David Edgerton Jr

Experienced IT Leader | Business Educator | Diversity Advocate


David Edgerton Jr

Experienced IT Leader | Business Educator | Diversity Advocate


DAVID EDGERTON JR.

Experienced IT Leader | Business Educator | Diversity Advocate

15/01/17 App , Business , Computer , Entrepreneurship , iOS , Mac no responses

Here We Go

This year I’m going all out to create the software company I’ve wanted to create.  I’m diving deep into the Apple ecosystem to learn the Swift language and the IOS mobile operating system.  I’m starting my journey by creating small utility apps like calculators to get my process down for creating software and how long it takes me.  I’m looking to have some free apps and paid apps in the App Store by the end of this year.  My focus outside of keeping my day job is to understand all I can about creating and building a small tech company.  It will be bootstrapped with my own money and I will keep all the equity – for now.

Some people say that the app business is dead and/or dying a slow death.  I say I’m going to do this so I can prove to myself that it can be done.

More to come on this journey of discovery, experimentation, and hopefully profitable growth.

13/01/17 Uncategorized no responses

Getting Started

Wow,…2017 is here.  I can tell how fast the year is going to go by how fast January seems to pass me by.  It is going to be a great year.

There were several goals I set for myself in 2016 that I didn’t accomplish.  There are several things I wanted to get done that I didn’t get done like I wanted.  There are several big pie-in-the-sky plans I made that didn’t amount to anything.

But,…I’m still here.  I’m made it to the end of another year and I have everything I had when I started 2016 and more.  I have more love for my family and friends.  I have more appreciation for my health and strength.  I have helped others and made other lives better.

So now it is about getting started.  To me that means putting the past behind and reaching forward into the unknown future.  There are things I want to do but I’m not going to beat myself up if I don’t get them done.  I’m going to enjoy the journey and continue to appreciate the sights and landmarks in on this trip called life.

 

 

17/12/16 Blogging , Diversity And Inclusion , Technology no responses

40 Acres and A Mule 2.0

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I coined a phrase that was retweeted a couple of times that I want to elaborate on. The quote was “a computer and the internet is the new 40 acres and a mule.”

Some may not be familiar with that phrase ’40 acres and a mule’ so I borrowed this definition from Wikipedia:

Forty acres and a mule is a concept in the United States for agrarian reform for former enslaved African American farmers, following disruptions to the institution of slavery provoked by the American Civil War. Many freedmen believed and were told by various political figures that they had a right to own the land they had long worked as slaves, and were eager to control their own property.

Today I still don’t know of anyone who received their forty acres and a mule – not my great-great grandparents, my great grandparents, or my grandparents. This is one of the reasons the socioeconomic gaps still exist today in our racially-divided society. Wealth was created from land ownership and continues to be one of the ways to preserve financial legacies that were created so long ago for people other than African Americans – who were denied access to this powerful economical asset for years.

However, I believe that there is a way to combat some of the inequities I’ve experienced living here in Minnesota and abroad in the United States. The new 40 acres and a mule are within grasp. You can pick up your mule at the nearest Best Buy, Office Max/Depot, or if necessary Target or Walmart. They have plenty of mules to pick from – some have Windows 10 operating systems, some have MacOSX operating systems, some come with large screens, and some come with nice wireless peripherals. Some come in tablet form, laptop form, and desktop forms. If you don’t have one you should go pick one up today.

Today, the 40 acres references the vast real estate expressed in what we call “the cloud.”  The internet is a land of vast opportunity that the mule can help you navigate and cultivate. Some people can explore and establish their own territory in this land of opportunity faster than others so you need not only a good strong fast mule, like my MacBook Pro with a i7 processor, 8Gb of RAM and solid state disk drive, but you also need that mule to plow the ground of the internet efficiently as possible. I suggest some sort of broadband access in needed – my choice is cable internet access. And if you can’t get that access at home there are a couple of place that can provide that access for you. I would try some of the local public libraries and some of the coffee shops as well.

When claiming your 40 acres you have a variety of addresses you can use to distinguish your homestead versus others. One of my favorites is the .com moniker, but now there are .biz, .info, .shop, and .site – so depending on how you are using your land grant you should name it accordingly.

My point of all of this is to say that today we as African Americans can leverage the new 40 acres and a mule to create a future for ourselves. We can leverage technology today to start new businesses and ventures that were not possible years ago. We can with a low cost start a new enterprise and sell products and services to anyone no matter where they are in the world. All you need is a bank account, a square device, and a cell phone and you able to take credit payments. We can use these tools to help close the socioeconomic gaps we have by making incremental steps to expand our literacy in this space and by building an economic base to create enduring legacies for the generations to come.

