Sep 23, 2021 | 25 min read

Product Thought Leadership with Timothy Alvis

By: Patrick Emmons

Product Thought Leadership with Timothy Alvis

Timothy Alvis is the Chief Product Officer at SPINS and has over 20 years of experience marrying product, consumer needs, and business outcomes. He joined the podcast today to offer his tips for product teams and why they should focus on understanding problems rather than coming up with solutions.

Having started his career as the founder of multiple gaming companies, Tim also discusses the creativity involved with popular video games like Minecraft and Roblox. Tune in for his insights.


Pat: Welcome to the Innovation and the Digital Enterprise podcast, where we interview successful visionaries and leaders, giving you an insight into how they drive and support innovation within their organizations.

Shelli: Today we’re welcoming Tim Alvis to the show. Tim is the EVP of product innovation at SPINS, a leading provider of retail, consumer insights, and analytics for the natural, organic, and specialty products industry. As EVP of product innovation, he is responsible for the technology and product strategy and leads to data governance, engineering, product management, product design, and development operations teams.

Before becoming the EVP of product innovation, Tim held numerous other positions at SPINS, including president of retail operations and vice president of product. Prior to SPINS, Tim held positions at Microsoft, Rightpoint, and Amazon. He launched his first software startup at the age of 20 and has co-founded another five companies after that. Welcome to the show, Tim.

Tim: Thank you so much for having me.

Providing Shaped Retail Insights (01:18)

Pat: Tim, if you don’t mind, please share with our listeners a little bit more about SPINS and your role there.

Tim: SPINS provides shaped insight into retail data across North America, and soon others. We take in information around what is selling and where it’s selling, and align that to things that are frankly not commodities in terms of data out there. Things like whether something is keto, or gluten-free, or if it can be eaten if you have a peanut allergy.

By being able to take those types of insights and overlay that and correlate that against retail activity, we’re able to help retailers, brands, and investors get an idea of what consumers are actually looking for and understand what trends exist overall. We really help conventional and specialty retailers look at that market. Most of the growth isn’t happening in conventional products. It’s happening in products that qualify for that specialty status.

Pat: That’s pretty interesting stuff. Chicago historically has so much experience in ratings and data investigation. I think about a lot of the organizations here in Chicago that have really become the focal points for many industries. How did SPINS get into this? Is this something that they started out with? Is it something that they pivoted to?

Tim: SPINS has been around for quite a long time. Much longer than I’ve been here. I think it’s 25 or 26 years. They started very much working with specialty retailers. An IRI or a Nielsen deals largely with more conventional retail outlets. It was just an underserved market, where local products, regional products, health products, things that were outside of the view of some of the conventional retailers.

SPINS was able to build a niche in a moat over a long period of time. They gained exposure and conventional companies started seeking them out for the insights and the products they weren’t carrying. I remember seeing stats in my first year and it was double-digit growth in the types of products that we monitor, while conventional products were struggling in the low single digits.

The Eras of the Gaming Industry (03:51)

Pat: Wow. That’s a big departure from some of the things that you did earlier on in your career. I’d love to hear more about the gaming industry experience as well. It seems like there’s a pretty interesting arc from going from the gaming industry to what you’re doing right now. I think most people don’t know how difficult and frenetic the gaming industry is.

Tim: Yeah. And it’s changed a lot as well from the time I got into the time where I left to now. Three very different eras in gaming. When I was first getting into the industry, it reminded me of those videos of Elvis running into Ray Charles running into Johnny Cash at the same studio at the same time. What are the chances that all the top lead hits would be in the same city at the same studio now? Almost nothing.

When I got into the industry, gaming was already big but it was still a really tight-knit community. You could know five or six people and you would know most of the people moving things out there, or you at least would have had an opportunity to bump into people. The business maturity wasn’t there yet. Micro-transactions hadn’t taken over.

When I went to Amazon, it wasn’t because I wanted to leave gaming. It had much more to do with the birth of my daughters and wanting to balance my time a little bit better. A unique opportunity presented itself at Amazon to do both. By the time I left, micro-transactions had taken over the monetization strategy for most new investments in games. And that happened at the same time where production costs in gaming skyrocketed.

Before you had a few artists and some programmers and you could make a game. Now, you need large teams that are close to the size of a CGI effect studio for a movie to make things that match that visual maturity. And that was where it was then. Then the indie scene started to come in. We were one of the first to release a game on what was called Steam Greenlight. If anybody is familiar now, everything goes to the equivalent of Greenlight. Anybody can get a game up on the Steam platform.

