I have long been fascinated with the concept of a layered delay – a musical technique that defies the standard rules of composition to produce the most stunning audio textures and soundscapes. As a lifelong artist and musician who fell in love with software at a young age, I find it resonates on many levels. Above all else, it offers a profoundly useful framework for making sense of the seemingly random and chaotic nature of life. A layered delay is both simple and complex, continuous and discrete, elegant and unpredictable – one moment everything is falling apart; the next it’s in perfect synchronization.
Life doesn’t always make sense during the journey, but often reveals a beautiful masterpiece when looking back. Every step, regardless of the direction, brings new opportunity, challenge and perspective that come together to shape an entirely unique worldview that belongs only to you.
Most people know me as a software architect and data analytics expert, a product leader, keynote speaker and, of course, a co-founder of Incorta. If you follow me on Twitter (@LayeredDelay), you’ll know that I love making music, baking bread, racing trucks in the desert, biking the Santa Cruz mountains with my son, and learning to speak Korean (한국말로 꿈을 꾸려고 열심히 공부해요). What you may not know is that I am a father of four and three of my children were adopted from foster care. It’s a wild adventure every day with the Halliday clan, and that’s exactly how we like it.
I started building and designing enterprise software products in the late 1990s – first at Oracle and then Microsoft. This was a decade before the consumerization of IT, back when user-centric design was little more than an afterthought for most in the data industry. I had a passion for creating experiences that users would love, but I kept getting shot down. “That’s not the way it works, kid – this is enterprise software,” I would hear time and time again – but I wasn’t buying it.
After a second tour at Oracle in 2012, it was time to try something new. In late 2013, I made the leap into entrepreneurship, co-founding Incorta with three others from Oracle who, like me, were frustrated with the sad state of data experiences and believed there must be a better way.
At Incorta, I’ve had the opportunity to participate in just about every aspect of the company’s product development and growth over the years. The early years were especially fun – leading sales demos in the morning, designing user experiences and writing documentation in the afternoon, working with overseas developers at night to build out new functionality, and so on.
Through it all, several guiding principles have helped me navigate the journey. I regularly explore these concepts and frameworks – and how to apply them in different situations – on this blog. For example, a few principles that are always top of mind for me:
- Light a fire inside of people, not under them. People do their best when they are empowered and supported. Take care to give them the agency to explore, the privacy to fail, and the means to contribute when they are ready.
- What people ask for is not necessarily what they want or need. To uncover the truth, you have to ask – and keep asking – “why?” and “so what?” That’s the most reliable way to see the forest for the trees, which is often necessary to help people get what they want.
- Don’t mistake management for leadership. Managers keep the trains running on schedule. Leaders are in the business of communicating ideas that move people. You know you are a leader when people follow you even though they do not report to you.
I’m always up for talking about these ideas, as well as the other topics I write about on this blog. The fastest way to reach and engage with me in conversations is on Twitter. To share thoughts and/or other feedback on specific articles or topics I write about, leave a comment on the post(s) directly so it can be an open discussion. For more formal engagements, such as keynotes and other speaking requests, please use the contact form here.