The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast

Dean Nelson

March 28, 2023 Chris & Zoë Season 1 Episode 35
Dean Nelson
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
More Info
The Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast
Dean Nelson
Mar 28, 2023 Season 1 Episode 35
Chris & Zoë

Our guest today is Dean Nelson, a technology executive, a board member and advisor and investor and advocate, and philanthropist.

We talk with Dean about how he got into technology and what his secret is for not going insane while balancing and finding effectiveness across such a diverse range of roles.

We discuss the importance of community and how to build it, how management is about enabling people, and the importance of having effective teams to execute large-scale projects.

Think bigger.
Because what you think is big right now will be small in the future.
It all gets bigger. The impact gets bigger. The technology gets bigger the technology, the challenges get bigger.
Just think bigger.

Dean's Links:


Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Show Notes Transcript

Our guest today is Dean Nelson, a technology executive, a board member and advisor and investor and advocate, and philanthropist.

We talk with Dean about how he got into technology and what his secret is for not going insane while balancing and finding effectiveness across such a diverse range of roles.

We discuss the importance of community and how to build it, how management is about enabling people, and the importance of having effective teams to execute large-scale projects.

Think bigger.
Because what you think is big right now will be small in the future.
It all gets bigger. The impact gets bigger. The technology gets bigger the technology, the challenges get bigger.
Just think bigger.

Dean's Links:


Thanks for being an imposter - a part of the Imposter Syndrome Network (ISN)!

We'd love it if you connected with us on LinkedIn:

Make it a great day.

Blame the robots for any mistakes...

[00:00:00] Chris: Hello and welcome to the Imposter Syndrome Network Podcast where everyone belongs, especially if you think you don't. My name is Chris Grundman and I'm here today as ever with my co-host, the Lady with the Inscrutable accent, the one and only Zoe Rose. Hello, this is the Dean Nelson. And you are going to be glad you tuned in.

[00:00:29] Chris: Dean is a technology executive, a board member, an advisor, an investor and advocate, and a philanthropist.

[00:00:39] Chris: Hi Dean, would you like to introduce yourself a bit further to the imposter syndrome network? 

[00:00:44] Dean: Yeah, great for, uh, meeting you guys and thanks for having me on. So, Dean Nelson, I'm, I'm based in the Bay Area, uh, Northern California and it's been in technology my entire career. 

[00:00:53] Chris: Excellent. Thank you. We're gonna dive into much of this in much more detail, but before I do that, I, I do wanna ask the question that's likely on the mind of anyone who reads over your resume or LinkedIn page.

[00:01:07] Chris: You've got a podcast, a foundation, you're an advisor to multiple high profile technology companies, and you're a chairman and you're a CEO. and those are different organizations. So the question is, how do you do it? How do you balance and find effectiveness across such a wide array of roles, responsibilities, organizations.

[00:01:25] Chris: And not just turn into a total madman . 

[00:01:27] Dean: I guess I am a madman already. What's funny is if you think of personality types, there's so much ADHD going on here if you just think about that. I love, my synapses are firing a lot and so there's a lot of things that I like to be involved in, and so I'm not a pick one thing and just do that one thing.

[00:01:46] Dean: What I do and what I've learned really in, I'd say the last, you know, couple decades, is that I'm picking things that are complimentary. That's really important. You can only have so much time in a day, and if there's a way that you can go back and compound the impact of what you're doing, it's really powerful.

[00:02:02] Dean: And for me, I'm very purpose driven, so I, I, I want to go after things that are gonna make a difference, especially at this stage of my career, because it really is about, I don't know, leaving something better behind than, than what you, uh, you know, you came in with. And there's a lot of, I don't know, fluff from a lot of things on with people around that.

[00:02:20] Dean: From my perspective, it's. I like to live it. And so to answer your question, Chris, the, the connection here between all of them is that it's all around technology and people, right? And the impact across, uh, four things we do at the group called Infrastructure Masons. That's education, diversity, inclusion, sustainability and technology.