At that time, that was entirely novel. Now with the indie scene, another thing that has shifted is that players aren’t necessarily only focused on games that have extremely high fidelity. Not everybody’s chasing AAA status in terms of wanting to be the next Battlefield or Call of Duty. There are a lot of indie games that have hand-drawn art or retro pixel art. They focus a lot more on gameplay and things that are unique or distinct or even social community-based.

So that shift has also disrupted monetization. There’s a lot of backlash with users with these “gotcha” styles. It’s really gambling that gets built into them to monetize the games. I think my advice to someone looking to get into the industry several years back would have been to go in with their eyes fully open and be a little wary.

Now I think if you’re looking at it, it’s a lot better. There’s still a lot of things to work out in terms of large studios having problems with crunch. There is some toxic culture that absolutely still exists in the gaming industry. It’s not something that is equally appealing if you’re coming in as a male, a female, or other. If you’re a male, there is lots of welcoming everywhere. Female or other, that’s not going to be the case. There’s a lot to fix, but it’s gotten much better, largely thanks to the indie push.

Pat: That’s great. It is interesting. My kids use some of these games that have more user-driven content from a gaming platform. It’s interesting, the low barrier to getting involved.

Tim: Like a Roblox.

Pat: Roblox. Exactly. If I’m invited to another Roblox session, I’m not participating.

Do you see the gaming industry getting more people involved from an engineering or a UX standpoint? I know a lot of people get into engineering historically because they have family relations that introduce them. From your perspective, do you see any positives of these lower fidelity platforms that are creating opportunities for 12 or 8 or 9 year-olds to engage?

Tim: I think writing very explicit code isn’t something that’s going to go away in one or two decades, but eventually that will be something that is less common. It’s going to be a lot more verbal or visual in how you instruct machines. But what’s great is the stuff they’re doing with things like Minecraft, Roblox, or others where people are jumping in and building content. They’re learning how computer logic works and how to automate the world around them, right as the rise of everything around them becomes automated.

I do think there’s a lot of positive benefits for anyone who starts to interact with that at a young age. I also like that it’s brought back the concept of play, where imagination was stripped for a while in gaming. It was almost like you were jumping in on rails and you did the thing that was designed. Now they’re interacting with games and their imaginations are running free again. It’s not really curtailing any of those instincts that I think were getting stunted in the past. I see a lot of positives.

Practicing Team Dynamics (10:07)

Pat: That’s awesome. In regard to your current role and your experience in building these products, building these games, and building these B2C engagements, we talked previously about product-market fit and right timing. From your experience, what do you think it takes to create that team, that product fit, that right time, and that chemistry? From my perspective, it seems there’s a lot of luck involved there.

Tim: There are a lot of things. My kids and I all at the same time decided to learn to play the guitar. With guitar, you find that there is just not a shortcut to learning. You need to practice and repeat it over and over until the things that were really difficult become second nature, and now you’re tackling something new that’s difficult. This is true of everything, including finding the chemistry, product-market fit, and knowing how to evaluate ideas.

At the same time, you also have a lot less opportunity for repetition. Unlike playing the guitar, where you can sit and strum 10,000 times over the course of a week, you can’t try 10,000 different startups over the course of a week. You’re getting very few chances. It helps to find ways to build a framework that institutionalizes or productizes the learning of other people. This way, the thousands of things that have been tried, you can at least gain some orthogonal benefit from all of that experience.

I think that’s where a lot of the product leadership, startup leadership, and other books on these topics are trying to come from. How do I take all of the things that I’ve learned and make it something that can be commoditized, shipped, transferred, and shared? I think it’s important for people who are interested to know that you’re going to have to do a lot of reading.

There are degrees in startups or degrees in product available, but it’s a similar style learning experience. If you want to be great at it, you need to complete years worth of learning and absorb the lessons that others have absorbed that you can avoid.

Beyond that, it’s figuring out what your role is. Some people are meant to have the right desires and the right passions to be the front facing person in a startup environment. They’re the ones who want to be giving the keynote speeches, standing up in front of a projector or a large crowd and talking. Others are going to be really great at quietly sitting behind the curtains and making the machine run.

Sometimes you’ll find someone who’s great at both, but it’s much more rare than it is to find someone who is great at one or the other. You need to figure out where your passions align in a way that makes sense. Sometimes we want to be great at something that we actually don’t desire to be great at.