Blacks in Technology is a group I’m a part of that focuses on this very issue – how do we increase our pipeline of African-American talent into technology-based roles, how do we provide peer-to-peer support for African-American technology professionals, and how do we provide resources to encourage African-Americans to take the leap into entrepreneurship using technology – and support them when they do.

It all starts when we get more of us to claim our 40 acres and a mule that we were promised over 150 years ago – but realized that they are different and have more power in this current century.

13/12/16 Uncategorized no responses

The Real Reason for Gifts at Christmas

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I was attending bible study with our youth ministry last Wednesday and the subject came up of going to Church on Christmas Day – which is on a Sunday.  When the young people were asked about coming to church that day, I was surprised that they responded with disappointment.  When asked why they didn’t want to come to church on Christmas, the answers were all centered around not being able to play with their toys or not being able to open their gifts because they would have to go to church.

I took this response as a teaching moment to share with the youth that our society has turned one of Christianity’s sacred celebrations into something totally different.  Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ and how He was a gift to us from God.  It wasn’t about the people receiving Him as a gift.

And it would seem to me that on one of the celebratory holidays for Christians, with the other being Easter, that you would be in church – especially if Christmas fell on a Sunday like it does this year.

Christmas is about giving more than it is about receiving.  In our house we celebrate each person’s birthday as the day we give them things they want.  On Christmas we are trying to make it more about giving.  Our church does a Christmas basket prep activity and takes the baskets to some of the area’s rest homes for the tenants.  I’m looking forward to that because the spirit of Christmas is about being thankful and giving to others.

 

16/11/16 Blogging , Insights , Inspiration no responses # , ,

Change is Inevitable – Growth is Optional

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In a sermon a few weeks ago my pastor made this statement that caused me to really think:

“Change is inevitable – growth is optional”

I thought, “What?  I thought you grow when you change or make changes in your life.  I don’t get it.”

Then I started thinking about the changes I’ve experienced at work, at home, and throughout my life.  What I started to see is whenever I experienced a change that was unexpected, how I dealt with the change usually made me aware of something I didn’t know about myself before the change occurred.  It was my choice to either accept the lesson and learn from it or dismiss it as some random act with no value I could extract in preparation for the next event that comes up.

When it comes down to it we all are going to change over our lifetimes.  We all are going to have events in our life that show up expectedly or we plan for but may go a different way than expected.  The question is what do you learn from these experiences that help you become a better person?  How do you use what happened to your advantage?  What is the lesson in the event that you need to get that prepares you in some way to face the next event with a better mindset and attitude?

Because change is inevitable make sure you take the option to grow from the changes.  It will make you better than the day before and help you reach your full potential and purpose.

03/11/16 Uncategorized no responses

4:30 AM

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I had a birthday a couple of weeks ago.  I love my birthday – it is my personal holiday.

I wanted to make some changes that would stick so I decided to focus on my health for the next 365 days.  I decided to go to the gym.

When I go to the gym I have to wake up at 4:30 AM to get there by 5:00 AM.  I thought this was going to be a hard sell to my body but I got a little help from a meeting I have with a software development team in India at 6:30 AM.  I figured I would go to the gym before this meeting – which was a little crazy.

I’ve been doing this for 2 weeks straight now (I go to the gym at 6:00 AM on Saturday and Sunday so I sleep in one hour) and I genuinely feel better.  I also cut out drinking sodas, tea, and coffee too (I don’t know how I did that) and it is working for me.  Once you get through the initial headaches that occur with getting that sugar out of your body it gets easier to drink just water.

This is what I’m doing and it seems to be working for me.

19/09/16 Business Model , Entertainment , Entrepreneurship , MBA , Teaching , Technology no responses

Texas Hold ‘Em: A Great Tool for Learning About Business and Life

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This past weekend I attended and won a poker tournament held at a colleague’s house.  The tournament is held every quarter to raise funds for a local charity and this particular tournament was the fiftieth one – so it was a special occasion.  The event has generated over $24,000 in donations which I’m proud to have participated.

When I think about the game itself I don’t consider myself the best player.  I don’t play all the time and don’t really have many friends that play the game.  Back home and in college the game to know and play was spades.  You couldn’t find a college campus that didn’t have a spade game going on in the student union or sometimes in the barbershop.

