I have started coding in my teen years, when computer platforms, tools and technologies were quite different from today’s.
As a proud owner of an Apple II (clone), I was later thrilled to consult Apple on the introduction of the Mac in Israel. In addition to mapping the overall marketing plan, my work involved specifying and demonstrating several applications aimed at certain vertical markets which were key for segments for the successful campaign.
A few years later I was excited to join Microsoft as a product manager (in the Integrated Office Systems Group). Those were exciting times in Redmond: Microsoft had just gone public, and maintained an incredible mix of technical excellence, agility, and competitiveness. I was fortunate to meet Bill Gates, beta-test Windows 2.0, and work on a high-profile project: Developing a marketing plan for a Global Macro Language—the precursor to Object Linking and Embedding (OLE), today a key element of the Windows architecture.
Later, Applied Materials introduced me to new types of software. Applied was making great strides in driving automation and control in its sophisticated production equipment. This involved interesting corporate development work in the machine and factory control software space, including partnerships, strategic investments, and internal R&D.
As the head of corporate strategy, I was engaged in several critical projects, including laying out a vision and roadmap for consolidating fab software capabilities, and identifying software capabilities and protocols for data sharing across machines (to support processing modules). I supported planning, diligence, and integration for several software deals, and was an internal consultant to our software team on business and marketing strategies. Subsequently I also got involved in machine-level control, semiconductor industry software standards, and software simulation of fab process flows.
After forming Strat Man Consulting I advised several software users and providers, generally in areas related to “Web 2.0” technologies. For example, I worked with clients on cloud computing and eCommerce (payment systems and online fulfillment). Later I joined one of my clients, a stealth-mode niche digital media publishing startup, as an interim CEO, successfully turning around the company and helping it to migrate its acquired content to digital platforms. I overhauled strategy and operations, including brand strategy, web presence (site and social media), pricing, marketing operations, and backoffice; development work was offshored to Asian centers—significantly cutting costs and cycle time.
Today, as an M&A consultant with Ernst & Young, software still plays an important role in my advisory work. I advise software clients—for example, supporting the post-merger integration of one of the largest software deals in 2011—as well as support the migration of ERP and business applications following a wide range of transactions (similar to integration and separation work I did in previous roles).
I’m certain that software will continue to present amazing challenges and opportunities for any type of organization in the years and decades ahead.