Our motivations come from the outside sometimes in those cases. Like, I want to be seen as X, therefore I’m gonna become great at X. When in reality, if you lean into what you’re truly good at and what really drives you and motivates you without taking into account outside factors, you have a much higher likelihood of success.

So I think it’s a combination of those things. I don’t think there’s much of a shortcut. I think there’s as much risk in getting lucky with success on your first try as there is with catastrophic failure on your first try. When you have a great first success, just like with failure, we’re not really great at identifying why. Why did we succeed or why did we fail in that first try? It takes a few of those in a row to find those common factors or themes.

Pat: That’s great. I do want to get into the good versus unlucky. I like that authentic piece that you touched on. I just had a conversation earlier today with somebody who said, “Well, I don’t know how I fit in this market. I don’t know how I’m going to present myself...”

What you really have to do is be your authentic self and figure out how you fit in the market. To your point, Tim, first you need to get rid of that shield or that body armor and focus on being authentic.

Shelli: Where I’m working right now, we’re implementing the 80-20 methodology in our businesses, and essentially the Pareto Principle, to just focus on what really matters. I think what both of you are saying is to find out what you’re really great at, and focus on that one thing. You also reminded me of Malcolm Gladwell. I think he’s the one that said 10,000 hours is how much practice you need to become an expert in something. So thank you for sharing that.

Tim: It’s much more important to figure out how to amplify the things that are both natural talents and passions that you feel self-motivated to become skillful in. I think a lot of people way to find, do I have a talent in this? Before they determine whether they want to develop skill. That’s a mistake.

But you do want to make sure that you don’t have something that’s an inverse. For me, this is an atypical experience because I tend to not like the stage. I don’t like being the spotlight or the “listen to me” person. So this is an unusual experience. It’s not something that I would lean into, but what really helped was watching a few different environments and watching success happen with very different leaders. You’re able to see what successful CEOs look like and what successful CPOs look like. It’s just not the case. Like there are some common habits but a lot of that has to do with their thinking, not their personality traits or like, are they great at public speaking versus one-on-one intimate conversations and that’s not really the defining line.

Shelli: Tim, you should probably read the book Quiet, if you haven’t already. It’s all about the power of introverts. Love that book.

Tim: I have not, but you are now the third person to recommend it. So I haven’t read it. I have purchased it.

Bad/Lucky vs. Good/Unlucky (16:47)

Pat: Tim, tell us your philosophy on good versus unlucky. I really enjoyed our conversation earlier when we talked about that.

Tim: Best of all worlds is good and lucky. If you’re good and lucky, your life just feels like a dream. Congratulations too. But if you had to choose between being bad and lucky and good and unlucky, I would prefer good and unlucky. With good and unlucky, you learn the means by which you can overcome bad luck. You start to figure out where the world is in your control versus where it’s outside of your control?

And that actually helps optimize your thinking. It helps optimize your work. It helps make sure that the relationships you build don’t become transactional. You really learn how to develop meaningful relationships, meaningful work habits, meaningful thought models. If you’re bad and lucky, you don’t learn much, and you become very dependent on a cast around you to overcome those things for which luck previously gave you an out.

Now you need people around you to give you the out. And that becomes such a toxic relationship, because it’s very much like somebody walking in front of you dropping legos on the floor and people behind knowing they have to bend over and pick all this stuff up all the time. That’s just not healthy. Not to mention what happens if that cast of supporting characters leaves or your luck runs out. I have not seen great success with people being able to identify that they were lucky. It’s not a realization a lot of people come to.

So early in someone’s career, it’s not that I don’t wish them success. I certainly wish for them to become good rather than lucky. I would much rather talk to someone that’s had three or four failures, but has genuinely learned from it and has an obvious upward trend, than I would someone who’s, first and second things were a success. I’m skeptical. If your first and second were successes, it could just be that you’re really great and you’re also lucky. It also might mean that you’ve had some really fortunate luck and, they’re gonna be some hard lessons ahead.

Pat: Yeah. That early success does create a lot of blind spots.

Tim: Yes it does. I did work with a company that had a product that they brought in and released in one market. They felt because it was so wildly successful that they could just repeat that process. And of the 15 to 20 products that they repeated the process with, the first was the only one that succeeded. And it was just total chaos within the company, where no one could really figure it out.