When I think about the game and what you have to do to be successful in business and life, it reminds me of what an entrepreneur and/or business person has to do to compete in the marketplace.  Here are a couple of things I picked up from the game that helps me with my ventures:

  • You cannot win if you don’t get in the game.  Before the game everyone paid $40 and got the same number of chips.  I can guarantee you that the people that don’t pay to play in the tournament will never win the tournament.  I think the same goes with being an entrepreneur or business person where you have to pay the cost of admission into the space you are trying to compete in and win.  If you have to study, take courses, get mentoring, work for someone else to learn your craft, then do it.  That education and/or experience will be the best thing you can use to set yourself up for a great entry into a market or introduce a new service.  But the thing you have to realize is that the business or venture you want to sell for millions won’t get sold unless you first start it – so go start it and learn what you need to learn as you need it.
  • Standing still and doing nothing will eventually kill you.  The game has what’s called a big blind and a small blind.  These are the bets that 2 players have to make that sit clockwise from the dealer – before they see the rest of the cards.  If the cards are good then they can play the hand but if the cards are bad then they lose the chips they had to bet.  The blinds in our tournament increase every 30 minutes so in the beginning they were $25 and $50 and by the end of the tournament they were $400 and $800.  This is designed to speed up the game by weeding out the players with short stacks of chips.  In life, if you don’t decide to get into the game and create your opportunities, the cost of getting into the game later will continue to increase and take what you have – until you don’t have anything else and you are kicked out of the game.  That resource could be time or funds or confidence so you have to watch what the game of life requires of you.  Some people choose to stay where they are because it is comfortable, but those who chose to play the game of life realize that they have to “keep it moving” and take advantage of opportunities when they reveal themselves or are created.
  • Make the most of every hand you play – whether you have a logical system or you can calculate all the probabilities for getting the cards you want, play the hand you are given the best you can every time.  Sometimes you can win with a bad hand if you play it right.  There was one time in the game where I had a couple of deuces and decided to play the hand since I had put in one of the blind bets.  When the flop came (the 3 cards you start with from the dealer to build your poker hand) I got another deuce and a seven of hearts.  Then later I got another seven which gave me a full house – which has a higher probability of winning than most hands.  Normally I wouldn’t have played that hand but something inside my head said “play this hand.”  The same goes with life – when you are given what you are given then use it to the advantage you have to be successful.  You can make your situation better than it is if you don’t focus on what you’ve got and focus on what you can do with it.  There are many successful entrepreneurs and business people that started with nothing and turned that nothing into something.  Pull the vision of success you have out of your head into the reality of your life by using what you have.
  • Always know what hand can beat you – some people would call this knowing the competition and the threats in the marketplace.  While making the most of the cards you have, you have to know what combinations of hands that can beat you; so you know if someone starts to bluff or play aggressively you know what you are up against.  There are many times in poker that the possibility of having a better hand was there for my opponents, but you cannot play effectively if you don’t know what hand can beat you.  In life, know your limitations, your development areas, and your shortcomings so that you can prepare to either shield yourself when competitive threats come against you or exploit those moments, when opportunities come, to get ahead of your competition.  Partner with people and organizations that can complement what you have so you can limit your exposure to competitive threats.
  • Mitigate, accept, or transfer your risks – Sometimes you have to see the flop before you go further with a hand.  You may have to pay more money just to get the privilege to keep going forward in the game at that moment.  There are many hands that I could have won but decided to fold because the cards were just too bad to play.  You can’t win if you don’t take risks so you have to learn how to read a situation to determine if the risk is worth taking.  I’ve played some crazy hands of poker and still won because I took some chances that just happen to pay off.  The same thing happens in life when you take certain chances to improve your outcomes.  It would not be wise to play every hand but it is wise to take some calculated chances.  That is what most successful entrepreneurs do – they don’t always jump all-in on an opportunity without some way to increase their probability of success.  They make sure they are shielded from the downside of a move they make while maximizing their upside potential. This is where entrepreneurs and business people have to learn how to take the right changes and risks to get where they are supposed to go.  Some smart person said that the fruit on the tree is always out on a limb so you have to sometimes climb the tree and go out on the limb to get the prize.
  • If you don’t succeed the first time keeping trying.  This was the third tournament I have played in 2 years.  The first time I played I was done and bowed out early.  The second time I played I made it to the final table but was out shortly thereafter.  Then the third time I played I outlasted the competition won the tournament.  In life, if you want to achieve something, you have to keep at it consistently and believe that one day everything will be in place for you to win.  But you must first believe that you can win before you do win.  When I made it to the last table something told me that I could really win this tournament if I believed I could win.  I started believing and the outcome was my first trophy.

As I reflect on my weekend fun, I can’t help but see the similarities in the game of poker and starting a business or taking on any major project in life.  You’ve got to take changes while mitigating your risks, you have to know what can bite you, you have to keep things moving, and you have to continue to learn from what you do.

 

14/09/16 Blogging , Diversity And Inclusion , Insights , Reflections , Social Media , Strategy , Writing no responses

Trying To Help Someone Showed Me Something Else

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A few weeks ago, I was driving through the city to get home and got the taste for a white chocolate mocha from Starbucks (now you want one too.)  I know where all the Starbucks stores are without the app so I pulled over to the one I knew in downtown St. Paul.

