85th Edition – September 20, 2020
I have an organization of people who are specialists. You can’t match them anywhere in the world for what they do. But they all need to be pulled together, and that’s my job.Walt Disney
1. The Largest Software IPO Offering
Quick, do you know what the largest software IPO offering is?
A couple years ago, Dan Murray of Interworks told me, “Mark, keep an eye on Snowflake as you continue your Tableau projects.”
Snowflake is cloud-based data warehouse platform. If your company has an IT team, make sure Snowflake is on their radar.
Oh yes – the answer – I almost forgot. It’s Snowflake. Know and remember this name.
2. Three Costs I Want to Know About Every Data Warehousing Project
Speaking of Snowflake, the first business book I bought on Amazon was Ralph Kimball’s, The Data Warehousing Toolkit in early 1998.
While many aspects of the book were far beyond my brain grade, I learned these are not easy projects. However, here are three critical cost questions you need to nail (and you’ll still go over budget) –
- What are the hard and soft setup costs?
- What are the costs, direct and indirect, for migration (time is a biggie)?
- What is the ongoing cost for administration and maintenance?
Only work for small companies? You still want to be familiar with the concept of data warehouses. I promise that you’ll at least be involved in one such project during the course of your career. Do not shy away from it.
3. Would You Cook the Books if You Were Asked To?
Of course you wouldn’t.
When Aaron Beam started his first accounting position as a bookkeeper, he furthered his career by taking more accounting classes, passing the CPA exam, and ultimately becoming a controller. Later, he was a co-founder of HealthSouth and its first CFO where he became a multi-millionaire a few years afterward.
“Fix the books,” his then boss told him.
Aaron told me in an interview that it’s not enough to know right from wrong. You have to be ready to do the right thing when you are presented with an ethical dilemma.
Aaron went on to serve 90 days in prison for his role in the HealthSouth accounting fraud. Aaron is our latest guest on the CFO Bookshelf Podcast.
4. Escapism With a Disney Book
I’m careful with how many business books I read each year because I believe that the mind of the financial leader grows the most when we read titles in other fields or disciplines.
But when it’s time to hit a business book, sometimes, I need something that will suck me into the narrative and keep me engaged. Books about Disney do the trick.
I’m about to wrap up Window on Main Street by an author who knew Walt Disney and worked for his dream-come-true creation. If you like books on Disney, then this one belongs on your list as it’s considered one of the “holy grails” within Disney literature.
One of my favorite takeaways was that Disney never wanted to outsource services to third parties at his amusement parks. Doing so would have meant giving up control along with great, customer service.
5. What Are You Reading?
I get that question a lot. Well, here’s my current list –
- During a 2-hour walk yesterday, I started the Audible version of Huey Long by T Harry Williams – only 29 more hours to go.
- J.B. West used to be considered one of the most powerful men in Washington when he was the Usher at the White House serving 6 administrations. I still have a few chapters left on Upstairs at the White House.
- Edward Hess is the author of one of my favorite business books, Grow to Greatness. I just wrapped up his last book, Hyper-Learning which came out a few weeks ago. Dr. Hess will be joining us on the podcast to talk about this new book.
- I’ve been following business start-up expert Brett Fox for years on Quora. I was thrilled to see him release a book a few days ago entitled Learn How to Take A Punch. Brett will also be a future guest on the CFO Bookshelf Podcast.
Your turn, what are you reading?
Thank You For Reading. Thank you for making this a successful newsletter.
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Always be learning.