The monthly Member Spotlight is an opportunity to learn more about a leader at one of our member companies and showcase the company. This month, we spotlight Chris O’Connor of Info-Tech Research Group.
What is your mobile device of choice, and why?
For me it really depends on the use case. I use an iPad for home use where it’s replaced our laptop for web browsing and email, and I use the HootSuite and Evernote apps to keep connected with and maintain records of my favourite news sources for storage, backup, and virtualization. I use a Kindle for personal reading (a Christmas gift from Info-Tech in 2011), and in terms of mobile phone, I don’t really have one *gasp*. When I’m not working, I’m with my wife and kids, and prefer to stay unplugged.
Who do you look to for inspiration, in business or your personal life?
Wow. I’ve had so many sources of inspiration over the years. I would say my biggest current source is my kids, who inspire me to think big. Their dreams and ideas are so unbounded by conventional thinking. In general, my parents always inspired me to work hard and respect everyone up front (don’t make them earn it), my grad school advisor (Dr. Ken McRae at Western) taught me never to be afraid to start over if it’s the right thing to do, and my favourite professor at Western, the late Dr. Richard Harshman, taught me to understand the base of any problem before you accept or presume to understand existing solutions. I keep all these sources of inspiration with me in my approach to life and my career.
What is the #1 business book you would recommend?
I continue to learn the most from talking with people. Whenever I start a research project, the first thing I think about is “Who can I talk with to get the right answers for this one?”, and usually it comes from Info-Tech clients or through contacts on social media. The technology landscape changes so fast. People that write books have already learned many of their lessons. I want to talk with people that haven’t had time to write a book yet, people that just got out of the trenches, so to speak. Business books definitely have a use, but think about this: If you spend an hour a night reading, that’s 10 half hour conversations you could have had in a business week and, with social media, experts are at your fingertips and surprisingly willing to tell you about their successes, and even their failures.
What keeps you up at night?
My kids (I’ve got 3 kids, 5 and under). But seriously, from a business perspective, I think most of my late night thinking has to do with improving current research, or helping our team become better people and analysts. How can we shape this research project, for example, to walk clients through this project, rather than just give them “best practices”? What advice, research, or perspective can I provide this client to give them the tools they need to make the right decision and be confident that they’ve done so? And how can I make sure my team has all the tools and resources they need to excel on this project and beyond?
Looking at your company’s future, what are you most enthusiastic about?
There’s a ton to be excited about at Info-Tech. We continue to grow and excel on a global scale, and the number of raving fans we have (our clients) continues to grow as well.
We’re hiring at many different positions, including Consulting Analysts and Senior Consulting Analysts, and all the while we maintain Info-Tech’s core values of delivering extraordinary value, expecting excellence, acting with integrity, getting things done and enjoying the work we do.
What corporate social responsibility efforts is Info-Tech involved in?
Info-Tech and selects a registered charity every two years and raises money in that time through various in-company events, raffles, BBQs and more. Our current charity is Habitat for Humanity (www.habitatforhumanity.org) and to date, we’ve raised over $10,000, well on our way to our goal of $20,000.
We have also been supporting a foster child with Plan Canada (www.plancanada.ca) for over 10 years, and have supported the Kids Country Club for Parents of Technologically Dependent Children of Ontario (www.ptdc.on.ca) in various capacities, including the hosting of an annual Christmas party.
All our volunteer and financial contributions come 100% from Info-Tech employees.
Learn more about Info-Tech Research Group by checking out their member profile.