Insights for Growth Podcast Episode Artwork
 

Insights for Growth: Stories of Enterprise Innovation Podcast

Ep: 9 // Chuck House, InnovaScapes Institute // Empowering innovators & leading change

Air date: March 5, 2021

The sole recipient of HP’s ‘Medal of Defiance’, Chuck House, now CEO of InnovaScapes Institute, brings Chris through experiences that helped shape his career and shares his insights on how to become an intrapreneur, and how to manage them. 

Key Insights:

  • If you believe in your idea, do your own market research, and then bring it to your boss. It will make it easier for them to clear the path for you.
  • Honor your bosses. If you can convert one of those bosses to liking you and supporting you, you’re golden.
  • To encourage intrapreneurship in those you manage, show them that they have your support.

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Episode Transcript

Chuck House:

You can have the idea. You’ve tried it three times with your boss and he or she’s gone to sleep. Go test it on someone else.

Chris Goward:

This is Insights For Growth, the show where we hear insights from intrapreneurs who drive change within large organizations. I’m Chris Goward, founder of WiderFunnel. WiderFunnel helps great companies design digital experiences that work, proven through rigorous experimentation systems. Today on the show, we have a great conversation lined up. 

Why don’t you start by telling us your name and title currently?

Chuck House:

Okay, I go by Chuck House. Charles House is what my mother called me and Charles Henry is what my grandmother called me when I was in trouble. They are not on the scene anymore. I’m the founder and CEO of a company called Innovascapes Institute. Innovation landscapes is the way I think of that. It’s a contraction of two terms. We basically do a variety of things. We do consulting on essentially medium and large scale innovation programs for companies. That’s a big factor. 

We do a lot with awards programs, including interviews for archival posterity. We’ve done that for Cisco Foundation, done it for HP, done it or Association for Computing Machinery for the Computer History Museum. So we do a lot in that area. I work for a company called Novum Group out of Santa Barbara and I run their awards program. We’ll be giving some fantastic awards for science contributions in the next few weeks, but we just got approval from the board and I’d love to share the names with you, but I really can’t do that.

Chris Goward:

Right.

Chuck House:

They would be names that most Americans will recognize for science awareness, science inspiration, things like that. Then lastly, I run a horse ranch with my wife. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah. Oh, that sounds fulfilling. That’s a lot of fun.

Chuck House:

It is. It is.

Chris Goward:

So now, you’ve written a book about intrapreneurship with recommendations for both intrapreneur and managers of intrapreneur.

Chuck House:

Right.

Chris Goward:

But I thought it would help to start back in the early days in your claim to fame. You’re well known as sort of a pioneer in intrapreneurship and innovation back from HP. I know you’ve done a lot since then as well, but that will give some context to your story. So tell us about that. How did that come about?

Chuck House:

Well sure. So I joined Hewitt Packard when I was 21 years old. I was a design engineer. I didn’t know from anything. I had a bachelors degree, but green as grass. They put me on a job working with a senior engineer and we beavered away and did that. After that was done, did a second project and then we got a request for a quote from the Federal Aviation Agency. So this was a celioscope. So I was in this celioscope division for Hewitt Packard.

Techtronics was the big scope manufacturer and we were second fiddle, to say the least. But we got this request for a quote. Techtronics decided not to bid on it, and the idea was to have a small screen in a control tower for small airports. This wasn’t LAX. This would be a middle of New Jersey kind of airport. I thought y’know, and I was working with a friend and he thought we could take a TV bottle and cut the electromagnetic capability for television out of it and put an electrostatic gun in, which made it mch faster. 

He has a special technique he could sweep the big screen. This is like a 14 inch screen, which then was big for television in 1965. Colored television hadn’t yet arrived in America, to give you an idea. So we put this thing together and it turned out it didn’t work very well. In fact, it didn’t work at all well for the FAA requirement because they wanted to trace little characters for each airplane, United 261. It was 2D focused for the expansion capability to see the letters.

But I wound up showing this in some classrooms. You can do a physics experiment and see it from the back of the room and things like that. My marketing manager in particular kept wanting to borrow the box for a class he was teaching. He said, “We can’t find any users, but I need it tomorrow night.” I thought, wait a minute, there’s a message here. So it turned out Dave Packard came out. Dave and Bill Hewitt would come out annually. I was in Colorado Springs, they were in Palo Alto. 

We would have an annual review of all the projects in the lab. They’ve looked at this thing and didn’t tell me but told my bosses later. He said, “When I come back next year, I don’t want to see this project in the lab.” I heard that the next morning from my boss and I said, “We can’t get this in production in a year, but if we did, wouldn’t that meet the spirit of things?” He said, “No, what he meant was to cancel it.” Well I got the team together. There’s four of us, and we decided we could probably get it done in a year. 

We got it done in eight months, had it on the market. The prediction for sales was 31 total units for the world. We had 40 sold by the time Packard came back and he just blew a head gasket. “I thought I said …” very profane actually. He didn’t mince words. I said, “No sir, what you said was you didn’t want it in the lab. It’s not. It’s in production.” Oh my, that answer didn’t help at all. But as it turned out, he didn’t stop it and we wound up selling 17,000 of these boxes over the next few years.

Years later, a fellow named Gif Pinchot, Gifford Pinchot wrote a book entitled Intrapreneur. I wound up being chapter one telling this story. The reason was, when I became the engineering director for all of HP, like 17 years later, sitting next to Packard, if you will, in headquarters. He gave me a Medal of Defiance for persisting with this machine. His point was, and he put this in his autobiography also … His point was, when someone is insubordinate to you, but they’re right, how do you deal with it.

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

Chuck House:

Fairly interesting.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. So it’s really interesting because you had come up with this idea. It sounded like you cobbled together this technology and it wasn’t really impressing him. It was unclear what the market potential was. In fact, it looked like the market potential was very small. How did you know or believe that this was worth pursuing? What made you want to stick with this?

Chuck House:

That’s a great question. It’s probably lost in antiquity a little bit, but I’ll take a shot at it. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah, sure.

