About my brand

Your image is not your brand
Photo: Kate Borgelt Photography

I’m mostly a tech start-up dude. See the need, create technology to meet the need. Repeat. That’s more “what I’ve done” than my brand. Bear with me, I’m getting there.

I love the culture of a start-up. People working collaboratively and unselfishly toward a common goal, places where playing hard and working hard aren’t necessarily separate activities. I’m always learning in these environments, in part because I’m always putting on different hats.

Even when I’ve worked in larger, more established organizations, it was because there was an opportunity to apply my start-up mentality. But the bulk of my career has been in smaller, more entrepreneurial companies.

Many years ago, I worked with an extraordinary coach named Shawna Simcik. My career had already been long enough that I was very aware of my strengths and weaknesses, things that motivate and energize, and so on. But like many introverts I needed help crafting this awareness into a message that I could deliver. To hiring managers, to peers, to recruiters, to anyone really.

At Shawna’s suggestion, this blog is one of the tools I’m using to craft and refine this message. I’ve found that the process of converting thoughts into blog posts has a very positive impact on me. It makes me want to have interesting thoughts (I have a lot of uninteresting thoughts too), to validate my thoughts through research, and then challenge myself as a writer to put those thoughts into the public domain.

My Brand

Developers like to play around with code in isolated environments where they can test their ideas. This type of environment is commonly called a sandbox because “the castle” can be molded and re-molded until you get it right.

I think of this blog as the sandbox for my personal brand. What’s a personal brand? I read this article on Undercover Recruiter that describes it as your unique promise of value. So what are the things that I do well – let’s say three things – that generate value for my employer:

  1. I create and lead high-performing teams, but maybe not the way some expect. To me, a high-performing team is more about chemistry than a collection of individual stars; more about a culture of respect and recognition than a “stick or carrot” management style. I’m pretty good as a recruiter of talent, but really excel as a developer of that talent. I’ve got mad coaching skills (the human capital variety) and find it rewarding to foster the growth of my people.
  2. This may seem odd coming from an entrepreneur, but I believe in structure. Developers are at their best when they commit to a methodology like Agile Scrum. Executives are at their best when they are committed to a strategic planning tool like a balanced scorecard. Roles and responsibilities are most clear when they align with the org structure. I have a strong track record of implementing agile to improve deliverability, creating clear goals that drive value, and reorganizing teams to maximize effectiveness.
  3. I’m totally geeked by technology innovation, but don’t consider myself an inventor. I’m better as the guy that takes inventions and brings them to market. I was schooled in the traditional product strategy model of vision statements and roadmaps, but am also intrigued by the fail-fast model made popular by mobile app stores. I can’t live without Apple devices and I hope to someday live with a Tesla in my garage.

If I distill these value-drivers into one-word labels, they are about people, process, and technology. These aren’t unique to me, but I gain a degree of uniqueness by focusing on them in the order listed. I find that within the technology industry and among those with very strong technical skills, there is a tendency to get the order reversed. After that, what makes my value proposition unique is really just me – my personality, my beliefs, my set of experiences.

Okay, enough babbling, let’s get to the brand statement.

“Through my belief in People, Process, and Technology – in that order – I help tech start-ups bring software to market.”


Unless otherwise credited, the views and opinions expressed on this website are my own and do not reflect the views of my employers or clients, past or present. The content is free to be republished provided you give attribution to this site as http://rickmatsumoto.com and it’s author, Rick Matsumoto.

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