Something that I’ve been talking a little bit about with my product org and some others lately, has been the difference between purpose thinking and causal thinking. With causal thinking, it’s really easy to misattribute all of the outcomes to one factor. With purpose thinking, you don’t attribute cause and effect. You just think about whether something has utility based on its purpose. And I think it’s sort of the same with getting lucky too early. You don’t really know all the reasons you got lucky. If you can’t split those apart, that’s tough.

Pat: Wow. There’s a lot there and really great stuff. Purpose versus causal thinking. The individual bias to self congratulate is really a big challenge.

How to Get Truthful Feedback (20:42)

Tim: span>If you’ve been really successful, you’ve often had people around you that also succeeded because of it. They’re a lot less likely to tell you the reasons why you succeeded in an honest fashion. However, I promise you if you fail and other people around you fail, there is no limit to the number of people who will give you very raw, truthful feedback on the ways in which you helped them fail. You have much better outside information coming in that gives you much more to work with when you’re being introspective hopefully.

Pat: It’s an interesting thought. When you make mistakes and somebody’s just so grateful to share with you how you screwed up, I don’t instantly adopt their feedback.

Tim: Yeah. You can’t take it at face value, but it is just nice to have it, right? At least it’s nice to be able to sit back and consider it.

Pat: Right. You’ve got something to think about. Is that baloney or is there some truth to that? Perfect case, I had a client who said, “The problem, Pat, is you guys are a niche company and you’re kind of boutique and you’re just not enterprise-ready...” This is many, many years ago. We’re so much more professional now. So don’t worry about this story, everything’s changed. But, I think it might have been 20 minutes before I’m in the car thinking, “Now, why did he say that?” I’m thinking, “is there some truth to that and should we hold ourselves accountable?” The funny part is I saw that guy six months later at an event and he completely forgot he even said it.

I do think it’s relevant to your point that you have to take those bumps early. I’ve started three companies and having mistakes early on are blessings. You’re becoming antifragile every time you take a hit and you’re going to grow from them. As you said, if you’re learning from it and growing from it, that’s valuable. if you’re just taking the hit like running through a brick wall, obviously that’s not very valuable.

Tim: There’s a limit as well. Like if somebody has a string of eight straight failures, there’s probably a problem and it’s probably not luck. If you’ve got failures mixed in with success, that is not an atypical pattern. And it shouldn’t terrify someone to see some failures in somebody’s past.

Pat: With eight failures, I think it’s definitely time to assume you’re not good at this, and your coefficient for risk is way beyond normal people. Somehow, they’re just okay with taking the hits. But they have to endure just the destruction of other people’s careers, money, and time along the way.

Tim: Somewhere around five through eight in that failure chain is when I would start recommending that person pursue solo endeavors.

Finding the “Why” in Product Leadership (25:15)

Pat: Awesome. Another topic that I really appreciate your position on and your opinion and your experience is product thought leadership. It’s such an important part of innovation, especially with how every industry is moving to that approach of thinking. Even manufacturing companies are starting to have product managers, product owners, and a product leadership approach.

Everybody sees how important it is to create this type of structure and to have a role that is more responsive to the market, to their clients, and to the potential opportunities. And you’ve been doing it forever. So really would love to get your perspective on where it’s at, where it’s going, and the challenges and opportunities.

Tim: Having just started trying to learn an instrument provides a little bit more of an approachable analogy for everyone. If everything that was out there about teaching you how to play the guitar was just the neon method of strumming or all these very wild techniques, that’s not going to help you learn to start playing guitar.

If you start trying to do it that way ,you’ll make no progress because you don’t even know why they’re doing the thing that they’re describing or how to do it. At best, you’re gonna be able to memorize the method, but that’s just memorizing some language and finger placement. It’s not learning the why or getting any fundamentals. Product leadership feels like a very approachable subject. It’s obvious that we’re all consumers. Being consumers, we feel informed that the best version of this product would be the one that makes me happiest.

If we take that sort of mindset into the product world and think, “well, of course I know what products would be good because I know what products I would want.” There’s an entire discipline around going from what you want to what everyone wants, to what is needed, to being willing to exchange value for something. That’s the final third step.

A lot of product thought leadership is built by people who very deeply understand product. And the audience that can make great use of it is probably those who also already very much understand product. But it’s being consumed and purchased and reused by folks who really need to just learn how to hold a pick and do some A, C, and D chords.

You get into these environments and see it in practice and what you get are strategy decks that basically say, “let’s go win.” That’s not a strategy. You get things around product leadership, such as a lean canvas. You look at the lean canvas and there was no work put into it whatsoever. There’s no backup information. It’s just somebody’s assumptions laid out in a form.