Chuck House:

So I cut my teeth on television. I grew up in the 50s. For, it must have been my ninth grade science project, I built a simulation of colored television. So this is 10 years before it became at all displayed in America, but I built this thing and I was in love with it. I had a great uncle who … Did you ever know Allied Radio, heat kits? So there were a bunch of companies that built amateur kits, radio kits, television kids, things like that. So I used to fool with these things. I was kind of a nerd, if you will, but I got hooked on pictures because you can just see things that you could only read about prior to that. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

So anyway, when this bid came along, I just thought wow. Even though it didn’t work in the control tower, I took it out on a marketing trip. They told me you can’t do that because the issue for HP is you don’t want to ever reveal to customers a product before it’s ready for release because that will give the competition a good idea of what you’re doing.

Chris Goward:

Sure, yeah.

Chuck House:

My point was, if we’re going to cancel this anyway, what difference does it make. So then they said you have to go with somebody from marketing and you can’t just show up as an engineer with a customer sight and say hi. Well, it turned out Christmas week and none of the sales people wanted to go. They said, “Hey, be my guest. Here’s the guy I’d have you see.” What I did was I went from Colorado Springs to LA and I had a little Volkswagen Bug and two kids and my wife in the car, and we would drive to a town, Albuquerque say. 

I would have the product air shipped there. I’d take the side front seat out, leave her and the kids at the motel with the seat, go pick up the box, take it to the customer. I had one story. I was at the Santa Fe airport and I had this box to this guy, the shipping dock. It’s got fragile marked all over it. He takes it and he throws it about 12 feet over onto the conveyor belt.

Chris Goward:

Oh no. Geez.

Chuck House:

As he’s throwing it, I said, “It says fragile.” He said, “So.” I said, “That’s $25,000.” I thought he was going to catch it before it hit … but the point was I went out and I saw a number of customers, including several … I knew some people at Jet Propulsion Labs and also in the movie industry. They got excited. So I came home and you go, “Chris, we’ve got a winner here.” My one boss was willing to support us.

Chris Goward:

Right, okay. 

Chuck House:

That’s key. Somebody has got to support you. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah. Well, and also you got direct from the customer, the potential customer. You saw their face light up and you saw what they saw, that there was potential there. 

Chuck House:

Oh yeah. One of my rules is always do your own market research. I had worked on a project prior to that one that was doomed to fail, but we didn’t know it. We’re working on the assignment. It comes out and it was a comparator scope run by a computer, but it all had one channel. 

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chuck House:

Well, who are you going to compare it to? It doesn’t take a lot of thought to say, this is a dumb thing. So my question then was how did you guys come up with this spec? My job was just to build it. It wasn’t to question the spec. Well, never again did I not do my own market research. Even this little horse ranch. We came to an area that all the horses here are basically western. We wanted to do English riding. The whole story was, well there’s no English riding for miles around. 

You think, terrific, we’ll be the only one. Then the question is, is there anybody that would care? The answer is we’ve got 50 clients and we’re the only game in town. So I’ve got notoriety for this award. If you have the Medal of Defiance from someone like Dave Packard. There’s a class of equipment called Logic Analyzers, Logic State Analyzers in particular. They were the tools that got created to help microcomputer designers.

For years, we’ve been doing discreet logic. You had transistors resist your capacitors and it was circuit design. Then all of the sudden these little small scale integrated circuits come along and then they’ve got medium scale and then larger scale. So you’re dealing with pin outs, but all the circuitry is inside one chip. The question is how do you … It’s a whole different design world. Our view on the celoscope isn’t much good for that. A volt meter isn’t any good. A spectrum analyzer isn’t any good. What you’ve got to do is watch the register flow of the states of the variables going on.

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chuck House:

So we basically created a class of instrumentation called Logic State Analyzers. So my IEEE fellow award and some of the other awards stem from that work. I wound up on the cover of Electronics Magazine with a story. Trip around the world to meet the engineer of the year in Taiwan and India and Pakistan, and eat strange foods that I’d never imagined I’d eat. 

I’m an engineer, for Christ’s sake. It was quite a tour. So that was one. I wound up working on the first … we call it, it was the HP internet. We had it running. We think we had the second largest network in the world in 1985. It was through that that I built this computer video conferencing capability. So we had Zoom. Any engineer in HP in 91 locations in 26 states and nations was within two hours of a video up link to anywhere in the world.

Chris Goward:

Wow. 

Chuck House:

36 years ago.

Chris Goward:

Yeah, amazing.

Chuck House:

So when Zoom came along, it’s like hey sure. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah. It’s been done. 

Chuck House:

So yeah, I had some fun doing different things. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah. Now clearly you’re an engineer.

Chuck House:

Right.

Chris Goward:

You were in technology from an engineering perspective right at the base of building. Not every engineer can translate that technical understanding into a customer understanding and into viable innovation. What made your perspective different to be able to do that?

Chuck House:

Well, first of all, my dad was a traveling salesman. He used to take me with him on … he’d be gone for a week at a time. If it was a time I was out of school, I’d go with him and just watch him calling on various places. They ranged from blacksmith shops to aircraft manufacturers. Southern California to Arizona. He wasn’t planning to teach me anything and I wasn’t planning to learn anything, but I think you just watch how somebody interacts with someone else and how they …

It was fascinating. With the blacksmith shop, he was pretty crude. Short word, pithy. These guys were dove hunters and duck hunters and pig hunters. The guys at Northrop were a little different than that. They wore ties and suits. He could translate how to interpret his products for both groups. In retrospect, I think that was fascinating learning.

Chris Goward:

Right. 

Chuck House:

The other thing was I went to Cal Tech for undergraduate and it was the first time I’d been in a group where they were a lot smarter than I was. What I found was the courses I could do the best in were history and English, all the soft stuff. So it was almost like I was good enough to be amongst that group, but I wasn’t good enough to lead that group. But I could be an interpreter between people in that group.

Chris Goward:

Right.

Chuck House:

That really … I think overtime, that served me very well. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah, yeah. Okay. It’s interesting how often I hear that where there’s some sort of childhood experience or something to do with the parents or the family dynamic that creates kind of this absorbed understanding, osmosis. 