[00:02:40] Zoe: In the positions plural, uh, that you host or hold, do you ever feel like, obviously people look at you for guidance. Is there ever a situation where you're like, oh, I dunno if I'm the right person to talk to, or you ever feel like you're not actually smart enough to give that guidance? And how do you overcome it and where do you go to, I suppose, continue forward and grow when you are the most senior person?

[00:03:06] Dean: I look at this as, um, a series of events that have led me into situations that I'm really surprised I'm in. So I don't know if that's an imposter syndrome. It's just more of a, I can't believe I'm here, kind of thing, if that makes sense. You know, where I came from, how I grew up, you know, all those different things added to, to who I am.

[00:03:27] Dean: But in the end of I'm thinking, okay, I'm a guy from Colorado. Uh, I grew up there. I didn't have much exposure to the world. And now I'm basically running a startup company and a global organization around, right? Professional associations and all that. And thinking like, how do they get here? How did the, how do they get the opportunities of it?

[00:03:46] Dean: And I, my daughter and I talk about this a lot, and it really comes down to the key is that , you can never forget where you came from, right? There's always somebody across the seat from you that's smarter than you are. There's always right. People are people, but in the end of it, if you start believing your own hype and you believe.

[00:04:05] Dean: You know, those things. That's kind of the downfall personally for me. Uh, so I try to keep it real in everything that I do and think about people. But to answer your question specifically, it's, I remember a situation when I first started in tech and, uh, I worked at a company called Sun Microsystems. I'm sure if you remember that company, back in the day, it was, you know, it was the dot, so they ran 80% of the internet, right.

[00:04:31] Dean: Infrastructure wise, the, the hardware and the software. They developed, uh, was running the backbone of what's going on. And I remember going into, uh, manufacturing my first day job fixing, right? It was a electronic technician fixing the, the, uh, elements on the side of these motherboards and things. And I remember going to meetings and, and they asked me to, uh, to take minutes.

[00:04:53] Dean: Okay? And so, sounds simple, you're gonna laugh at this, but minutes I thought was, I need to record everyth. And verbatim. I sat there and went like, and typed everything I could as I'm listening to people, right? And I put that in and then I emailed it. Everyone's like, wow, this is very thorough. , minutes are summaries,

[00:05:14] Dean: I'm like, oh, gotcha, gotcha. So there's so many little situations like that, you know, throughout the career where you're like, I didn't quite understand what they meant, but in the end of it, you feel like a, oh my God, , I'm an idiot. What did I do? How did that, how did that, That was one of those situations really early on.

[00:05:30] Dean: I was 21 right. Working at a tech company in Silicon Valley, which first time I'd ever been to, you know, into the Silicon Valley itself. So I, that was a bit of imposter, I think. I kept thinking, how did I get here, , I don't, I don't know what I'm doing yet. Right. I have no clue. But I've always been a person that has, um, has curiosity.

[00:05:51] Dean: I dunno if you've heard that, but, you know, just the, the way that from a technology standpoint, I always love to figure out how things worked. And so, and with that, you're always okay to just kind of dive in head first. And you get yourself in deep waters and you're thinking, all right, I gotta figure out how to swim with this one.

[00:06:07] Dean: And then you realize, okay, I, I'm here and I don't know how to do this, but I'm gonna sink my, take teeth in and, and learn it. So that's, that's been a lot of, uh, I'd say my career. It just, things happened and opportunities presented themselves and I would go for it. And mostly because I was curious. And from there I wanted to understand what it meant.

[00:06:26] Dean: I wanted understand how it worked, I wanted how understand how those pieces fit together. I wanted to connect those dots and, and from there, that opened up the next opportunity. And then it was, I have no idea what this works. And then, then you just keep repeating that process. I dunno that that's always turned my crank from when I was young.

[00:06:42] Dean: How to, how, how things work and the curiosity factor. 

[00:06:45] Chris: Yeah. That resonates with me for sure. Especially that kind of, you know, figuring it out and then wanting to figure out the next thing and, and, and then the next thing. But maybe if we roll it back to the first thing, how did you get involved in technology in the first place?

