Long before Manny Hernandez was the Vice President of North America at Queclink, he was a product manager and one of the bright minds leading the national launch of the first 3G+4G device. His team was leading the technological frontier that would set the course for the Internet of Things.
His work has enabled others to provide contributions that accelerated the world’s fastest mobile internet speeds, and today, those speeds are now 100 times faster than it was in 2008.
TechCrunch reported on the first 4G launch event where former Sprint CEO Dan Hesse marveled at the technology, saying, “This is the first of its kind device that allows our customers to take the internet with them wherever they go.” It was an understatement then –, and this product launch would bring to life a new industry and a new era of mobile data communications that would embed itself into the fabric of our lives, culture and drive new economies for cloud services, automation, and telematics.
Manny never thought that he was a fit for the position because he was not formally trained in Product Management. Manny was fresh out of college – he served in the US Marine Corps as a logistics manager and worked in the finance industry before joining Franklin Wireless during the Great Recession in 2007.
The company made an excellent choice as Manny would eventually sign deals with Sprint, Comcast, Time Warner, Clearwire, and Google. During Manny’s time at Franklin Wireless, the company experienced a wild run-in revenue, growing over 10,000% from $2M in 2007 to over $100M in revenue by 2011. Under Manny’s product leadership, the company earned the 18th spot on Deloitte’s Fast-500.
We at Insights Success caught up with Manny Hernandez and congratulated him on the honor of being selected 40 Influencers Under 40. We now see the result of Manny’s contribution through the new embedded machines, smart appliances, sensors, and more than 10 billion devices worldwide.
Below are the highlights of the interview.
IS: Thanks for joining us, Manny. So, let’s jump into it, how did you go from a product manager to a VP at one of the largest GPS companies in the world? And what challenges did you have to overcome to get to where you are today?
Manny: Getting to a specific title became less relevant as I matured. At the beginning of my career, I wanted to become an expert at just about everything relevant to my industry, so I started to learn new skills on my own. I was constantly trying to figure out what I didn’t know. I was fortunate enough to pick up a few good books that helped elevate my understanding of business and finance. After many years of doing a series of different projects and seeing the cross dependencies of each role, it became easier for me to establish my value as a functional leader that can empower managers to drive results.
I think the challenge that I had to overcome was my expectations to move up fast. While it only took me about 5 to 7 years to be proficient in my ability – it took me longer to gain actual experience in execution. So, in total, it was about ten years before I was effectively equipped with the decision-making and execution skills I needed, and that was very difficult to cope with until I was able to accept that I needed to wait for the right time in my career to move up.
IS: Looking at the beginning of your career, for someone that had no previous experience with engineering, how did you overcome the experience gap?
Manny: I learned to be a better listener and ask only a few good short questions. I realized that a lot of my former peers would waste a lot of time asking questions to busy engineers, and it might have appeared that they were too lazy to look for the answer or too inexperienced. I guess that I was able to figure things out before I asked any questions – not always the best method, but it worked for me at the time.
IS: Now, you are leading the North American market at Queclink. Could you tell us what that’s like? What’s your mission in the market?
Manny: I love it. I have been in this industry for quite a long time, and I feel that Queclink has the best portfolio and the most experience to do well in this business. I have to depend on my experience to help us deliver a consistent experience. My mission at Queclink is to be a good and reliable vendor for our clients. I am committed to creating a better OEM experience by improving the onboarding process with our devices, improving operational communications, and enhancing forecast planning.
IS: Describe in detail your values and the work culture that drives your organization.
Manny: As a culture, I believe in three things: honor, courage, and commitment – it was taught to me in the Marine Corps, and I hold myself accountable to it. It’s simple for me to explain it to people because if you have honor in what you do, you can be courageous in doing what’s right and hold the commitment to see things through.
At Queclink, we are a family of people in over ten countries that are committed to achieving a like-minded goal through ethical means. I think that means a lot since we are a global company.
IS: So, in terms of running a successful business, what makes that a successful operation?
Manny: I’ve adopted the idea that you need three things to operate a successful organization – people, process, and product. I believe that you need all three. I think it’s obvious why companies need good people and good products, but a company without a process fails to deliver.
IS: What advice would you like to give to budding leaders and entrepreneurs?
Manny: To be a good leader, you should be a great follower; it may seem backward, but nothing will offset the experience you need to see how you respond to other leadership styles. Teach yourself, read some books, learn how to find lessons in your failures before pointing at someone else’s failures. Ultimately, there is no tradeoff for the experience; you have to polish your skills before you can use them effectively.
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