Chuck House:

So, I became … At one point, I wound up running a lab in Colorado. I’d been running a project and then a program. Then I finally became sort of the lab manager. I had a young lady working for me who came up. She says, “Oh, I want to know what you did to train to be able to do this job. I like this job. I’d like to do that.” She says, “So what were the three most important things?”

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

I’m like, oh my God, I’ve never been asked that. Just train of thought, I said, “Well, the first thing is I got a history degree. After my engineering degree and science degrees, I got a history degree. That taught me basically that there’s nothing new under the sun. It’s a lot easier to see what someone else already tried than it is to spend time doing it yourself.”

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

The second thing was I set up a plant nursery and there came a day that I couldn’t meet payroll. I had to learn how banks work, and I also learned in a very different way, that that HP balance sheet and PNL statement mean something.

Chris Goward:

Right.

Chuck House:

Sort of like before I did the market research on one project, prior to that I just did my assignment. Prior to having this struggle with my own business, I never paid much attention to our division financials. All of the sudden … So I started looking into it and we were not making a lot of money. As a matter of fact, we weren’t making any money. But you go, well we could get laid off. That’d be awkward. So that was the second. I can’t remember at the moment the third, but it was equally silly.

Chris Goward:

People are trained in one field or one expertise and they don’t really understand the big picture and how it all relates. Like you said, with that sales perspective, you were good enough in engineering to sit in the engineering group. But with the knowledge of understanding sort of the history and sales, the humanity side of it to be able to translate, I think that that’s really important insight.

Chuck House:

Well, what I found, Chris, several times is I would learn enough about a discipline, or let’s say a technology and enough about another technology that you could see that the combination of the two could be pretty powerful. 

Chris Goward:

Right.

Chuck House:

People who were deeper in each of them didn’t see that synergy.

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

So a lot of the things I’ve been able to contribute, I think because I wasn’t good enough to be really good at any one of them.

Chris Goward:

Right. 

Chuck House:

You don’t want to say it that way to your kids. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah, I won’t show the kids and grandkids the real story underneath.

Chuck House:

I’ll tell you another one though in that same vein. So some years later, do you know the name Carver Mead?

Chris Goward:

No.

Chuck House:

You know about Moore’s Law?

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

Yeah, so Carver did Moore’s Law and he did it for Gordon. Carver was my senior professor at Cal Tech, and he actually steered me to HP. The reason he said was fairly interesting. He said, “If you want to work on the state of the art, you have to have tools that are better than the state of the art so they don’t effect the measurement.” So the tools you use have to be three times as good as the state of the art. Who builds tools? He says, Hewitt Packard builds the tools. 

He said, “If you want to work in front of the state of the art, go work for an instrument manufacturer like HP,” which I did. So that’s the background for Carver. So 30 years later … oh God, 40 years later. 37 years later, he’s getting the Allen Miller award from ACM, which is sort of like the touring award. I’m president of ACM at the time and we had 200 of the 200 wizards of computing in America according to MIT. It’s a black tie event at the national academy in Washington DC and Carver is going to get this damn award.

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

Chuck House:

I’m the MC for the evening. So I introduce him by asking if anybody in the room knew him before 1961, which was his first year teaching. Of course the answer was no, except me. Then I went on and said, “Not only did he do Moore’s Law, he did terrific stuff in semi conductor physics. But he wound up building the first cochlear implant.” Vint Cerf’s wife, inventor of the internet, standing in the front row. She had never heard her husband speak until she got a cochlear implant from Carver.

Chris Goward:

Wow. 

Chuck House:

So they start … I tell the story and they start crying. The whole room breaks down. Anyways, fast forward. We have dinner, we go into the auditorium and Carver comes up to give the speech. He says, “On the plane ride out, I got to thinking.” He says, “A professor only does 400 students in a lifetime. 10 PhD students a year, 40 years if you’re lucky. That’s it. That’s your life.”

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chuck House:

He said, “Well, I got to thinking about the best 10. They knew the book, they were superb, the participated in class, they could have taught the class. They were wonderful.” He said, “The only others I could remember were the worst 10. They didn’t know there was a book, they didn’t come to class, or if they did they were disruptive. They’re a real pain in the ass.” He said, “One of them just introduced me.” 

My three daughters were in the second row and they go, “Dad!” It seemed like hours, Chris, before he went on. I’d never heard this kind of thing before.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

Finally … It was probably a 10 second gap, but it felt like an eternity. He finally says, “Six of my 10 worst students are on these walls.”

Chris Goward:

Really?

Chuck House:

These 200 pictures are now my best 10.

Chris Goward:

Okay.

Chuck House:

Maybe we’re grading the wrong thing.

Chris Goward:

Right, exactly. Or maybe that’s a good predictor of some sort of characteristic you need.

Chuck House:

Yeah, he said, “They didn’t read the book. They wrote the new books. They had their own inventions.” I think that’s what you’re trying to do with your program is identify what is it that enables people to have that creative spark, to see things others don’t see and then drive that to success.”

Chris Goward:

So what happened after that? You’ve gotten this prominence, it created innovation HP, and now you’re the first recipient of … The metal of defiance was created in your honor, wasn’t it? Or at least you were the first person-

Chuck House:

Actually two awards. That one was the only official one they ever gave was mine. I frankly thought it was a gag gift because they gave it to me in Colorado Springs the day that I’m leaving, and Packard himself didn’t present it. I brought it on out with me and I had it laying on my desk. I didn’t have a frame or anything, just laying there when Gifford Pinchot showed up. Do you know Pinchot by chance?

Chris Goward:

I don’t.

Chuck House:

Or know of?

Chris Goward:

No. 

Chuck House:

I’d been into forestry as a kid and Gifford Pinchot founded the Forest Service.

Chris Goward:

Okay.

Chuck House:

So I’m sitting in Palo Alto. I’ve got a secretary, I mean a real deal in this office right next to Dave Packard. Big wall between us, but none the less it’s right there. My secretary gets a call from a guy named Gifford Pinchot and she says, “Do you want to take the call?” I said, “If he is still running the forest service, I’d love to take the call.” She looks at me like what is he thinking. She asked the guy and he said, “Well, I’m Gifford Pinchot III.” He said, “That was my grandfather.”