[00:06:57] Chris: Right? I mean, how, how did you go from kind of growing up in Colorado to. Eventually you're in, you know, at that first job in Silicon Valley. But why, why technology? Why Dean? How did that come together? , 

[00:07:06] Dean: I had, uh, originally was doing art and other things, so I, I graduated high school and thought I could go back and get a job and make a lot of money.

[00:07:13] Dean: You know, I was, I was that smart kid, I'll just be able to do it. I don't need to go to college, blah, blah, blah. And, uh, realized after working temporary jobs and everything else that my God, I'm putting a lot of effort in this. I'm not having fun and I don't, this just doesn't seem right. So I went and started looking at the things I like to.

[00:07:29] Dean: And art was one of them. Creativity and those things. And I was talking to my dad and he said, well, you're really good at electronics. You aced all those classes in high school. Wouldn't you consider that? And I thought, Hmm. So I went and um, I went to a trade school. My mom and I toured, uh, down in Arizona and I went to DeVry.

[00:07:46] Dean: And that trade school taught me all the basics. And uh, it was great. It was a two year associate's degree, and then Sun Microsystems came in and hired, you know, half of our graduating class. And they said, you're going to Silicon Valley. And I'm like, great. What's that? I literally had zero idea about any of it.

[00:08:02] Dean: It was just California. Like Oh great LA No, it's San Francisco. Okay, I heard of that. So the, anyway, just kind of going from Colorado, that direction and then hit in the coast and then I went into the fire. But it was phenomenal. Like I, I think I got so lucky that the things that happened that led me up to that, cuz Sun Microsystems was a great company and I mean, great actually from the Definit.

[00:08:25] Dean: Everything that I learned, uh, to set the foundation, whether it was management, technology, leadership, right, finance strategy, business development, like all of that stuff was woven together into the different opportunities side of sun. And they allowed you to explore it, which again, fire is right on my ADHD.

[00:08:43] Dean: So it was like, I, I, okay, I love that. I wanna do this one. Hey, great, great. And they send you off and you learn this part. And then, so it was an environment that that actually led to it. really. It started from curiosity at a young age, and then guidance from my dad when it came down to you should explore this.

[00:08:58] Dean: And then when I started exploring that, I really, really liked it. And what was great is Sun actually paid for another degree in desktop publishing for me. So I still got my other outlet when it came to creativity. Right. And I still use that to this day. When you think of all the stuff that we do, I'm able to guide a lot of the marketing decisions and the graphic designs and those things.

[00:09:16] Dean: This, I really love that stuff too. And then it more synapses. So it all, like I said, keeps weaving into this kind of, I don't know, disparate set of experiences and events and opportunities that now have woven into, I guess me and who I am today, right? Is because of all those things that happened and the sequence they did, and all the people along the way that that saw and gave him the opportunity to explore and do those things, I would.

[00:09:45] Dean: This is no way any of this would happen without them. That network of people. 

[00:09:49] Zoe: Yeah, that's definitely an apportion point, is that community and um, building it and helping guide you almost. I mean, in my career, I think one of the most effective trainings that I took was a writing course has nothing to do with technology, but I think, I don't remember the reason we took it.

[00:10:06] Zoe: I think they wanted to make our pen test reports. And so they made our entire team do a writing course. And I wasn't super excited at the time, however, I was surprised at how much it improved my relationships because I was able to write, even my emails better. And this is in the uk where like sometimes people are very, very formal and then sometimes they're like super opposites.

[00:10:30] Zoe: And I got in trouble once for putting a smiley face in an email. So . Oh my god. Yeah. So I, I, uh, had to learn. Um, but it was just, yeah, it, it, it built, it built my relationships much better. And it was something as silly as a writing course, although if you're a, you know, a language person, that probably is offensive

[00:10:49] Zoe: But, um, and I also really like the point you made about having the ability to grow because I think some organizations, sometimes they stick us in a role and then expect us to do that role and only that role, which works for some people, but does not work for. . So I like, I like that. That's how kind of you branched out.

