In an interview with Insights Success, the Vice President of the Strategic Business Development division of Viasat, Inc., Robert Brown shares his insights behind his triumphant dominance as a tech strategist. The zealous and admired leader has driven the ascension of the multinational Satellite and Communication Company with his contemporary and innovative management and technological expertise.
Below are the highlights of the interview conducted between Robert and Insights Success:
Describe some of the vital attributes that every Tech Strategist should possess.
Whether you are an analytical or creative thinker, or you’re an introvert or extrovert, you clearly need to possess the courage to step into some unknown territories in order to grow. I believe the most important characteristic of any good tech strategist is that he or she understands the framework for how to come about the strategy, obviously resulting from the subject matter expertise of others and the market research that came into play.
The role is analogous to a coach on a football team. No one hands the ball to the coach to take it down the field, but it is he or she that provides the play.
How do you diversify your product offerings at Viasat to appeal to your target audience?
Viasat is uniquely positioned for a number of key markets because of the breadth of our product/service offerings and our vertical integration as a satellite broadband. From my perspective, Viasat masters at being both an innovator, such as engineering satellite technologies which deliver more capacity on a single satellite than any other in the world, to being a fast follower, such as seeing how competitors are delivering services to businesses and determining how we can do it exceptionally better, cheaper, faster.
What were some of the primary challenges/roadblocks that you faced during the initial phase of your journey?
Early in my career, getting recognition for something, I perceived was deserved, became a letdown when management didn’t make that effort, and I put too much emphasis on that. I believed sharing what I’m doing was impactful to the company, and bragging about what I’ve accomplished, would better position me for career advancement, raises, etc.
The reality is, that simply turned people off and I became the “brown-noser” in their eyes. What I learned from that however is – driving and achieving results in a methodical, resourceful yet team-like manner carries much more weight in your long term career, compared to simply aspiring to be the popular kid in school.
One thing that I learned early in my career is to put biases and quick judgments aside. I was intended on making time with those people who wouldn’t speak up publically, and solicit them for their ideas, constructive feedback and general guidance.
What shaped my career in this sense is that I began to realize that getting the perspective of others in challenging times at a company was crucial, and it was even more crucial that you hear from everyone on the team.
How do you think the role of a tech strategist has changed over the years?
The role of a tech strategist hasn’t changed in my mind, only the environment in which he or she works in today has. It is the job of the tech strategist to understand the abilities and resources of the company balanced against the constraints and dependencies on other resources that helps inform how best to meet a strategy or deliverable.
Where does Viasat, Inc. see itself in the near future?
For more than 30 years, Viasat has helped shape how consumers, businesses, governments and militaries around the world communicate. Today, we’re a global team of fearless innovators finding better ways to deliver connections with the capacity to change the world.
We’re developing the ultimate global communications network to power high-quality, secure, affordable, fast connections to impact people’s lives anywhere they are. We have a history of delivering results built on bold promises to our customers, partners, and shareholders. We think big, we act intelligently, and we’re not done, we’re just beginning.
What is your advice for budding and emerging technology strategists?
The notion of ‘thinking outside of the box’ to solve problems of a market must be substantiated by empirical data that such a market does exist. In other words, building a product on the prospect that it may drive a need without first substantiating that there is a need in the first place, with real customers, real experiments, real results, and that it solves their problem is a sure way to fail.
About the Strategist
Robert’s current role as Vice President of Strategic Business Development, includes helping define the strategy and direction for one of the divisions of Viasat, Inc. In addition, he provides support to his peers in commercial revenue development, sales pipeline, product management and marketing activities, as well as managing the company’s larger strategic accounts such as the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corp, Comcast, Charter, Sprint, and others.
Prior to Viasat, he was responsible for business development at Google Fiber where he led efforts for wireless strategies and partner development, including negotiating the deal with Starbucks for Google Wi-Fi in their stores nationwide.
Before Google, he served as a management consultant assisting major carriers and service providers including Google, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, and several other service providers with their micro-network product strategies, product development, market sizing, and business development.
Robert holds a Master’s degree in International Business Law from Boston University, an MBA from Colorado Tech and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications from the University of Texas, Austin.
About the Company
Viasat is a global communications company that believes everyone and everything can be connected. Thus, it aims at building the ultimate communications network, to enable great, global connectivity to be brought to where it’s needed and wanted most.
Its vision for the future is one where affordable, secure and, high-quality connections are available even in the hardest-to-reach places.
Viasat is a team of more than 4,500 fearless innovators, driven by the ability to redefine what’s possible in the communications and technology sectors. The organization proudly powers millions of high-quality connections for consumers, businesses, governments, and militaries around the world.