Chris Goward:

Oh.

Chuck House:

So I said, well what the hell. So he comes in and he had a little Polaroid camera. He sees this damn award and he says, “Can I take a picture of that?” Sure. Months later, and here’s kind of the irony of the whole thing. Months later, I threw it away.

Chris Goward:

Oh yeah?

Chuck House:

Oh yeah. It was a gag gift. It’s like something you get when you turn 50. They give you a walker or something. It’s kind of something not even worth keeping around. Two years later, he shows up at HP public relations with chapter one and he’s got a picture of this damn award in the book. The HP PR went nuts because their view is this whole chapter is basically saying Packard has his head up his … So we’re really poking the founder pretty hard.

I’m like, oh man. So they wanted to scotch the book or scotch that chapter at least. Dave was retired, but he was still working like three days a week. I said, “I think he’s next door. Let’s go see him.” So I handed a sheaf of papers. I said, “Dave, you’re not going to probably remember this. It was like 17 or 18 years ago. Haha.” I’m thinking I’ve got the job of a lifetime and I don’t want to be fired out of it.

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

He grabs the thing and he reads about the first paragraph, and he was 6’6 was how tall this guy was. So he stands up and he starts wagging his finger at me. He says, “Young man.” I was like 45. “Young man,” he says, “You’re in a place right now you can stop a lot of good things from happening. I want you to remember that.” He hands the sheaf of papers to the PR group and says, “Print it.” He loved it. 

Well, come to find out it wasn’t 17 years ago. It was a month ago he had signed the thing to give the award. So it wasn’t one of those out of sight out of mind kind of deals at all. But isn’t that brilliant of someone to say, hey, go for it.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

So fast forward. I worked for Intel for a decade. I worked for a company that wound up getting bought by Intel, and I worked actually for Intel itself for like six years. In six years, I had four presentations to the executive committee. I’m the guy. Four times they said, “Wow, this is really cool. We should fund this.” Four times they did not.

Chris Goward:

Oh, really?

Chuck House:

Yeah. That’s the kind of thing that happens in these corporations that gets things throttled. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

It’s terrible. So we’ll see how Pat does. Pat was the original guy doing the team station and the pro share. It was Intel’s attempt at video conferencing in 1997, ‘8, ‘9, and failed miserably because no man worked at the home. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

And the price point was a little … There were a lot of problems with that, and I had fun telling that, what was wrong with is, which didn’t endear him to me.

Chris Goward:

Intel is struggling today, aren’t they? 

Chuck House:

Well, yeah. So maybe you’ve noticed that they just replaced their CEO. They brought Pat back, who used to run their engineering team. So I think hopefully he’ll make a difference. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

But those illustrate the difference in leadership to me, and it’s vital … So I’ll give you another one. Apple with Johnny Ivy. Steve Jobs gets lots of credit, and appropriately for being this creative genius and all, but he appreciated good design but Johnny Ivy was the designer. Johnny Ivy was there from ’92 to 2019. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

So this is an intrapreneur. 

Chris Goward:

For sure, yeah.

Chuck House:

Put his stamp by everything.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

And Steve let him. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah. So talk about that. I know you’ve done a lot of thinking about this, the idea of how a manager or a leader, an entrepreneur even, can identify those intrapreneurs and allow them to flourish or support them. 

Chuck House:

It’s fairly easy to identify. It’s the guy that is always pissing you off. That’s the simple way of thinking about it. It’s kind of like Carver was saying. It’s the guy that didn’t read the book or doesn’t understand. There’s a perfect example right now, and I have to kind of cheat on her name so I’m going to look it up for you. Katalin Kariko. 

Chris Goward:

Okay. 

Chuck House:

K-A-T-A-L-I-N is the first name, and Kariko’ is K-A-R-I-K-O with a little dicto over it. 

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

Chuck House:

Okay, she’s Hungarian. She’s 64 years old and she is the creator of Messenger RNA. 

Chris Goward:

Really? Okay. 

Chuck House:

She struggled for 30 years with trying to figure this out in an academic environment. U of Pennsylvania. They ultimately fired her.

Chris Goward:

At U Penn.

Chuck House:

Because she just wasn’t any good. Four years later, she’s on top of the world. 

Chris Goward:

Well, yeah, now it’s the basis of all of our.. 

Chuck House:

So her story to me is a classic example of someone who … she had been a … I think she was an associate professor. They busted her back to assistant professor. They busted her back to a researcher, and then they finally just defunded her. 

Chris Goward:

Now, so that’s really fascinating. There’s two skillsets here that we’re really talking about. One is the intrapreneur and how the intrapreneur, which is what you did throughout your career, is creating innovation.

Chuck House:

Pretty much, yeah.

Chris Goward:

And driving innovation.

Chuck House:

You’re working for a company. You’re not in it for … An entrepreneur builds the company.

Chris Goward:

Right.

Chuck House:

An intrapreneur works for someone else who runs a company.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. So there’s the skillset of the intrapreneur who is doing that within the company, and then there’s the leaders of the intrapreneur who are identifying and fostering and creating the space for the entrepreneur. 

Chuck House:

Hopefully.

Chris Goward:

Yeah, ideally. But those are distinct, and both of those are needed for successful entrepreneurship to happen. 

Chuck House:

Yes.

Chris Goward:

You need to have a Steve Jobs clearing the path for the Johnny Ivy to create the innovations.

Chuck House:

Yeah. 

Chris Goward:

So have you been on both sides of that, being an intrapreneur and-

Chuck House:

Not only on both sides of that. I’ve been on the manager side and screwed it up. There’s a story there that is priceless. So when I was writing this book, I was running a little college. I was running a little digital arts college. It was a great little college, 500 students, but we taught animation. So every animated film that’s ever come out of Hollywood had one of our animators on it.

Chris Goward:

Really? Okay. 