[00:11:12] Dean: You know, there's, there's a really important point in there, and I think, uh, a mistake that a lot of us have made in the past around aligning people into things that are gonna make them thrive. So people look at like individual contributors, and you know what they do, and they're kicking ass, right?

[00:11:27] Dean: They're like, oh my God. They keep, they're, they're out output, their quality, their effectiveness, et cetera. Then we say, we should make up a manager, . Because of course, that's the natural step. Well, guess what? There are people that actually like management, that are good at management that choose the path of management.

[00:11:43] Dean: That there are individual contributors that are really good at technology and want to be that and you. That's what I'm saying. The opportunities you give, you give the opportunity. But if you're biasing that thing to say that, well, that is the next step. You're setting him up for failure. And look, I, I had this debate with myself.

[00:12:01] Dean: I, when I was at Sun in 1998, Right . I remember, shoot one of my managers, I really liked him. He, he was very helpful, but he kept saying, Hey, you need to be an, uh, a manager. And, um, and he said, cuz this and this and this. I'm like, no, no, no, no. I, I had more values than ic. I know that. Then he very wisely tried to, to change something in it.

[00:12:22] Dean: He basically said, okay, I just want you to lead a team here. Just be the technical lead for this. Okay. And, and, uh, you know, take this on. Here's the project, right? And I'm like, okay, great. And I'm doing the majority of the work, whatever. And then I'm like, wait a second. So we get the team in. I'm like, I need to give them the opportunity.

[00:12:36] Dean: So I'm learning this as I'm going, right? And then I get these in, I'm like, wow, this is actually really cool to lead technical ics. I like it. You know what I mean? And then I realized, oh my God, the amount of work we can get done when everybody's aligned on something. And when you really have the people that are saying, oh, and then they're all excited about it, and then they're thinking about it when they wake up, they're like, you know, it's just, you don't have to force.

[00:13:00] Dean: And so then that led me into like, I kind of like this, this thing. And then I thought, I think I could be effective at that, where I resisted it three different times to becoming a manager specifically because I thought, I, I, I just won't be very good at that, you know? And maybe that lines to your imposter syndrome of it.

[00:13:17] Dean: It's like, I don't know. But again, wisely, um, he had positioned me to explore it. He didn't force me. He basically said, I think you'd be really good at this, but why don't we start with this? You take a chance, take a look. And then that led into a path that really went that way. And I enjoyed the technology, but now I realize I could have a bigger impact by leading technologists.

[00:13:39] Dean: And that that was a moment, I think, in the career, a real shift into it. But if we force people in that direction because we believe that's what they, they have want to do, right? Because that's what I did, , you're setting them up for failure. Every person has their own individual thing and they have to have the right motivation, and they have to have the right, I guess we're all wired differently.

[00:14:02] Dean: And so understanding how those people are wired and understanding what turns their crank and how, how they do things, and then giving them opportunities to expand it, cuz everybody should be, you know, stretched to learn. But in the end of it, making sure you don't set 'em up. So think about all the, the layoffs and the challenges and HR issues and all those things that come up.

[00:14:21] Dean: I believe the majority of those are coming back from not understanding. The other people at that table is when you can understand and appreci. 

[00:14:28] Chris: Yeah, I think there's a lot of, um, misconceptions about what, what management is, what leadership is, to your point, right? It's really about enabling folks. I, I like that point that you make about, you know, providing opportunity without prescribing what the next step is.

[00:14:40] Chris: I think that's, that's super important. We had another manager, and actually similarly, a, a technologist who she fought kind of tooth and nail to not become a manager for a long time. Thought that it was gonna be the ruin of her, uh, became a manager and just loved it. Took to it like water. Uh, Leslie Car.

[00:14:53] Chris: She was on a few episodes. And, um, she talked about it as that, you know, her job is to basically help people do things they didn't know they could do. And that's kinda how she looks at management, which I think is, is in similar lines what you're saying here. It's really interesting.

