When Neal Gottsacker decided to take the role of chief product officer at Bellevue, Wash.-based Nintex, he was confident that it was going to be a good fit.
He interviewed with a dozen people in a day during the hiring process, but instead of crawling out exhausted, “I walked away so energized from those conversations,” Gottsacker said. “What energized me the most were the people, the conversations and the very clear passion so many of these people have for the business and the customers.”
He loved the non-bureaucratic, let’s-get-it-done vibe. It fit with his Midwest mentality. Coming from Wisconsin to the greater Seattle area, “you have a different pace,” Gottsacker said. But Midwesterners bring their own game. “People tend to be early risers and work late. There is a very strong work ethic.”
Gottsacker joined Nintex, a workflow automation company that eliminates paper-based systems in industries such as energy, financial services and health, in December. Last month the company announced that it was partnering with Adobe Sign in order to provide its own electronic signature service as part of its product. That means going head-to-head with DocuSign, which was formerly Seattle based and is one of the biggest players in the space.
With 25 years in the tech sector at companies large (including general manager of enterprise software at Hewlett-Packard) and small (his own software startup), Gottsacker is ready for the throw down over e-signatures.
From his startup experience, Gottsacker had the chance to learn the importance of true product fit for a market, and the necessity of pivoting based on customer feedback. In his current role, he’s responsible for product strategy and prioritizing product development.
Launching his own company, “I learned a lot of things that you can read about but maybe don’t internalize until you experience it,” he said. While he ran the business for more than five years, the endeavor didn’t go exactly to plan. If it had, “I’d be on a beach right now. But there are no regrets. I felt like I was in an advance degree program.”
Current location: Bellevue, Wash.
Computer types: MacBook Pro, at home and at work.
Mobile devices: iPhone and iPad.
Favorite apps, cloud services and software tools: Flipboard for curated news, Microsoft Teams for collaboration, LinkedIn for networking, Quora for interesting Q&A, Spotify for music.
Describe your workspace. Why does it work for you? My office includes an adjustable stand-up desk, a large TV screen, conference table and whiteboard. I tend to be an analytical and visual person so options to seamlessly display and visualize information is important to me. The two monitors for my laptop and a large screen TV make the space very conducive for accessing and sharing multiple sources of information. The conference table and whiteboard are also great for allowing interactive discussions with member of my team.
Your best advice for managing everyday work and life? Have a hobby and/or exercise routinely. It’s important that you allow yourself time away from your work agenda. Spend time with family and friends and be present for them. Permit yourself to relax.
Your preferred social network? How do you use it for business/work? LinkedIn. I follow industry groups to stay in touch with the latest issues and trends facing companies. Also, LinkedIn has served me well to stay in touch with interesting people I’ve met throughout my career as well as to expand my network. It’s also a great tool for attracting new talent.
Current number of unanswered emails in your inbox? About 20.
Number of appointments/meetings on your calendar this week? 26, but that will probably go up.
How do you run meetings? I prefer to keep them as short as possible. Going into meetings I want to make sure everyone is clear on the objectives and agenda for team meetings, especially if decisions need to be made. I look for help to assist in facilitation if we’re brainstorming to keep things on track.
Everyday work uniform? Comfortable slacks, sometimes jeans, and a button-down shirt. Always comfortable shoes.
How do you make time for family? Evenings and weekends are the time for my wife and me to relax and spend quality time together. Our kids are grown, but fortunately text frequently — especially if they need something — and we FaceTime with them on the weekends.
Best stress reliever? How do you unplug? An intense workout with cardio and weights are a go-to stress reliever for me. I love being outdoors and actually enjoy yard work, landscaping projects, hiking and walking our dogs.
What are you listening to? Magic Giant, Bastille, Mumford and Sons, Journey, The Black Keys, Bleachers and Rick Braun.
Daily reads? Favorite sites and newsletters? Flipboard for news, TED talks, the McKinsey newsletter, The Manitowoc Minute podcast by Charlie Berens.
Book on your nightstand (or e-reader)? “Total Control” by David Baldacci.
Night owl or early riser? I’m an early riser. I try to get seven hours sleep most nights. Weekends are for sleeping in, at least to the extent our two dogs, Stella and Lexi, allow us to.
Where do you get your best ideas? On my elliptical or lawn tractor. Exercise and yard work!
Whose work style would you want to learn more about or emulate? Warren Buffet, philanthropist and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, as he’s able to make clear and concise business assessments no matter how complex.