Chuck House:

I think to this day. It’s a pretty interesting little subset of this world, which traces clear back to my love of displays and all that stuff. My grandfather worked on sets in Hollywood and he’d take us over there. So it’s kind of like going with my dad on his sales trips. We’d go with grandpa and he was plastering these sets. So I’m running this college and we are knocking them dead. We had one student film that we entered in 57 film festivals around the world. Philadelphia Film Festival we won, and they told us it was the best film they had from any professional group or amateur group in 10 years out of 600 films. 

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chuck House:

We got a trip to Beijing. I got to go along with our director. We were voted the second best animation school in the world. This is spectacular stuff. So the point is the guy who’s running these movies, who had actually been one of the co directors on Avatar One, which never came out. Avatar Two is what made the screens. For some reason he went off and he managed teaching these kids. It was fantastic stuff. We won like 20 international awards with that one film. Anyway, the point was he comes to me one day and he says, “I’d like $20,000 to send my kids to SIGGRAPH.” You know SIGGRAPH?

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chuck House:

So the biggest show in the computer graphics world and has been for 50 years is SIGGRAPH. 

Chris Goward:

Okay. 

Chuck House:

Of course, I showed there with my first boxes years earlier. So it wasn’t alien to be and I’ve been ACM president. It’s an ACM conference. But he wants to take four students down to this thing. Well, we didn’t have $20,000 in the budget. I was practicing consensual management with my whole team and we’re actually struggling. We had a new owner who was really pissed off about we weren’t making any money. So I put it to the team and the whole question was, “Well, these kids are getting jobs anyway. SIGGRAPH isn’t going to hire them. Why are we going to send them there? It’s a frivolous perk.” 

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

Chuck House:

I voted not to give them the money. He just blew a head gasket like I’m out of here. I’m going somewhere that appreciates what I do.

Chris Goward:

Right. So you lost him.

Chuck House:

Well, it turned out I turned it around and saved him. So points four and five in my workbook for what managers need to think about is how easy it is to be seduced by the budget problem. So here’s a different way of looking at it. $20,000 was three tenths of one percent of our budget. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

They had brought probably two thirds of the kids in our school came there because of what we were building with that film study.

Chris Goward:

Right. Yeah.

Chuck House:

So it is our entire entree. It’s like Ohio State football or Alabama football. We’re not going to let the kid … So it wasn’t a question of how much money it was. It’s a question of whether you back him for what he thinks is important.

Chris Goward:

Right. Yeah. 

Chuck House:

I flunked the test. My bright HR lady said, “You’re writing all this stuff and you don’t even do it.” 

Oh yeah. It’s so easy to get trapped by today. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

That’s the problem that the manager of the entrepreneur has.

Chris Goward:

Well, and it’s a valid problem because no one can be faulted for making a budget driven decision in a situation where you’re cost cutting. You have to be conscious of budget, make logical sense in how is this going to deliver value. When you step back and look at the big picture and where value is coming from, sometimes the symbolic gestures are the things that lead to momentum.

Chuck House:

So the staff point was that’s a half of a faculty.

Chris Goward:

Right. 

Chuck House:

We are desperate for faculty and we’re being throttled, and you’re going to let four kids go screw around in LA? Come on. Ultimately, the point had to be how you just articulated it. This is our life blood. So what I developed out of that little discovery was there’s a question between funding and empowering. The answer for this kid was, look, I’m not going to back you this year. We don’t have the cash this year. But what I will do next year is you get to design your whole budget.

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

Chuck House:

We’ll do the debating on the budget, the but whole budget is yours. If you want to put SIGGRAPH into your budget and not do something else, that’s your choice. That won’t be my choice. That will be your choice. 

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chuck House:

So that’s empowering the intrapreneur as opposed to funding the intrapreneur. Where I came out of it was that’s the more appropriate way to manage these kids. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah. Well, it also reminds me that the idea of this group of students being the lifeblood of the whole college, it reminds me of the Jim Cullen’s flywheel concept, the good to great book.

Chuck House:

Yep.

Chris Goward:

Then he had this little … He really expounded one the flywheel concept where once you, as an organization, really denied your flywheel, what really drives growth in the organization, then you know which decisions you absolutely have to make. You have to get right, you have to fund the flywheel components. Everything else is sort of discretionary, but that flywheel has to be intact. It sounds like, in the college, these awards were really the flywheel that attracted all of the students.

Chuck House:

Oh my God. Well, can you imagine being 19 years old and you’ve got C grades all through high school? You couldn’t get into a single college except ours. You got in because you’re a gamer. Then they get there and discover what we’re doing. These kids went crazy. Big money. Coming out being an animator for Pixar, they start at $100,000 a year as a masters student 15 years ago. 

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chuck House:

So it was great. I’ll share one story. So we had a very regular orthodox, boring engineering director for this college. But we had a tenure program, so it was pretty hard to get rid of him. I finally figured out a way that I forced him off on Boeing or something and he was excited, and they didn’t know better. I had an opening, so I pulled all the engineering students together and I said, “Okay, hey. We’ve got rid of buzzard bait.” They all cheered. This guy was not popular.

I’ve got three people that have been doing part time teaching. One was a Cal Tech kid, one was a Berkeley kid, and one was MIT, all three PhDs. Talent in this little bit old college. I said, “And we’re getting 30 new students next September and we’re graduating eight out of this engineering group, so we can add some courses. What would you like?” Oh, we’d like swarming robots or we’d like AI this. This is 10 years ago.

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

So finally it quiets down and there’s one little gal in the front row, little Black girl who had never said a word that I’d heard in class, ever. She raises her hand and said, “I’d like more math.” Everybody looks at her like what the hell is the matter with you.” She says, “Yeah.” I said, “What would you like?” She said, “Conformal mapping and convalescent intervals.” You go, really? I hadn’t heard those words in a long time myself. All I could think of was my own college days. 

I said, “Do you want celestial mechanics?” “Nope, don’t need that.” So the three big Cs of calculus is integral and differential and vector. The three little cs are what I just gave you. She knew them.

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

Everybody else was like … So I turned to the provost as we walked away and I said, “I want you to tell me by Friday why she wants that.”

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

It turns out the answer was she had been working on this animated film and she had a kid sitting on a bench fishing with his teddy bear. The teddy bear gets yanked in the water, and he jumps in to save him. But his shirt stayed on the bench.