People say, “Oh yeah, I wrote a six-pager.” And you look, and yeah, they’ve got a fact, but haven’t addressed any questions or have a real argument. It’s almost a just-so story, right? X needs Y, so we’re going to build Y. It doesn’t describe why they need X. It doesn’t get into any of the purposes there.

So product thought leadership can often be a lot like learning to run by watching parkour videos. It’s not really all that useful for sprinting across a room. It looks really fancy and it helps sustain an industry that’s around teaching product, and I get it. If I were going to set up a studio teaching guitar, I wouldn’t only have information on how to hold a pick or A, C, and D chords. I would have everything.

But that doesn’t mean that everybody should be consuming and trying to reuse all of those things. Practice is what is going to lead to good product execution. There are tools and there are guides and they have very specific uses, but they’re not generally applicable.

Pat: And if you don’t know what parkour is, google parkour from The Office. The episode of The Office with parkour is maybe the best one of all time.

Tim: Which is very similar to how it would look if most people tried the product leadership stuff. They see it as parkour in their office.

Pat: Very disruptive, not a lot of value.

Tim: Exactly. Very performative though.

You can end up doing a lot of harm to your company by bringing those things in before the company’s really aware of how to use them. The company begins to associate product discipline with over analysis or being overly complex, with not enough focus on customers or results. Suddenly, it’s not just that elaborate stuff that you brought in that gets the bad rep; it’s all product.

Being Problem Focused (30:35)

Pat: We touched on the 80-20 rule. What is that 80 for product leadership that you should be focusing most of your time on?

Tim: To give a broad reference of who embodies it best is probably Shreyas Doshi. His advice is very useful in broad contexts. It’s about how to think, which is where the general, useful product work is. It’s around how to think about things and how to communicate that thinking.

Instead of saying “purpose versus cause”, you could say “teleology versus ideology”. That would sound a lot fancier. Sometimes to test in some environments, I’ll start with the overly complex to see if anybody bites. When they do, then you immediately bring it back down. So different audiences need different things. Sometimes to get the point across, you have to start with what sounds overly complex.

But I really think it comes down to the thinking. Purpose versus cause thinking, which is problem versus solution thinking, is so critical to a product organization. If you become focused on solutions, a lot of bad things happen. It’s not just the products that suffer, the organization suffers as well. If two people are fighting over which solution is best, there isn’t a way for everyone to win. It’s a zero sum game. Somebody’s idea gets used and somebody’s idea loses. And now that fixation on the solution has caused morale problems, not just product problems.

If you start with understanding your problem, you get five people’s worth of additional understanding around the problem. And solutions become this fungible, disposable asset. As customers change and as the market evolves and as the people you have on your team change, you don’t have to fixate on your solution winning.

The second thing is to make sure that you give your product team a really basic framework to force the right thinking in the right order. I’ve seen a lot of teams that start off with an agency background. They’ve been doing a lot of work directly for clients and they migrate to becoming a private company. However, they can’t get rid of the addiction to build everything visually first, present it, get buy-off from the final user, and then go back and ask hard questions.

But the reality is, you can iterate through things so much faster in just plain text, through writing documents, and asking the right questions. This would resolve a lot of those things that become “gotchas” later on when you start with design, when the first step actually needs to be the writing.

To make that effective, you can provide, find, or create templates that force the right thinking in the right order. I learned this at Amazon but I’ve brought it with me everywhere. Start off with a press release (PR). The reason you want to start off that way is not because press releases are magic, but because thinking about why a customer would care is a magical starting point. It is why you should do anything.

If your press release sounds like something that would bore a customer, your product will bore a customer too. There’s not much there. So starting with what is important, and then having that progression of the idea, going back through some of the main questions. Is it worth doing? Is there a market there where there’s a value exchange possible?

And the most important - can we win? It’s not just can someone win, but can we win? If I were wanting to go out and create a Netflix competitor, am I really in a position to do that? The answer is no. I don’t have any of the industry contacts. At SPINS, I would not recommend that we create a Netflix competitor. Even if you could come up with the best idea for one, it’s the wrong place.

Finally you get down to “should we win?” This is a strategic question. What is the purpose of our company? What is the thing that would be advanced by us doing this? Are we distracting ourselves from our core purpose? Are we weakening our position by going out and winning?

If you can create that chain of thinking by having those questions be part of your documentation early, you force the right conversations to happen. It’ll take time to make great work come out of it, but I think those are valuable product lessons you can take away that don’t require you to have a very specific type of Miro diagram or whatever else it might be.

