Aspira, the specialist project management and enterprise IT solutions services organisation, has appointed Jim Blair as Director of Software Development. With a vast array of achievements on his CV, we’re excited to see what Jim achieves with Aspira, an already growing technology company.
What has your career looked like to date?
I graduated out of the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. After working a short time for Apple in Canada, I transfered to Apple’s HQ in Cupertino, California, where I was on the Macintosh design team, designing the software for new Macintosh computers. I designed two significant features of the Macintosh Powerbook, including the DiskMode application and the PC Card Manager and device drivers.
After designing Macs for almost 10 years, I moved to Ireland to start the first R&D OS development team in Cork. I finally departed Apple in 1998, when Steve Jobs closed all non-Californian core R&D sites.
I spent two years with Motorola in Cork, then began my career with start-ups. I ran the Cork office for S3Group for almost a decade, then I joined Sean O’Sullivan – the American Dragon’s Den investor – in Avego, where I ran the R&D function for Sean. I left Avego after three years and joined another Irish start-up named Lincor. Lincor transitioned the R&D to the USA and that took me over to Aspira, where I’ve been since late 2017. I’m currently the Director of Software Services for Aspira.
I love engineering, product development and leading teams, and I’ve done all three in most of my career roles, and I’m currently enjoying those challenges within Aspira!
We are delighted to announce that Jim Blair is our new Director of #softwaredevelopment at Aspira. Jim has led the engineering of many world-class solutions. Read more on @businesscork here: https://t.co/8MGvaiz8H6 pic.twitter.com/wqu2EXIJfq
— Aspira (@AspiraHQ) 11 July 2018
How do you generate your innovative ideas?
Ideas come to me like breathing! Like a lot of people, I’m able to take on a challenge, into my head, and let it rumble around for hours or days, and the ideas and innovations begin to grow! I also use some well-known processes for managing innovation within teams and organisations, because like most things with technology, the creativity isn’t hampered by a bit of process and constraints; it is sometimes much more impactful when the innovation is directed and focussed with a bit of control.
What drives you?
I love learning. The wonders of the universe and the world we live on never ceases to amaze me. I strive to translate those wonders through leading and teaching technology to kids and my staff and anyone else that is interested!
What’s the best thing you’ve learned from the worst boss you ever had?
That leaders need to do more than disperse high-level ideas if they expect to inspire engineering teams to deliver great products; many times they need to provide leadership at a level of hands-on detail that influences the work and choices that developers face, so that the leadership experience avoids unnecessary costly lessons.
How do you achieve a work/life balance?
I give my family time and focus that attempts to eliminate distractions from work. I also try to set targets for activities that are distinct from the world of work.
How important is upskilling to you?
Extremely. If technology people don’t upskill, they are destined to dilute their relevance and influence.
Describe yourself in one word?
What trait do you value most in a person you do business with?
If you couldn’t do what you do now for a living, what would you do?
I would be either an astronaut, a pilot or a geologist; the earth below us, the sky around us, or the space out there in the universe!
Share an anecdote with us that illustrates your business self in action.
I was running the design centre for an Irish start-up that had two distinct, business divisions; one focussed on software services and the other focussed on silicon services. Most of my engineering career was designing and implementing software, so when the opportunity came up for me to manage the whole silicon design services business, I had to overcome the fact that I hadn’t professionally engineered a chip at the level of what my company was able to deliver. I had to work my proverbial a** off to get so familiar with the processes and technology that I could work with my silicon teams and influence the chip development. This was a huge risk taken by my organisation, but I proved that my will to achieve was much stronger than the challenges that I had to overcome!
Tell us the most interesting thing about you that we could learn from your CV.
I designed, single-handed, significant products for the most successful technology company in the world, Apple, and the two big products were very successful!
How do you think your team would describe you?
Someone who demands a lot, but who is committed to doing the utmost for those in his team.
What’s your number one networking tip?
Be quick to recognise other’s achievements.
What advice do you have for those who wish to break into your industry?
Product development is hard work, but extremely rewarding work. It is usually a combination of individual commitment to excellence and altruism for your team. You can be part of an achievement that goes well beyond a normal expectation, if you keep those two principles in mind.
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