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chuck House:

The mathematics of having the shirt mold to the boy is conformal mapping.

Chris Goward:

Right. 

Chuck House:

The idea of two objects moving as one is convalescent intervals. 

Chris Goward:

Geez.

Chuck House:

She had figured that out.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

Well, the sequel in terms of building reputation for this school is, the next year, she one the Intel grand challenge prize. Hundreds of entrants in America. She’s now a key designer for Tesla. 

Chris Goward:

Wow. The patterns occurring to me as you were talking. What you’re funding when you’re funding intrapreneurs is this sort of irrational passion for what they’re doing. You can give a contribution that, if it fuels their passion, if it fuels their interest and their desire, I’ve heard it said in the valley that the difference between an A player engineer and a B player engineer is literally 10 times the productivity.

Chuck House:

Oh yeah.

Chris Goward:

It’s not just incremental differences, because they put everything they are into this thing that they’re interested in, right? It sounds like that’s the situation. If you can show them that they have your support, it might not cost the world, but just something that … They can create their own path. They’ll, I would imagine, give you the loyalty back.

Chuck House:

Oh they do. It works at a group level even. Not everybody is a born intrapreneur and not everybody is a born entrepreneur, but the skillset is very widely … Your example of A student versus B and the productivity is right on. But I was with a company and how was I with that company? Oh yeah, I was running a division for that company now that I think about it. The company was Veritas.

We basically ran out of money. It was the third time that this company had run out of money. Twice it had been restart … Twice somebody had bought the assets for a dime on the dollar and rebooted the thing. We’re on the third of those. The guy running it this time was a very inclusive guy. He says, “I’m going to share everything about the company with all of us every Friday, and you’ve all got to be treating this as confidential, but you’re part of the team.”

Well, we ran out of money. He says, “Well, let’s just use script.” What’s script? Well, stock. We’ll basically do notes and stock. There were maybe four … we had 22 people on the team and maybe four we made exceptions because they had a sick spouse or I don’t know, some unpractical situation. Anyway, one person out of 22 quit over five months. Five months of no pay for all the people. This would have been 1990 … what the hell would that have been? ’95 maybe. 

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chuck House:

I told this to several friends and they said, “Well, they don’t know any better.” I interviewed them and, on average, I had been with three start ups that had failed. So it wasn’t that they didn’t know the downside, but they all stayed, and they stayed because they absolutely believed in what we were doing and believed in the guy running it, who is backing them to the hill. Well, it turned out it was Veritas and, when I went public, it went public big. Seventh highest New York stock exchange company in the world.

Chris Goward:

Wow. 

Chuck House:

So they all did pretty well. Well, sold me and my division to someone else, so I didn’t get to play. So these kids all became essentially millionaires, but that wasn’t what they were looking for.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

The key is that is not at all. It was that unbridled passion that you just described, no question. No question.

Chris Goward:

Yeah, it’s amazing what people will do when they have belief. That’s true.

Chuck House:

Yeah.

Chris Goward:

If you can harness that and find that key to their drive, that’s amazing.

Chuck House:

I know you have a lot of these interviews. Has this been consistent with what you do?

Chris Goward:

Well yeah, absolutely. I think that that’s why I’m so interested in the spirit of intrapreneurship. I think entrepreneurs get a lot of the credit in the world today. Entrepreneurs get the headlines. They’re the face of the company and its fame and fortune story. But intrapreneurs are really driving so much of the innovation in America. They have really unique challenges, and they do it for sometimes no good reason.

They could just keep their head down and kind of just keep [inaudible] and it will be fine. They have a great job. They’ve got a cushy place. It’s a safe environment and that’s what most people do. But these ones stand out because they don’t take that easy path, and I’m really curious as to why they do that and how we can support more of that.

Chuck House:

Yeah. I love it. I applaud what you’re trying to do. 

Chris Goward:

So I want to get into something. There’s an article you wrote that said something on corporate innovation. You said that the innovation spirit dampens at the management level rather than with the individual. I’m curious what you mean by this idea that managers are stopping innovation in some ways. 

Chuck House:

Well, so I gave you the Intel example. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

Four times in six years. To get to the executive committee of Intel, go get an invitation to present to the executive, you’ve got to either be well known in the company already or you’ve got some big idea. They’re not just let me call and say, hey I’ve got things I’d like to say. Are they available Monday?” 

Chris Goward:

Right.

Chuck House:

The point was I was new at Intel. I’d been acquired through … They bought a company that I was with. So here I am, and the question is how do you make a difference. So I worked in several different areas and I was kind of a, I wouldn’t say lone wolf, but I was kind of a consultant on hire for several different departments. One was the IT shop, one was the internal university, one was the video conferencing capability. So I jin up these ideas and get an audience, and they go nuts.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

Then it went flat. Well, how many of those do you … So I took it four times in six years and finally said, I can do better. Why did I take it that long? My wife was like, what the hell are you thinking. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

I said, “Well, what I’m thinking is I’m 63 years old and the pay isn’t that bad.” Because I didn’t want to go start something.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

They had the resources to do it. So one of them was Cisco Telepresence. Intel owned Cisco Telepresence or HV Halo, and we got a chance to do it. We could have made that stuff sing and Ethan kind of flubbed it. Now, Zoom is a lot better solution than any of that, but that’s a different story. But that’s what happens. I went back to one of the HV … Well, HV spun out several operations and one of them was a place called [inaudible] and then another was Keysight. So I’m consulting at Keysight and we’re at lunch with three vice presidents. One of them running the Santa Rosa facility, which is where we were. They said, “Creativity is kind of gone here.” Really, well why is that? “Well, we just can’t figure out how to fund special projects.”

Well, who’s we? Who sets the budgets? “Well, we do.” So don’t you remember the old rule. You have 30% goes into current engineering, 60% goes into refinement and next gen, and 10% goes into wild duck kind of things.

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

How are you spending the wild duck money? “Well, no. We’ve kind of gotten away from that.” Well, did the kids get you away? “No, they’ve got great ideas, but we can’t fund them.” Shit, don’t you guys build the budget?

