Pop Quiz, Monday with Phil La Duke

Phil La Duke

The Pop Quiz, Monday is a fun little exam that we love to give to savvy business owners. The examination is not a surprise after all since the interviewee already knew about the questions in advance. However, we can always pretend and have fun with the scenario of a young entrepreneur sitting in class nervously biting on their pencil. They are ready to take a pop quiz on a chapter that they were supposed to read the night before. Instead, they played Metroid all night on their SNES (Oops, this was me in high school). The real purpose of the pop quiz is that this is a fun way to introduce business tips from real-world experiences that you can not learn in a classroom. We want to thank our entrepreneur for being a good sport and volunteering their time to answer a few questions to help our community grow from their knowledge.

I want to introduce you to our guest today who will be taking our Pop Quiz Monday.

Can you please tell everyone your name?
Phil La Duke

What is your job role?
Business Consultant and Author

Tell us about your company?
My startup company became so successful so rapidly I was invited to join a Global, $ billion consulting firm as a partner. The firm has over 6,000 employees, over 200 offices in 41 countries and is growing every day. I also am an author for Marriah Publishing and am working on my third book.

What do you love most about your job?
I love the interaction with others in my field. I have great colleagues and love both company for which I work and the people associated with it. I am afforded the opportunity to work on diverse projects and with an incredibly diverse and interesting customer base.

What motivates you to get up every day and go to work?
I always tell young people that if it’s fun, they charge admission, but in my case, I really get excited about my work. Whether I am conducting groundbreaking research that has me talking to people from all over the world, or making sure that movie productions are as safe as possible, every day is different, and every day I learn something new. I have had jobs that were just drudgery and having one that consistently excites you is really a joy.

How do your co-workers inspire you?
My coworkers are some of the best minds working in their field. I remember talking to a colleague that I had just met. She does archeological impact studies (making sure that oil exploration doesn’t inadvertently destroy precious scientific relics) I asked how she got into it, and she said, “well I’m an astrophysicist by education, but as I did that kind of work I didn’t find it intellectually fulfilling. I have always like dinosaurs, so I decided to go back to school and get another doctorate in archeology, and now here I am, and I love it.” If you are secure, it feels good to be the dumbest person in the room and at my job that is usually the case. What’s more, nobody is condescending or lords it over you. It’s a very learning-centric environment.

How do you have fun at work (team building, pranks, etc..)?
If it’s fun, they charge admission and show me someone who isn’t occasionally frustrated by his or her job, and I will show you someone who either doesn’t take it seriously or just flat out doesn’t do his or her job. What I most like is that we don’t have cornball “team building exercises” we get together to barbecue, go to dinners, have holiday parties, and the like. There isn’t much prank-playing as that’s really not appropriate work behavior. We have fun because most of us genuinely like each other and enjoy the work. We have a good culture of collaboration and good leaders.

What are some of the challenges of your job?
Working at home 3.5 hours from my office can often makes me feel isolated and paranoid. It can make me feel unvalued even though nothing can be further from the truth. =

What are some lessons learned from a past project that you can share with us?
I was once asked by the COO of the company I was working at asked me to help him with a problem. He was a voracious reader and often bought business books for his staff which they never read (except me. You don’t survive long unless you know what your executives are reading. Anyway, I thought of a book club where we could go off-site and relax and talk about the latest book he had read. The COO loved the idea, I loved the idea, and it was a monumental flop. I learned then and there that if you love an idea more than the customer (internal or external) you will always fail and you will always be disappointed.

What advice would you give to someone who is starting out in your industry?
Hard work alone will not get you success. You have to have a great attitude AND work hard. Also, don’t push for success, let success come to you.

Thank you for taking our pop quiz today. You get an A+ for effort. You can learn more about our interviewee and their business by visiting them on the web:

Twitter @Philladuke




Author: Ricky Singh, MBA

Editor of The Startup Growth.

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