[00:15:06] Dean: I wanna work for her.

[00:15:07] Chris: Yeah, exactly. . Exactly right. So, so through all of this, right, I mean, you know, we haven't listed everything out, but I mean, you've worked at Uber, at eBay, at PayPal. I think you actually helped combine Uber and PayPal together. You know, the networking. Sun Microsystems that we talked about, Allegro, I mean, lots of places and obviously now have, have quite a few positions on your plate.

[00:15:25] Chris: What's the favorite job or, or role you've had throughout your career so far? 

[00:15:30] Dean: Huh? My favorite, uh, job or role? 

[00:15:33] Chris: Yeah, I'm, I'm leaving it a little bit open. Yeah, cuz because not everything's a job, but may, maybe it was one project you worked on at one company or, I, I don't know. What was the, you know, have you had a kind of a highlight from your kind of personal experience of, of being in that position so far?

[00:15:45] Dean: I'm gonna give you two, like previous career and currently. In the past, I really liked, uh, what we were doing at eBay in the beginning, and what that was was really disruptive and disruptive from an innovation standpoint. And what was was amazing about that was when you get the right team of people together that can actually just challenge the status quo, break the norms and try stuff.

[00:16:07] Dean: You know, we built data centers with fuel cells and Right. It's primary power never been done before. Right. We went super dense in hardware, right. Everybody was counter. And we kept doing and we kept just pushing the needle on it, and I really loved it. But the reason was, again, those people that were in the team actually love what they're doing.

[00:16:27] Dean: They liked working together. They had an environment which they could explore. They were not pain wise when it came down to making mistakes. Right. The whole point was just tell me what you're gonna do. I know things are gonna go wrong, let me know and we'll adjust. That type of thing. We made an environment right that that allowed this to happen and so that was probably one of my favorite experiences in all of it is just the, when you get a combination of a team and a mission and the means you can make magic.

[00:16:59] Dean: It's just so Right. Uh, rewarding to watch that, you know, and, and see that happen. 

[00:17:06] Chris: Yeah. I feel it. Right. I think you can kind of feel those stars align and, and stuff clicks into place and, yeah. 

[00:17:11] Dean: Yeah. But if you think of all the pieces that have to come together, that the company that allows it, the leadership team that as they enables it, empowers and funds it, and then the team that actually is now right together to do it, and the alignment around those folks.

[00:17:24] Dean: And then the, the mission is staying on track of what you're trying to do. That's a lot of pieces. It's kind of stars aligning and I would bet there's a lot of people out there that have been in teams like that. And that would be a similar thing to one of the most, I guess, rewarding parts of their career.

[00:17:39] Dean: You know, not financially, not the other stuff. We all get rewarded that way, but I'm saying in front of just accomplishment, like you felt you made a difference and did something. So I would say that's, that's kind of in the past one of those, cause I had a bunch of those at Sun that really, again, culture-wise, it was incredible.

[00:17:53] Dean: But today, I think. It's a combination of two things. One is what's going on with Infrastructure masons and infrastructure Masons is a professional association, right? So we, we have all these people around the world that are coming again together on these four things. Education, diversity, inclusion, sustainability and technology.

[00:18:10] Dean: And what's come out of that is a thing called the iMasons Climate Accord. And this is the first time in our industry where we've united a whole bunch of companies on addressing climate change. In our industry specifically, we have over 180 companies who signed up for the Climate Accord. This is aws, Google Meta, Microsoft, Schneider, Cisco.

[00:18:30] Dean: Like big companies, right? And then 75 co-location companies and software companies. And product companies. Why? Because we're all aligned on the same goal. So that, and then my own company, Cato Digital. We are contributing to it, just like the other 179 plus companies on how we can go back and get to carbon neutrality.

[00:18:51] Dean: That's the first step towards net zero. Cause all of us are frustrated, we're not moving fast enough and we have kids that are gonna have to live in the future that we're making. So we have to do something about it. So I would say from a reward standpoint, to me, this is where we're bringing together the industry and all these people and lining them on a program.