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

So it’s my story with the kid that wanted the SIGGRAPH class. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

See that they’re the throttle. 

Chris Goward:

Have you seen a pattern of the difference between the culture that supports innovation intrapreneurs and those who don’t? Where does that start from? 

Chuck House:

Well, at HP I was pretty deeply built in for a long time. Both Dave Packard and Bill Hewitt built it, but they built a congregate of people under them and, when those people went out in the wilds, if you will, to divisions all over the world, literally speaking the people … I’ll say the three or four people who are leaders of the division that went to Boise, Idaho or Colorado Springs, or Carls Ru, Germany were kind of risk takers already. 

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

Chuck House:

They’d come through a nurturing environment, so they kind of inculcated this, hey, it’s okay to have speculating things. So the guy taking printing to … actually, he took Disk Drive Boise and then we could do printing. It was just kind of like Disk Drive. Not exactly like Disk Drive, but it’s a peripheral. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

Then he says, “We could tie onto every HP computer,” but he says, “there aren’t any. Why don’t we tie onto an IBM PC?” This is 1983. He did. He didn’t call and say I’m going to do that, or may I. He did it.

Chris Goward:

Right, yeah. 

Chuck House:

[inaudible] orders went ape shit. Then Palo Alto, well Cooper Kena the computer groups are like, “You can’t sell on an IBM computer.” Well, we just booked a half a million dollars.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

More than your whole place is worth. So it got deeply into the … and we all trade.

Chris Goward:

So from the beginning, the culture of supporting risk taking was always there, it sounds like. 

Chuck House:

Yeah, at our place it was. I think Apple … My wife was at Apple for a time. Jobs was notorious for cutting … What contribution does this make? If it’s not a 10X contribution or it’s not something that’s going to knock your socks off, why are we bothering? That sets a whole different … Joel Bernbom came from IBM to HP with risk architecture because they tried … He and John Cox invented reduced structure set computing and never got anywhere. They built it three times and never got anywhere in terms of putting it on the market. Ultimately put a half assed machine out there. But when he found out they did the thing down at Boca Ratton and didn’t let him … Then at HP, he wasn’t a business guy at all. He was an inventor kind of guy. He’d have been hopeless as an entrepreneur. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

But as an intrapreneur, essentially he recreated how computing is all … Everything at Intel these days is risk architecture.

Chris Goward:

Okay. Yeah, it’s fascinating. So then, now you’ve written this book about intrapreneurship, entrepreneurship called Permission Denied, right? So you’ve got these seven rules. Do you have the seven rules handy for intrapreneurs?

Chuck House:

For an intrapreneur, make a contribution. That’s that 10X idea. If it’s not a big deal, why bother? We’re not in this for refinement. We’re in this for … Think about it. So Jobs comes back to Apple and it’s not commonly understood that it took him eight years to make a profit after he came back. They forgot to leave that out of the biography.

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

It was a pretty long eight years, but what did he do right after he did … Remember those little fancy Apples that had the transparent covers?

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

The next thing he did was what? A music stick and announced that we’re going to sell two million of these next year. Well, he sold a couple hundred thousand. Then the next he says, well now we’re going to do two million. Then he did 400,000. It was just agony. But all of the sudden he said, “Oh, how about a music store that you can buy from as well as these little devices you can run it on?” Instantly it became a third of Apple’s revenue and 70% of the profit.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

Then he says, “How about a telephone.” John Dvorak, who use to write a lot of the critical stuff in the Valley says, “A fucking telephone? Are you kidding me? This will be the demise of Apple. What an idiot.” Well, it turns out that wasn’t a bad idea. Steve himself gets a lot of credit for those things, but it’s John Rubinstein is the guy that built the iPhone.

Chris Goward:

Hmm. 

Chuck House:

When he didn’t get funded by Steve for the third version, he went off and ran … What the hell was the little one? Pre. Do you remember the Pre. You probably don’t remember the Pre because it didn’t work. It was actually the first of the really good iPhones.

Chris Goward:

Okay. 

Chuck House:

But he did it as a startup and it turned out the startup failed. But yeah, there’s one where Steve let the guy go.

Chris Goward:

Okay. So he wasn’t perfect. 

Chuck House:

Yeah. My wife has quite a few stories. They weren’t all perfect. What you’re after is this … So anyway, make a contribution. That’s one. Point two, do your own market research.

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

I learned that pretty solidoly. Three, know your competitors. This is one that I’m consistently amazed that people don’t actually learn the landscape that they’re in. But we had one where we misunderstood who our main competitor was. That was this logic analyzer business. We thought it was still Techtronics. We’re in the scope division, right? Clearly, tech is our competitor. Well, it turned out Intel built emulators for their micros. 

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). 

Chuck House:

It turned out they were what designers were using for microchips. We’re trying to stop logic analyzers to do microchips, thinking tech is our competitor, but in fact it was Intel, and it took us like three years to realize, hey we’ve been focused on the wrong player. We were the 42nd company into that business because we were that stupid. 

It’s that getting your context raised one level and looking at what’s really the issue here. So know your competitors. I could give you some stories on that. Ask why all the time.

Chris Goward:

Yep.

Chuck House:

Why is it working this way? That’s the story of this gal with the vaccine. Why is … It’s kind of like Tom Edison and the light bulb. She failed like 50 times and then she and a colleague were trying to figure it out. They’re both going to get the award this year from us. He says, “Well, I’ve got this other thing that’s been really strange, but I wonder if this with yours …” They put it together and bingo.

We now have probably the safest set of vaccines that the world has ever seen because you’re not taking it from a sick animal and trying to grow it and culture it and all that. You’re doing it synthetically. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

Very tailored, very different. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah, game changing.

