What Gets Easier and What Gets Harder in Management
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In Chapter 1 of 13 in his 2011 Capture Your Flag interview with host Erik Michielsen, data analytics expert Ken Rona notes how he is maturing with a manager, being more consistent and clear in behavior and communication. Additionally, experience has taught him how to more easily extract value from data. From a challenge perspective, he notes how commuting to another city - from DC to Atlanta - has been stressful and is something he will address by moving the family to Atlanta.


Erik: What is getting easier and what is getting more difficult in what you do? Ken: I think that, you know, as you get older you mature as a manager. Certainly, in my case, I think, I’ve matured as a manager. I’m more consistent about what I do. I’m clearer with folks. And I know just from, just historically, there is some kind of care and feeding of the folks that you need to do, so I try really hard to, you know, thank people every day. I try to give them a pretty clear sense of where we’re going. I certainly like to be a leader, but I wouldn’t say that I’m a born leader, right. I’m not Patton, right. I’m good, but I’m not a Patton, so I’d say that that stuff continues to get easier for me because I work on it. I’d say what also is getting a lot easier is my job is an analytic job, the gasoline that drives my engine is data, and the acquisition of data has become – not just the acquisition but the processing of it, right, into something usable for the business, has come a long way in the last three to five years, right. So that was something when I was at AOL was just kind of starting. Now the systems are in place; so you can stand up a system that can handle very large quantities of data and do really good analysis on it very, very quickly. I mean we stood up one of these systems at Turner and we stood up in a month, and we started loading it, and took some time to get the data clean. But now the data is clean, we’re, you know, we’re cranking on it, and it was, really, even as long as three or four years ago, you simply could not do it unless you spent 10 million dollars, right, that’s dropped by a factor of ten, right, so really dramatic. So that’s much easier, you know, your ability to track insight, I think, is much easier, which is good. I think the world is moving that way, right -- continues to move that way, right. We continue to – businesses continue to learn the value of driving, running their businesses using data, and like for me that’s all good, and, I think, the right thing. The hardest thing for me right now is my commute. So I live in DC. My previous job I commuted to New York two, three days a week, and then I took this job, and now I’m commuting to Atlanta three, four days a week, and so it’s like how do you make it harder on yourself. You know, well, I managed to figure it out. So yeah, my wife and I really do take the hard road sometimes, but that will simplify. So my wife and kids are moving down at the end of the school year, so that, you know, having the family in town, I think, will be good for us. I’d say this has been stressful for both of us, and the kids too, and I’m looking forward to squaring that away, like not having to worry about that.