[00:19:09] Dean: That is nonprofit. Like it's, this is about what we're trying to accomplish. And then I'm able to go back and say, cool, what is my startup company gonna do for that? What am I contributing to it? And so I think personally these two efforts will have the most impact of anything I've ever done in my 33 year career.

[00:19:29] Dean: That is important to me. Cuz in the end of it, if we can't, we make money, we make technology, we make like, but all that stuff goes. It doesn't honestly matter. It's the relationships and the life we live. And for me, it's the legacy we leave behind and the impact that we have that make the difference. And so that's why I'm saying I think there's, there's stuff I'm working on now that I'm really, really passionate about that, that I think is going to make a better world from our industry standpoint.

[00:19:57] Zoe: All the points that you talked about just now are all intrinsic motivators. So we obviously, extrinsic motivators are important, you know, financial gain and everything, and you know, rewarding versus punishing, but the part that really motivates you is that intrinsic being a part of something bigger, making a difference, being a part of a good community.

[00:20:17] Zoe: All of those points, and I think organizations. Really forget that a lot of the time is if they really want people to be effective in the role, they have to feel like they're valued. They have to feel like their values and behaviors are listened and respected. They have to feel like they're making a difference in the world.

[00:20:37] Zoe: And I think what those big organizations that you've mentioned, what some of them do, They understand that point and so they can motivate their employees and it becomes this, I don't even know how to say it. It's not, it's not, I'm doing my job, it's, I'm making a difference and my job's allowing me to do that, I suppose.

[00:20:56] Zoe: So it's like the more long-term engagement. And actually as a manager, I've noticed that if I enable my team to do what they want to do, even if it's not their favorite task in that job, they're more effective. So, you know, if you, if you actually take those intrinsic motivators and apply it to people's roles, it's going to be a lot more innovative and I think solve much bigger problems.

[00:21:21] Zoe: So that's really cool. I like it. , 

[00:21:24] Dean: you know, there's two, two parts of that, by the way. The inclusiveness and being part of something bigger purpose, right? So when you have organizations that truly have that alignment, like my opinion matters, what I'm doing is important. And it's because of this bigger purpose that we're going after, you're gonna get 10 times the amount output.

[00:21:41] Dean: Because without it, everybody's like, I'm going to a job, I'm gonna do this one. I have to leave cuz I'm gonna do other things that I like to do. But if you can get that motivation, it's incredible. 

[00:21:51] Zoe: And also, and also I've also noticed that if people are struggling and they're in that safe environment, they feel safe to say, I need help.

[00:21:59] Zoe: I can't do this. And then I can give them the proper training or I can, you know, put them on a training course or maybe shift their jobs slightly because they feel safe to speak up as well, so they're not just failing over and over again. And then leave. 

[00:22:13] Dean: You know. Can I, can I go into one part of that? Cuz I think it's really important as well and that is that never forgetting where you came from, never forgetting again that you were on the other side of that table.

[00:22:23] Dean: Treating people with respect, treating them right as a relationship. Cause as a manager, it's tough. When you think about, there's the, you have to support the company, you have to support what's going on. But that's why iMasons is, I think, very important for us. We leave our companies at the door. We connect as individuals, professionals, right?

[00:22:43] Dean: And because we don't care where you work, we don't care. Uh, we care about you. Your experience, your input, those things. And when you change jobs, not if, when you change jobs or. We want you involved. It's not because you work at Google, you get this one or you work at this other company, right? It's you who happens to have a history that happen to work at Google or work at Google.

[00:23:03] Dean: But on your next thing, I still want your input because your experience and everything else is very unique and very, very valuable. And that, that to me is where it's a struggle between, uh, from a management standpoint you have to for, to basically manage the environment. But if you can continue to understand the people across the table because they're gonna be wired different than.

[00:23:23] Dean: And that's okay. And it should be that way because you're gonna have better teams from it. Then you understand how to engage with them. Thirdly, I think that you look at the, the tough conversations. Those, uh, it, it's, people talk about ripping the bandaid off, whatever, but in the end of it, you should be having these conversations with people as people in the end of it saying, asking the question, how you doing?

