December 9

Ep. 16 Mark Settle – NASA to 7 Time Chief Information Officer

Author, Chief Information Officer, Management

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Biography

Mark Settle is a seven-time Chief Information Officer with broad business experience in information services, enterprise software, consumer products, high tech distribution, financial services and oil & gas. He has led IT organizations that support internal business operations, product development and customer-facing service capabilities. Mark is the author of Truth from the Trenches: A Practical Guide to the Art of IT Management. He most recently served as the CIO of Okta, a San Francisco company offering cloud-based solutions for identity and access management. 

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Episode Summary

As a kid, Mark wanted to be an Astronaut. So he decided to major in Geology in school. “I thought I’d be able to wear blue jeans for the rest of my life and I also thought I’d spend all my summers in the outdoors”, he reflects. Mark got his PhD in Geology from Brown and decided to join the Air Force.

Post Air Force, Mark got a rare opportunity to work for NASA. He was living his childhood dream. How many of us can say this? He even got a chance to go through some astronaut training. After a few years with NASA, Mark decided to pivot and go into private industry, Oil. “The oil industry is actually a technology industry at the end of the day”, Mark says. While this is not obvious, Mark used this experience in oil to become an influential technologist.

In this episode, Mark shares important insights for anyone in information technology. You’ll hear about Mark’s experiences managing teams. You will hear a seasoned pro talk about hiring and how to consistently finds the best talent. You’ll also learn why Mark left NASA and how he become a 7 time CIO.

In this episode we’ll also cover: 

  1. How to be successful in the Chief Information Officer role
  2. Best ways to develop relationships within an organization
  3. Who is the audience for his book and why he wrote it
  4. Advice for potential CIO’s and IT managers

Key Milestones

[01:27] – Mark’s backstory
[05:08] – Key skills that prepared Mark for Chief Information Officer role
[09:53] – How IT generates business value in a company
[12:42] – Mark’s book, Truth from the Trenches: A Practical Guide to the Art of IT Management
[16:02] – Managing people in a technical organization
[24:21] – What to look for when you’e hiring new talent
[28:42] – Driving value in a an organization with higher expectations
[34:07] – Advice for someone wanting to transition into a CIO role

Key Quotes

“I ended up choosing biology as a major because I thought I’d be able to wear blue jeans for the rest of my life and I also thought I’d spend all my summers in the outdoors.”

“The oil industry is actually a technology industry at the end of the day”

“You can be successful as a CIO and find a long-term career path in the CIO role if you have a love of technology and a very healthy curiosity of business and how business works….”

“I never anticipated that I would be a 7 time CIO and I never anticipated the variety of companies I’ve had a chance to work for.”

“We all have a tendency to want to do our last job instead of our current job.”

“I’ve learned more by traveling with business executives than I have by sitting through tons of formal reviews.”

“IT people cannot produce business results in and of themselves.”

“I’m always interested in the questions people come to the interview with.”

“The people who have long, cumbersome, convoluted answers to questions, particularly if they repeat themselves have somewhat of an unfocused thinking process.”

“You gotta get as close to the paying customer as you possibly can.”

Additional Resources

CONNECT WITH MARK SETTLE
CIO Magazine
LinkedIn
Mark’s book: Truth from the Trenches: A Practical Guide to the Art of It Management

CONNECT WITH GRANT INGERSOLL
LinkedIn
Twitter


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