Platform’s serve multiple purposes that enable the companies that build them to drive growth exponentially

Picture of Apple iPhone’s App Store
Picture of Apple iPhone’s App Store
Apple’s App Store (photo by Marc Kermisch)

I have competed against platform companies almost my whole career. I started my career in 1997, 3-years after Amazon launched. 10-years into my career, Apple iPhone launched with the App Store. 2 years into my career, Salesforce launched in 1999. I had just started a sales role and remember signing up for a free account to use as my customer relationship management system. As these companies grew, and the term “Platform” was coined, I had been using and competing with them for 15 years.

For the most part, I didn’t think about these companies as competitors. Until Amazon launched its price checker feature in their mobile app in and around the end of 2008, for the first time, consumers could walk into any retail store, check the price of the item on Amazon, and order with one click. A period of price match guarantees launched at retail stores. I was working at Target, and we had been using Amazon to host our e-commerce business. This was also at what I would call the beginning of Amazon’s sonic boom growth. They had just launched AWS two years before, monetizing the same infrastructure that powered their e-commerce sites. …


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Photo: Author

I distinctly remember sitting on a panel of IT executives, and someone asked, “How do you balance work and life?”. My answer was simple; you don’t. There is no work-life and personal life; there is just life. Sometimes the scale tips more one way than the other. Don’t get me wrong, I am as ambitious as anyone and have struggled mightily at this thing called life. I have worked late, procrastinated on a project to the last minute, missed a deadline, missed family dinner, or ran into my daughter’s activity at the last minute. Over the years, however, I have integrated my work and personal lives with the technology available to us. …


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Picture by Pexels

For the past several years, I have battled with the effects of playing hard (plus some lousy genetics and maybe poor posture). Long story short, I had a pinched nerve in my neck that inhibited my ability to do the activities I love. After years of physical therapy, cortisone shots, and altering my physical activities, I bit the bullet and underwent surgery to correct the issue. I had chosen the least invasive surgery, but it still required a posterior procedure, which has a longer recovery.

I thought I had prepared for my reduced abilities during recovery, from making meals to setting expectations at work. Even with all that planning, I learned that proverbial lesson: great plans’ can immediately fail when put into action. My ability to concentrate, be productive, and even comprehend information flowing at me was degraded. I could only focus for short bursts and had to take frequent breaks. Time moved both slow and fast. I had to lean harder on family, friends, and co-workers, and for someone who hates asking for help, this was the biggest challenge. …


“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

My journey in learning, listening, and making changes

Back in June, I wrote about the tragic death of George Floyd and the subsequently renewed focus on social injustice in our country. Since June and what I have observed happening in my company and community, I have reflected on my actions and adjusted from running a sprint to pacing for the marathon.

While we have seen so much outpouring of support and Allyship for our brothers and sisters of color, it simply isn’t enough. …


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Credit Tapwage.com

I went to college to become a Physical Therapist, graduated with a degree in English, and 20 years later I am a Chief Technology Officer. When I was 18 years old and thinking about what I would be doing for my life, I could have never predicted the path I would take to get here. At this point in my career, I find myself sharing my journey with others, be it a new college graduate or an experienced professional pondering a new opportunity. As I share my story, I may leave them more confused than before we started because there was no clear path to how I got to where I am today. …


My Company Filed Bankruptcy, Now What
My Company Filed Bankruptcy, Now What

“No one teaches Bankruptcy. The only way to learn about Bankruptcy is to experience it.” — Turnaround CEO

No ever expects their company to file for Bankruptcy. When it happens, it can be both shocking and expected at the same time. While Bankruptcy is a well-known term, it is not well understood by the masses.

You see headlines of companies filing for Chapter 11 or Chapter 7. You hear about how student debt is leading to Personal Bankruptcy. However, as I recently learned, you never understand the minutiae until you go through it. In full disclosure, I recently went through the process leading up to Bankruptcy and the initial filing. I didn’t go through the emergence of the company after Bankruptcy, as I chose to leave. …


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This month I had intended to write about my experience working for a Private Equity backed turnaround that filed bankruptcy. I had expected to write about this last month but felt addressing my experience changing jobs during the Pandemic was more timely. Once again, I find myself with a strong desire to address a current event, the senseless killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis Police Officers on a public street, surrounded by a crowd who was filming the incident. I will tie two critical thoughts together, my feelings about race and how I have perpetuated stereotypes even though I consider myself one who loves and supports all people. …


A work video conference call with teammates
A work video conference call with teammates

I could have never imagined this scenario. I resigned from my last job just days before the state of Minnesota implemented their Shelter-in-Place order, shutting down most workplaces. I had three weeks before my new job started. I had to wind down my old job and prepare to begin my new career from home.

The first thing that entered my mind was if my new employer would rescind their offer. I certainly would not have blamed them if they did, as the world is full of uncertainty. …


Coffee Cup and Name Tag on Table
Coffee Cup and Name Tag on Table
Photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash

During the first .com bubble in the early 2000’s, I thought that I had built a strong network. When my start-up’s public offering was pulled, and after the 3rd round of layoffs, I knew I had to find a new job. As I started to reach out to my network, it fell short for me. Everyone I talked to was nice but dismissive. My ability to find a job was to search for open positions and apply. For almost a decade, I dismissed the value of a network, based on that experience, hunkered down and just did my job. While I did invest in myself through training and professional certifications, I didn’t “waste time” on trying to build out a professional network, personal board of directors, or even try collaborating with colleagues in similar roles that worked at different companies. …


Why can’t we just be honest? Feedback as a gift.
Why can’t we just be honest? Feedback as a gift.

How many times have you heard that “Feedback is a Gift”? When I was working at Target Corporation, this phrase was used so many times, that I had more gifts than I knew what to do with. Feedback piled up in the corner to the point that I felt like I had a scarlet letter on my chest declaring: “Moves Fast, Doesn’t Bring Others Along, Can come across arrogant, Overly Confident.” In fact, what I learned at my time at Target was that with all the gifts I received, I did not always get the context required for me to understand the impact that my strengths and opportunities were having on my career. In essence, while I was getting feedback that I had to work on (opportunities and strengths), I wasn’t always read in on the impact my actions, performance or behaviors were having on my future at Target. …

About

Marc Kermisch

Technologist | Board Member | Advisor — with 25 years of experience across Retail, Manufacturing, Utilities, Financial Services and Start-ups.

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