Being a startup without starting your own business

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Four questions with Red Hat’s Patrick Regan

With a background in is computer science and technical operations engineering — as well as a decade of professional IT experience — Patrick Regan now works as a Cloud Specialist Solutions Architect with Red Hat Technologies. His experience as both a software and operations engineer makes him passionate about DevOps and promoting collaboration within technical organizations. For a sneak peek at what he’ll be sharing at Flight on December 2 in Akron, we asked him four questions, which he took liberties answering. To register for Flight

1.) What do you wish you understood when you were getting started?

Three things actually (I know it’s cheating):

  • You don’t have to have your own business to be a startup person. Many businesses, even large ones, have smaller teams that can run and function like an internal startup. This, I think, makes it easier to dip your toe into the entrepreneurial lifestyle, without having to incur all the risks.
  • You don’t have to know everything up front. The more I go through my career, the more I realize that no one is fully informed at all times. You will make mistakes, but don’t be paralyzed by the fact that you will make them. Related to this, I wish I had learned how to be compassionate to my past self. The Patrick of the past made some mistakes, but he did the best. Accepting that makes it easier to learn and keep happy and motivated to move forward.
  • Very related to #2, I wish I had learned that failure is an option. I’ve failed at many things, and yet, things turned out well, and in some cases better, because I’ve failed. I literally failed out of grad school, lost job and made technical decisions that ultimately turned out to be wastes of time. Everyone does this, but not everyone can accept it.

2.) Can you describe a time you hit a big roadblock and explain how you got out of it?

I only have to pick one? I’d say that the time I was laid off was very difficult. A small local company was winding down, and to cut costs, my position was eliminated. I was lucky to have good support within my personal connections, so I was able to keep my spirits up relatively well. Through engaging my professional network and a bit of persistence, I was able to get a new position within three months, that not only would pay the bills, but was actually a step forward in my career.

3.) What talent, skill or ability do you think is the most valuable tool in your toolbox?

While, I’m not perfect, I think my inter-personal skills have helped further my career as an engineer. Technical skills are much easier to train than inter-personal skills. Learning other tools is just acquiring knowledge with a bit of experience. Social skills are about changing behaviors. Having a good set of social skills enables me to focus on new technologies quickly and integrate that new knowledge into a narrative.

4.) Is there something basic or fundamental that you think too many people enter your field without knowing?

All engineering is about providing solutions to human problems. It’s easy to forget, as we focus on implementation and what new technique is popular, but without thinking of the consumer of your technology, you end up wasting time and money. Newer techniques in design, like personas, can help keep that fundamental piece in mind.

Check out the FLIGHT page for tickets and more information

Launch LeagueBeing a startup without starting your own business