Chuck House:

In her view, they weren’t failed experiments. They were learning experiments. Then you’ve got to have your boss understand that. ‘iterate like crazy’ is number five. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

Let’s get with the program. Is your team … Here, this is one. When we got into Logic Analyzer, we didn’t know what we were doing. I set everybody out for a Hail Mary pass. I bought them all plane tickets and said, “Go find somebody using digital logic and tell me what you learned.” One guy goes, “Where do I go?” I said, “Just go to Atlanta and go see scientific Atlanta.” So he runs to the airport and he puts his airline tickets in the post office box and hands his utility bills to the airline counter. This was a freudian signal this guy didn’t want to go on. But they come back from these trips and one would say, “I found this.” Well, that doesn’t make any sense. Another one, “I found this.” Pretty soon, you’ve got a mosaic of a set of things that together our team learned what the business was. None of us alone could have done it.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

But people out for a pass, we probably got … Then you have the debate. Okay, now you’ve got some information to deal with. What’s really going on here? It’s like COVID. I’ve been doing a COVID dashboard. I wound up picking up the North and South Dakota stuff six weeks before the national press did. Easy to do if you’ve got the data. You know how to read it.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

Just kind of knowing your competitors. Then the last one, and this is very different than the book The Different Road. I say honor your bosses. His stance was kind of fight your bosses because they’re always in your way. My view is co-opt them. If you can convert one of those bosses to liking you and supporting you, you’re golden. That’s what you want to do. So that’s the seven rules for intrapreneurs themselves. 

Chris Goward:

Right.

Chuck House:

Is that-

Chris Goward:

Yeah, that’s perfect. That’s awesome. So seven rules, make a contribution, do your own market research, know your competitors, ask why all the time, iterate like crazy, use your team and honor your bosses.

Chuck House:

Yep.

Chris Goward:

Great. Do you feel like one of these is most lacking today, or are they all really equally important to emphasize?

Chuck House:

The first two are kind of my favorites.

Chris Goward:

Okay. Well, yeah.

Chuck House:

Those are fundamental. The others are also important, but those are fundamental.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. Those two are kind of the what are you doing, and the other ones are sort of more how. How do you get it done.

Chuck House:

Yeah.

Chris Goward:

That’s great. Well, that’s all really useful and I think the context of those stories has really been helpful to think about. The last thing I’d actually like to get your input on is just sort of thinking about someone who’s working in a large enterprise. They have ambition and energy and they’re this potential intrapreneur, or maybe you feel like they are and maybe they’re not getting support or they’re trying to spread their wings and they want to be a change leader. They want to be the next Chuck House. They want to make a mark in the world. So what would you tell them that you’d wish you’d known early on? What can they learn from your experience?

Chuck House:

You can have the idea. You’re sitting there camped on your idea. You’ve tried it three times on your boss and he or she’s gone to sleep. Eyes glaze and, oh God there he goes again. Go test it on someone else. I used to say test it on a best friend. You’re an expert 100 miles from home.

Chris Goward:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Chuck House:

Go try it somewhere else where they don’t really have any reason to have chosen sides.

Chris Goward:

Yeah. 

Chuck House:

I remember calling Cooper Kena. “Hey, we’re having trouble out here doing this and this. How do you guys do this?” Well shit, there’s no way we could do that. How do you do it? Then you describe this idea that you’ve been working on slaviously for like a year. They’re like, “Really? Have you actually got a prototype for that?” Yeah, we could probably … you show up a week from Monday and you show them, and they go crazy. One prototype guy ripped it out of our hands. This is an HP Cooper Kena. He calls the guy at IBM San Jose Labs, who’s working … We didn’t know it, but he’s working on the first Winchester Disk Drive. He says, “You’ve got to see this thing.” So he packs us up and we all go down there, and they wouldn’t let us leave. Our boss in Colorado Springs, who doesn’t know where I’m even at on this trip. He knows I’m on a trip, but I told him I was on vacation with my family.

IBM Pakipski calls Colorado Springs and says we want that thing. My boss is like, “What thing?” He says, “The what?” He never even learned what we called this thing. So I get back to Colorado Springs. He says, “Oh man, you’ve got to tell me what you’re doing.” He says, “I haven’t paid much attention,” but he said, “IBM is really excited.”

Well, if you find that somewhere with a display box, the one I’m taking the seat out of the car, I show up at a company called … What the hell were they called? The III. Information International Incorporated. III. Well, I didn’t know, and this is 1965. I didn’t know them from a slab, but they had a room full of computing gear that was bigger than any IT shop I’d ever seen. I hadn’t been to too many, but they’re in North Hollywood and they’re just going, “We think we could make pictures of animated cartoons.”

Really. They went nuts for this box. How much will it cost? When can I get one? Well, today we know that they created Tron. 

Chris Goward:

Oh wow. 

Chuck House:

I was the early guy there. They didn’t tell me what they were working on, but you could tell it lit their fire. Well, then when you’re home you can say, “If you don’t believe me, call them. Here’s their phone number.”

Chris Goward:

Yeah.

Chuck House:

Bosses actually grove on that.

Chris Goward:

Totally, yeah. 

Chuck House:

Most bosses want to succeed. What they want is to have their risk factor reduced. 

Chris Goward:

Right.

Chuck House:

If you do the market research and find some true believers, you’ve just lowered the tension level and the risk factor for people that are supposed to meet schedules and Hold targets. That’s their life. That’s what they understand. You say, “Look, we’re going to coin money. Trust me.” But as I’m thinking about it right now, that’s the difference that I discovered, and I discovered it slowly and painfully as opposed to someone told me and I went and did it.

But I think my dad probably taught me. We’d walk out of a shop, he says, “The dumb bastards at my company don’t understand what this guy’s problem is.” Then he would go home to his company and he’d say, “Call this guy.” This blacksmith shop in Indiana for crying out loud, but he happens to be building half of the Winnebagos in the country. It’s not exactly a blacksmith shop. You could be part of that. 

You go, oh. In that case, maybe I’ll back you. This has been great fun, Chris. I just appreciate you being interested in my story. 

Chris Goward:

Yeah, well thanks so much, Chuck. So much experience there to learn from, and I think these lessons are timeless. It’s really good for our listeners who really want to become that. So thanks so much.

Chuck House:

Okay, you bet. Take care.

Chris Goward:

Cheers.

This show is made possible by Wider Funnel, the company that designs digital experiences that work for enterprise brands, proven through experimentation. For more information, visit WiderFunnel.com/tellmemore. That’s W-I-D-E-R-F-U-N-N-E-L.com/tellmemore.