Shelli: That’s great advice.

Pat: I’ve advocated for just even drawing something on the back of a napkin for that visual component. But I hear what you’re saying. These questions are necessary to get people to stop and think.

Should we start that Netflix competitor? You know you shouldn’t, but you don’t know why you shouldn’t. And I think that’s a critical component. Let’s talk about. I’ve used the term myself about focusing on what your heritage is. You’re looking at new products or new markets and you need to ask, “why is this important?” I use the term heritage. There has to be something in our background that has given us this opportunity that we are the rightful heirs of and that we should grow into.

The Blockbuster story is clearly there. They were focused more about late fees. They should have been Netflix. Somebody in that room should have said it. But it jeopardized their profit stream, which was obviously their downfall.

It’s a really interesting question. Are we the ones that should be doing this? Is this something we can win at?

Driving Toward your Destination (37:00)

Tim: The visual model for that is to draw a point where you are now and draw a point where you believe the company needs to be to win in five years. If the thing you’re doing isn’t somewhere on that line, closer to the where we need to be, it might actually be a distraction. You really need to plot those things that actually advance you towards getting where you want to be.

I’ve seen companies make the mistake of, well, it would be great to have another 3 million in revenue. So even though this isn’t part of getting to our future, we’re going to go tack it on. Before you know it, you have 15 $3 million opportunities that are now 50% of the effort happening at the company, none of which are driving you towards that end destination and all of which might be pulling you in different directions. Suddenly, people don’t really know why we’re doing any of the things we’re doing other than money. The acquisition of revenue can’t be a company’s mission or you won’t win over time.

Shifting Mentors (38:23)

Shelli:I would love to know who your mentors are.

Tim: That has shifted over time. I would say that, early on, I had more non-business mentors than business mentors. People who were much more focused on how to grow up from being a kid to an adult in a way that mattered. That lasted quite a while.

I would say when it started to become formal, David Domm, who’s now a CPO at, was someone that I continue to have a great deal of respect for. He was fantastic in some of those startups and there was a lot to learn from him.

At Amazon, I would say Mike Frazzini and Ethan Evans. I would hesitate to call it a mentor-mentee relationship because they had a lot of responsibility, but I absolutely looked to them in our conversations and one-on-ones to really walk away with insights on how they distilled things so quickly.

In the current environment, I would say the person I interact with most on that basis is David Navama who was one of the co-founders of SPINS Ventures. At 43, I’ve met a lot of people and he is uniquely incredible.

When it comes to product leadership, I would say the person who makes me feel so intimidated that I sometimes have a hard time getting started writing and producing content, is Shreyas Doshi, who I mentioned earlier. I would not again consider it a mentor-mentee relationship, but I absolutely believe he is one of the best at succinctly describing how to approach certain things from a thought perspective.

Pat: That’s great stuff. I think we’re gonna wrap it up here. I want to say thank you so much for being on the show today. I really appreciate you sharing your experience, your background, your thoughts and your wisdom.

Tim: You’re quite welcome. It was a pleasure. Thank you for having me.

About Our Guest

Timothy Alvis is the Chief Product Officer at SPINS, a leading provider of retail, consumer insights, and analytics for the natural, organic, and specialty products industry. As CPO, he is responsible for the technology and product strategy, and leads the data governance, engineering, product management, product design, and development operations team.

Before becoming CPO, Tim held numerous other positions at SPINS, including president of retail operations and vice-president of product. Prior to SPINS, Timothy held positions at Microsoft, Right Point, and Amazon. He launched his first software startup at the age of 20 and has co-founded another five companies.

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About Patrick Emmons

If you can’t appreciate a good sports analogy, movie quote, or military reference, you may not want to work with him, but if you value honesty, integrity, and commitment to improvement, Patrick can certainly help take your business or your career to the next level. “Good enough,” is simply not in his vernacular. Pat’s passion is for relentlessly pushing himself and others to achieve full potential. Patrick Emmons is a graduate of St. Norbert College with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Mathematics. Patrick co-founded Adage Technologies in 2001 and in 2015, founded DragonSpears as a spin-off dedicated to developing custom applications that improve speed, compliance and scalability of clients’ internal and customer-facing workflow processes. When he is not learning about new technology, running a better business, or becoming a stronger leader, he can be found coaching his kids’ (FIVE of them) baseball and lacrosse teams and praising his ever-so-patient wife for all her support.

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