I know many will talk about “thinking outside of the box” but I would rather make sure I have assessed every aspect of a problem or challenge – a 360-degree analysis.
Sam Tenorio III is a successful Account Manager at General DataTech, L.P. (“GDT”) based in Dallas, Texas. His early childhood was spent in California before moving to Austin Texas in his teenage years.
Shortly after attending Southwest Texas University, Sam began working for a consulting firm in Dallas and then later moved back to the Austin area where he began a career in the real estate industry, specializing in commercial and residential financing. At the suggestion of an old friend, Sam then moved into technology sales, making a career change from crunching numbers in real estate financing to crunching numbers in the technology industry.
Sam Tenorio III joined GDT approximately five years ago and has accelerated his career trajectory from regional account manager to developing a team of engineers that work almost exclusively on design and deployment of solutions for VMware.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I wake up at five in the morning and head to the gym, battle my thoughts, and talk to my coach, Robert Tweedie about what we are going to accomplish for the day. I also get together with various team members to make sure we are all on the same page and find out where everyone is headed for the day and what they need to accomplish. Then I usually have meetings to attend, whether I am flying all over the US to meet with customers in person or just having phone meetings. After all that has been addressed, I go through my day and end with having dinner, most evenings, with a client. When my day is finished, I head to the hotel or home, depending on where I am at that time. I like to sit at my desk and quietly summarize what we did that day. Typically, I send notes out to my team still making sure that we are all on the same page, as well as talking about what we have accomplished today and what we need to accomplish the next day.
How do you bring new ideas to life?
Through constant self-assessment and self-improvement, I would say. I am constantly doing a self-assessment of myself as well as others to make sure that I am not missing anything. This helps to identify new opportunities or things that need attention and using the new ideas to resolve problems when you identify them. I know many will talk about “thinking outside of the box” but I would rather make sure I have assessed every aspect of a problem or challenge – a 360-degree analysis. Only then can I possiblt develop the right solution.
What is one trend that excites you?
The commoditization of hardware and the importance of software, as both are essential in my career. Software becomes more and more important every day and then you have the hardware where you store the digital information. I think they are both equally important. It is an especially exciting time in the technology industry.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Again, I would say that it is self-assessment, how much drive you have and how many hours you are willing to put in to make it all work and flow in a cohesive and successful way. But, to answer your question, it is my whiteboard! My whiteboard enables me to be creative as well as to put down my random thoughts so that I can go back later and look at them. Brainstorming with others also helps me a great deal as well.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self to listen more. As I have gotten older, I have found that the more I listen to customers and hear what they have to say, the more my work performance has improved. This has, in turn, enabled me to provide a better service. I wish my younger self had known this a bit sooner. I am certainly glad I have that ability incorporated into my professional life now, however.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?
When I was going against the use of Cisco Systems, ACI solution versus NSF’s VMWare’s software to discover networking which is known as NXS. On one hand, Cisco’s ACI offers the widest networking platform while on the other hand, NXS is a virtualization platform. At the time, no one believed that VMWare was capable of producing the software necessary to develop network architecture that was superior to Cisco ACI. The engineers that I work with at GDT really had doubts about the functionality of NXS. The hardest decision I had to make was that, despite my colleague’s views about NXS, I relentlessly moved forward introducing my customers to this exciting new technology. I built and developed my team around NXS and VMware’s best practices. I was years ahead of everyone else in both the engineering and technological path by making that decision. I would say that is a great example of something that was true that my colleagues didn’t agree with.
As an entrepreneur what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everybody else do?
I would again say to listen. You have to listen! You have to be open to other people’s ideas and you have to learn to say “no” as well. It is not always an easy thing to say “no” but it is a necessary one in order to stay focused.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
In all honesty, everything I do is strategic. This all started with the new idea to switch professions and I never gave up. I continued looking for more business to grow my client base on a consistent basis and did not give up. I never lost touch with the business and never tried pushing things off on someone else to handle, which helped ne as well. I am very self-reliant.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur and how did you overcome it?
I would not say that I have had just one failure, as I do not think anyone has just one single failure.
I think that each problem, or failure if you will, has led me to where I am today and helped me to build this into something even better. Every failure has been an opportunity for me to learn and do things in a different way. You may look at it as a failure at the time, however, once you’ve made it through a particular challenge, you can turn it into wisdom and understanding, learning what not to do in the future. I do not have just one learning opportunity, I have had many. I try not to ever get discouraged and always recognize that I have gained experience which will help me in future.
What is one business idea you are willing to give away to our readers?
There are really not any great ideas or secrets about what to do. It is just a matter of following through and actually doing it. I could give a hundred people ten steps to success and say “you’ll be profitable and successful if you do these ten steps over and over again”. Only a small number of those people will actually do what it takes to make it happen. I feel the best business idea is to build a process, procedure and strategy and then follow through. Stay focused.
What is the best one hundred dollars you recently spent, on what and why?
I was in line at the grocery store behind a couple and their card was declined. I looked at the cashier as I pushed my groceries through and said I was going to pay for theirs as well. I just sort of paid it forward.
It was awkward even though I was trying to do a good deed and they were very grateful. I am one of those people who find it difficult to accept gratitude for doing nice things.
What is one piece of software or web service that helps you be productive?
Salesforce! This software is an excellent tool for our company. Salesforce can handle anything from your CRM to keeping track of your pipeline, all the way down to building and managing projects. It is just an all-around great tool to have.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
My mentor Robert Tweedie, has made me read a multitude of books but I don’t think there has been one that has really stood out. I have read quite a few books through this journey o but the majority of my reading is data sheets, technology specs, and learning about the different types of storage-switching and security, and things like that. However, I would say as far as a book goes, the “Story of Steve Jobs” is a must-read. He was such an innovator who experienced, great success, great failure and then great success again. Steve Jobs never held back. He had incredible drive. Steve always held his teams accountable. I try to follow Steve’s road map with my teams, as well.
What is your favorite quote?
It is not a quote as it is more of a word: Kaizen. It is a Japanese word that means constant improvement. I really like this word because I am always in a constant self- improvement mode. I am very open to new ideas that will help me become a better person both professionally and personally.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.