Critical Corporate Lessons / Challenges and Career Tips

This is the continuing series of special interviews appearing first here in the Canadian IT Managers (CIM) forum from top-ranking business and technology leaders.

Our discussion is with Rick Maule, CEO, President, and Chairman of the Board of NetEffect.

In Part 1 of 2 of this blog series, I put these questions to Rick:
Stephen: Rick, we thank you for sharing your deep insights in the area of networking and communication.

Rick: Thank you for inviting me to participate in the discussion with you and your organization.

Stephen: What critical corporate lessons can you share from your more than 25 years experience in major corporations, start-ups and turnarounds in the computer and communications industry?

Rick: A few concepts come to mind:

Innovation is unstoppable: Every time I have heard that we have reached a technology limit, shortly thereafter, someone announces that the limit has been surpassed. I am sure there are real limits out there, but they are fewer than people think and I don’t expect to see many of them in my lifetime.

Finding the solution: A lot of life in technology bears similarity to the game of Jeopardy – many times to get the right answer we need to ask the right question.

Building a winning team: My experience is that, if a good team understands clearly what constitutes success, they will give their very best to succeed. The danger comes when the criteria for success is not well understood, is confusing, or is perceived differently by different members of the team. When that happens, management has made it hard for the team to win.

Stephen: What career tips can you provide from your strong history of successes?

Rick: Some key things that come to mind are:

Have a clear vision – what are you trying to do and why.

Understand the problem – the real problem, not someone’s interpretation of the problem to fit their “solution.”

Foster a strong diverse team – if we all think alike and approach the problem the same way, we won’t find the best answer.

Stay flexible and be open to new opportunities and alternatives – there will almost always be some open to you, if you are open to them.

Stephen: What specific major challenges will corporations face and how will they be addressed?

Rick: We are still in the information age. We use information for running our companies, understanding our customers, and creating competitive advantage. The challenge is the amount of data that we have created and are creating, getting access to that data and using it effectively, without the sheer volume overwhelming our infrastructure, our budgets, and us. We need the ability to scale to meet our information technology needs simply and cost effectively. The good news is that innovation continues to provide us with ways to get there.

Rick Maule’s Profile:

Rick Maule is an experienced and proven leader as evidenced by the successful transition by NetEffect from InfiniBand to iWARP Ethernet technology. With more than 25 years experience in major corporations, start-ups and turnarounds in the computer and communications industry, Rick has served in various roles including general management, marketing and engineering.

Before joining NetEffect, Rick was vice president and general manager of the Mobile Communications Division of 3Com with responsibility for a wide range of communications products, including all mobile and wireless client products.

Rick received his B.S. and an M.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Arkansas. He also completed the Graduate Program in Business, an industry-focused MBA program developed jointly by Harris Corporation and the University of Florida. He is a regular speaker and panelist at many industry forums.

In the next blog, Rick will discuss those technologies having the greatest future impact, the networking multi-gigabit technology space, and iWARP.

I also encourage you to share your thoughts here on these interviews or send me an e-mail at
Thank you,
Stephen Ibaraki, FCIPS, I.S.P.

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