[00:23:45] Dean: Right. And again, the, the comfort level like you, and being able to be vulnerable about that stuff is like, Hey, this sounds like it looks like it might be a challenge. Let's think together. Cuz nobody wants to fail. No one wants to do a bad job, , right? And so, and then if you have to make a hard decision, how do you go back and make that decision that helps the person at the same time?

[00:24:05] Dean: And no matter what, you're never gonna satisfy everybody. But if you do right by them in all the best ways you can. Right? Again, it's a human. And, and, uh, , I remember in a management course I agreed and then disagreed with it, which was no good deed goes unpunished. And, and I saw it firsthand because when you're talking about layoffs, right, having to reduce force and those things, it does not help when you go back and start to right.

[00:24:33] Dean: The emotional aspects and all that. People just wanna know what's happen. They wanna be treated with respect and they want you to help you with what they can help. And I've had a lot of those conversations. It's very, very difficult. But in the end of it, if you treat them with respect and you're very straightforward with them.

[00:24:47] Dean: You know what I mean in that one. And then you assist where you can, because a lot of times people are gonna say, I just don't, I, I don't wanna be associated with you. Totally understand. You let me know how I can help. I understand this is hard, right? That, that part. So in management, I, I anyway, that no dude deed goes unpunished.

[00:25:04] Dean: When you start to go back and make all these other things, then you, all of a sudden you're impacting one person instead of others. So you have to tow that line. But in the. It goes back to how do you help that person outside? You gonna connect them with other people. You're gonna do something, you gonna help them get to the next job.

[00:25:19] Dean: Yeah. To me, that's the human part of it. If you're not, then you're just the coldhearted machine that churns people through. And I don't wanna be remembered that way, . I wanna know I made a network of people and help them every way I can. And the mistakes I made, I hope they can forgive me for 

[00:25:36] Zoe: No, that's a really good point.

[00:25:37] Zoe: So the last question that I had was slightly more career ish, I guess. What does a typical day look like for you? You're sat here right now in a data center, so that's unique. I'm slightly jealous, but, um, , what does your day look like normally? 

[00:25:54] Dean: Well, it, it hits all my synapses. Again, when you think about it, if you look at my calendar, I've got this meeting.

[00:25:59] Dean: Totally different company, totally different thing. Totally. Like they're back, they're back to back meetings. But they're all types of topics. I. That I can do a quick shift back and forth to there. And then, and then again, I, I look at, I'm a creative person, so I, I'm an idea generator. And when you think about just the profile, I have to have people around me that are very operational, realistic, right?

[00:26:22] Dean: That I can actually follow through on those pieces. When you have that, you can do this, if not, you're just talking a lot and you're starting things and never finishing anything. So when you get a team of people together, so for me, like I've. Teams at each of these companies that help me because in the end of it, I can see I, I can connect dots really quick.

[00:26:41] Dean: I can create that picture really quick. I can understand all those pieces fit together. And so, but if you got a bunch of people that are like that, then they talk about a lot of things and never get anything done. But if you have a combination of those to say, great, how do operationalize that? Great. What about the challenges, risks?

[00:26:56] Dean: And a lot of people see that as a negative. It's like, no, no, no, no, no. You need that. Tension between to make sure you're gonna get something that's the right thing that's gonna be achievable. And so I would say in my day, I've got a bunch of meetings that are just constantly that way and I travel a lot.

[00:27:13] Dean: It's funny, I, I I tallied, uh, earlier last year and I'd done 38 trips in 38 weeks. I'm like, my goodness. Right? So, cause I'm all over. But it's same pattern. I love the travel, I love the interaction, I love the ability to say, oh, I'm in iMasons meetings for the next two hours, then I'm doing a Cato meeting, right?

