decision I have ever made. Being in the software industry at this time in history is the best place that I could possibly be.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Flipboard is the app I use most for checking all things news-related. My favorite sources include Inc. magazine and the tech, science, and startup news curated feeds.

MightyText is my favorite app or service that I started using this year. You install the app on your Android phone, and it will allow you to send, receive, or get notified of SMS messages on your computer. This has helped me not break stride when I’m working by having to constantly send messages on my phone. I receive 50 to 100 or more messages a day, so it has been a huge time saver for me.

Lastly, I use Adobe Lightroom for personal use only. Photography is a small hobby. The terabyte of photos we’ve accumulated over the years would be lost and unrefined without this service.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

• “Good to Great” by Jim Collins: I first read this book when I was getting our business up and running. It helped us establish our core concepts of focusing on hiring the right people first and then working together on the most important areas of the business. In the years of growing from five to 50 and from 50 to 100, everyone’s day-to-day has changed drastically. Everyone grew together because they’re extremely talented and are the right fit.

• “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins: I enjoy books that inspire large mental paradigm shifts, and this book did that for me. The original reference to the word “meme” was in a later chapter and had a huge impact.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

• Inc. magazine
• Fast Company
• TED Talks
• Jim Collins
• Richard Branson


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