The weather was nice so I had my sunroof back and my windows down; enjoying the breeze of fresh air as I cruised through the downtown street.  When I parked, I heard voice from the driver side of the car saying “I’m hungry!  Help me!”  When I looked in that direction, I found a lady sticking her head in my car through the open window yelling at me.  While her presence startled me I quickly evaluated the situation and assessed that she was not a threat.

I get out of my car and say “Ma’am, I’d be happy to get you something to eat.  Come on with me to Starbucks and I get you something.”

To my surprise the woman then got really upset with me and said “I don’t want no Starbucks.  I want some chicken and biscuits!”

I said, “Ma’am, I don’t know where you are going to get some chicken and biscuits but I know I can get you something to eat in the Starbucks if you come with me.”  The Starbucks by the way was right across the street from where I parked.

The woman continued to yell at me and said “I don’t want no Starbucks!  It’s too expensive.  I want some chicken and biscuits!” as she walked away.

What did this show me?

I’m an advocate for diversity; especially in the tech space and specifically in Minnesota.  Companies are communicating that they want the best people to fulfill their need for talent but when someone offers a solution to can fulfill that need that doesn’t look like what they expect it to look like, then those hiring managers chose to bypass those opportunities and continue to search for what is familiar to them; even if they have to walk away and go pass the pool of candidates right in front of them.  Some call that unconscious bias.

If you need great talent then you need great talent; no matter what the package is.  If the lady was truly hungry then what she needed was food; not what she visualized the solution was.

What do you think?  

 

 

13/09/16 Uncategorized no responses

9/11 – The Date When Life Changed For Me

15 years old I was working at my first company that manufactured and sold TVs. I had been there for 5 years; graduating from the rotational technical leadership program and moving into the information technology department. I was running a team that handled updating content for all the web properties the company owned.

I remember coming to work that faithful day. The building had 6 floors and an atrium where you could see 60″ projection televisions all tuned in to the news. You could imagine my shock when I got to work and every screen was tuned in to the Twin Towers in New York. The first plane had already hit the first building and later on that morning I watched the second plane hit the other building.

I remember giving my team time to process the events. I had one team member that was so distraught that I let her go home to be with her family. Other team members were in a daze; trying to process the horror of the attacks and thinking about the people affected by the actions of terrorists. Others in the building were contacting relatives and friends they knew in New York to see if they heard from people that went to work that day in the Twin Towers.

While I couldn’t think of anyone I knew personally, I was thinking about my deceased father – whose birthday was the same day that the Twin Towers were attacked. Now there was this terrible incident attached to the same day I held in high esteem because of what my father meant to me.

In the midst of everything going on, I received a call from a hiring manager I had interviewed with at a company in Minnesota. When we spoke she acknowledged the event that had occurred and offered an apology for the timing of the call. She went on to talk about my offer to join her at a company that was spun off from a larger company 5 years before. After a short time of contemplating the offer I happily accepted.

For the next 15 years I’ve experienced the greatest and worst times in my corporate career. I’ve had some unique opportunities to grow and expand my knowledge while trying new things that I would not have tried had I stayed with my previous company. I’ve made new friends and have connected with great people that I probably would not have had access to had I not taken this opportunity. I can say that I am a better person because of this change in my life.

I no longer work for that company that brought me to Minnesota but every year I contact my friend, who called me that faithful day 15 years ago, to say thank you for inviting me to a new chapter of my life and I thank her for taking a chance on me. I propose that you do the same – on 9/11 remember those whose lives were impacted 15 years ago by showing gratitude for what you have and what you have been given.

21/08/16 Entertainment , Insights , Inspiration , Uncategorized no responses

The Greatest Musical Ever

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If you have not the opportunity to see The Lion King broadway musical you have to find a way to attend.  The production was unbelievable and the artistry of props and costumes really impressed me.  I had a chance to attend with my lovely wife and 2 friends a few weeks ago in Minneapolis and it was a great time.

What also amazes me about the production is that is has be going on for 15 years and has earned over $6 billion in revenue.  How does a story about lions and hyenas pull that kind of financial weight for so long?  I believe it comes down to a couple of things:

Everyone can identify with the strong characters – there is a person like Mufasa, Simba, Scar, Nala, and Zazoo in everyone’s life.  Their personalities are definitive yet relatable so you can immediately become a part of the story as you watch the plot unfolds.

The circle of life is definitely demonstrated in the story – while sad, Mufasa, the patriarch, passed on but makes way for his son Simba to take his place.  This is something about the changing of the guard that we like to see – even if there is a period where things don’t go the way they should.

The story is timeless – we will be thinking about this story forever because all the elements are repeatable throughout life.  This story is just as good in the 1990s as it will be in the 2090s.

 

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