[00:27:31] Dean: Then I'm doing some other consulting meeting that like it's, and I'm doing a podcast. Excellent. Cause when I hit the next hour, we go to the next thing. But the only way that's fun, that's functional is when you've got teams to say, great, I see the seven pieces. We're putting these together. Cool. And we're gonna make sure these are followed up.

[00:27:47] Dean: That's my day every day . And I like it and I wake up going, what's, what's on the agenda today? You know, that's, that's it. Turns my crank, drives some other people crazy, but turns my crank . 

[00:28:00] Chris: Yeah. Yeah. Definitely not a job for everyone, but, uh, but yeah, and I, I think you're right, right? Having those effective teams to execute on things that you're kind of drawing those dots on, you know, I'm sure that's what makes it possible.

[00:28:09] Chris: If you didn't have that, I think you, you got you insane as well. 

[00:28:13] Dean: Yeah, cuz I feel like, oh, we can get all this done and then we never get anything done. It's, that's, that is, again, if you look at, if you've ever done Myers Briggs profiles. Myers Briggs, right. If you look at that, I'm mean E N ENFP. Right. I have ISTJs that worked with me and I drove them nuts until we had a conversation and I realized that they think I'm telling them what to do when I'm actually asking them to think with me.

[00:28:37] Dean: They're like, I, I, they're trying to figure out all the different things. I'm like, no, no, no. I just, I just wanna explore. Nothing to do. Let's just have a conversation right now. And all the relief goes, you know, because now we can have a conversation. Now what are we gonna do? Cool. Out of those 12 things, let's do that.

[00:28:51] Dean: You know, it's, you gotta understand people. You have to, and you have to do not make assumptions about those people because it'll always be wrong, cuz they're not you, you are you, they are them. And you need to make sure that you understand so that you can be more effective. 

[00:29:04] Chris: Absolutely. Well, it's that time, unfortunately.

[00:29:08] Chris: Uh, out of the 12 or so things we wanted to talk to you about, we've hit maybe six, um, uh, , but, uh, we have to leave it there for today. Dean, thank you so much for joining us and for sharing your story, uh, and your advice with the Imposter Syndrome Network. And thank you to our imposter network. For your time, your attention, and your support, check us out on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube.

[00:29:30] Chris: Instagram and Patreon. If you're into those things, be sure to tell a friend about this show if you found it valuable. Now, before we shut off the lights completely here, Dean, I do have one more question for you. Let's pretend there's a young Dean Nelson, who's just starting his career right now in in 2023, and you have a chance to pass him a single piece of advice.

[00:29:50] Chris: What is it? ? 

[00:29:52] Dean: Think bigger. Think bigger, because what you think is big right now will be small in the future. It all gets bigger. The impact gets bigger, the technology gets bigger, the technology, the challenges get bigger. Just think bigger. 

[00:30:06] Chris: I love it. We covered a lot of ground today. Are there any other projects that you would like us to know about or one you want to highlight again for the Imposter Network?

[00:30:15] Dean: Yeah, two things. Uh, one is everybody needs to go to the climate accord, or sorry, climate So climate Take a look there because that's the work we're doing around. Actually helping from a sustainability standpoint and digital infrastructure. And the other one is we need more talent.

[00:30:31] Dean: So imas has got a scholarship program, and if there are people out there that are interested in the industry itself, go to imas. So Im a O N Take a look at it because we've got now, I think, 23 different universities with a whole bunch of different programs, and we are granting scholarships every.

[00:30:50] Dean: So we'd love to have that. And then last one is go to Cato Digital. We're doing low cost, carbon free compute to go back and help the planet. I can't wait to roll this stuff back out. 2023 is gonna fricking rock.

[00:31:01] Chris: Awesome. That's fantastic. If folks want to connect with you personally, is there a place they can do that?

[00:31:05] Chris: Maybe social media or something like that, that they could find you and, and have a conversation? 

[00:31:09] Dean: Yeah. Uh, LinkedIn's best, so just connect with me there. I'm constantly updating and, and love the platform. 

[00:31:14] Chris: Fabulous. We will have all those links in the show notes if you're curious to click on them and, uh, we'll be back next week.