Corey Mandell has been creating technology companies since 1993. After creating a 70-pound, pre-Internet micro-computer for the United States Department of Defense, he got to work starting and selling his own technology company building tools for the newly released Windows 3.1.
Mandell has refined his management style, management by walking around, and said he enjoys interacting with and helping his employees solve problems and create great tech.
“If you manage people in such a way that you are enticing them to learn more technology, use more technology, they will come up with innovative ideas that will blow you away,” Mandell said. “Your job is to clear the way so they can do that, and be ready to detect it when they have a gem and support them.”
Today, Mandell is the chief technology officer and president of Greater Intell, founded in 2013. The Kirkland-based company developed a suite of tools to help information systems managers securely and remotely monitor their systems and integrate with third-party management software.
Even as Greater Intell prepares to further its partnership with Kaseya, a remote management software company, Mandell is thinking about his next project and building a team to make it happen.
“I need to be hands-on. I like to start companies because I get to write code,” Mandell said. “When it evolves to where I don’t get to write code, that’s when the boredom sets in.”
Between projects and contracts, Mandell took a few minutes to share some lessons learned from his years in the tech industry.
Have a clear vision of the problem your product will solve. For a few years midway through his career, Mandell worked as a consultant for venture capitalists analyzing companies for investment. His main takeaway: The product can’t just solve today’s problem. “You have to project into the future about future problems, the evolution of your solution and why, where, and when those two sectors meet. (There were) people so passionate about what they believe, and I love their passion, but passion does not create truth. It’s gotta have the meaning behind it.”
Enjoy building the team. “Bringing together the right people, in the right mixture, to get the most out of them to create a synergy that you wouldn’t normally see, that’s exciting to me. To me, an eight- to 15-person company can do more than a 35- to 60- person company because by the time you’re that big, you’re really having to solve your core business problems day in and day out because you’ve been in business and you have to keep the business. That creative time, when you’re small, there’s nothing more fun than that.”
Nurture your network. “When you meet CEOs or leaders in the technology world, you tend to meet them over and over because we’re all serial entrepreneur people and we love the creation of the technology and to solve business problems. This group in the Northwest is probably the most in tune to understand that business relationships are give-and-take. Nurturing that network is key.”
This article originally appeared in the May 2016 issue of “425 Business.”