June 19, 2018 by Siobhan Climer
We sat down with Mindsight CEO and President, Ed Kapelinski, to understand his vision for both the company and the larger tech industry. From his days in the storage industry to his entrepreneurial adventures with Mindsight, Ed’s focus has always been on service. In his own words, “Service Leadership was instilled by my parents and my mentor, and that ideal drives me and therefore the Mindsight mission.”
Who We Are
Mindsight, a Chicago IT consultancy and services provider, offers thoughtfully-crafted and thoroughly-vetted perspectives to our clients’ toughest infrastructure and communication technology challenges. Our recommendations come from our experienced and talented team of highly certified engineers, and are based on a solid understanding of our clients’ unique business and technology challenges.
Siobhan Climer, Mindsight’s Technology Staff Writer, sat down with Mindsight CEO and President, Ed Kapelinski, to discuss his leadership strategies, his understanding of the industry landscape, and his vision for the future of tech and business.
SC: Mindsight is positioned at the intersection of business and tech. How do you see technology shaping businesses of today?
EK: How businesses embrace technological changes depends on their space and if they’re enabled by technology or if technology is their core business. The lens is different for each business.
Technology continues to evolve and tech spending has grown immensely.As businesses are required to competitively adapt more quickly to the needs of their consumers and regulations, technology will drive solutions in new directions. Look at healthcare, for instance. Analytics, automation and data collection tools are being implemented to manage a wealth of data, to innovate, and to protect patient information.
Technology is a transformative force in business, and Mindsight has the vertical knowledge capital, a commitment to remaining relevant and the experience to help meet those ever-changing needs.
How do you see cloud solutions changing the way companies do business?
Cloud enables Mindsight and Mindsight customers to be mobile, agile, responsive, and productive. It affords a financial model that scales up and down with their business with less long-term financial commitment. We’re about servicing clients, and the cloud affords us this capability.
But cloud solutions really depend on the individual client needs. It isn’t a straightforward path, or the same path, for everyone. Not every enterprise benefits from putting all of their data, infrastructure or applications on the cloud. That’s one of the roadmap services we provide at Mindsight. We work with companies to help them think through consequences and determine what goes to the cloud and what stays on premise based on their goals, business model, application, application dependencies, competition and customer base.
It’s important to note that migrating to the cloud isn’t straightforward either. You don’t just flip a switch. It’s a thoughtful process that takes time and planning to be effective. Many organizations find themselves pulling back in some measure from the cloud. You need the right talent, too. Several years ago, you couldn’t find an AWS, Azure or Google assessment and migration engineer. Mindsight provides that experience and expertise that is often lacking elsewhere.
How do the mission, core values, and vision of Mindsight intersect to inform our business?
There are many definitions of the term mission out there, so let me clarify that to me, the mission is about how we serve people. Mindsight endeavors to facilitate client confidence in their business and IT solutions by providing accurate information and assessments of value and risk. The technology around them is always changing, and we want to help them mitigate risk and change with ease.
Our vision is simply to be recognized for Relevance in an industry that is accelerating in change, Excellence in our delivery and Integrity beyond reproach. It is a financial and management commitment that sacrifices short term profitability for long term value. And our core values enable us to do that. They’re intertwined. Our core values are based on a policy of honesty, transparency, expertise, process-oriented excellence, and compassion. We value straightforward talk that pairs our honest drive to provide solutions with business reality that puts the desired outcome front and center.
That means we sometimes say no. Or we sometimes must take on additional risk and expense. Our values come first.
Is there anyone who has impacted you and shaped your core values? Parents? A mentor? How did they impact you?
Yes. My parents, absolutely, and Earl Pearlman, who was my mentor. My mother was firm, had infinite energy and loved to organize and mobilize people to meet a common goal. She was the ultimate cheerleader and supporter. My father represented a “can do” entrepreneurial spirit, a sense of numbers, and most importantly, he was an idealist that believed in the goodness of people, would rarely criticize or complain, and had a quiet way of leading individuals to their highest potential through his listening skill and thoughtful guidance.
Just as you might appreciate a sunset without critique, he focused on people’s strengths. I strive to meet his mark. His sales philosophy was to find people you can help and build trust. Earl Pearlman gave me an image to live up to. He inspired self-confidence. Earl was the master strategist and a solid leader. He had an uncanny, clear view of reality, and customer motive. He drove a sales philosophy that put the customer first and understood how to convey value and diminish risk.
As a leader who values the differences between people, do you find those varying viewpoints lead to conflict?
Conflict is good as long as it is productive and respectful. It’s important to take in other viewpoints. You know, I took one of my teams to a “Jack Welsh” inspired seminar a while back and the speaker talked about brutal honesty. And they asked, how can honesty be brutal? Brutal honesty to get to the truth. That I can get behind. Facing the truth is necessary. Reality will smack you in the head if you don’t pay attention to it.
Having members on our team that have different viewpoints leads to conversations that offer new perspectives, enabling Mindsight to explore alternative approaches, offer new solutions. The mix of different strengths on our team means that we have a unique perspective that can get to the bottom of almost any technological challenge. In the end, a dose of healthy conflict is a good thing.
How can tech be used as a force for good?
Our core business is about secure availability of information and communication. Availability of information is of a net benefit to humanity.
When the internet first came out, I thought, now this is good. Now the whole world will get to know each other better and that we’re all human and we share a common human nature. It empowers folks in other cultures or living under other forms of government to see and understand what is possible.
Technology extends productivity and economic benefit which allows for a better standard of living, I think most people would agree. Technology continues to enable the availability of information. Information gives people the power to learn, to choose, to lead, and that is a good thing.
More specifically, think of the developments in technology in healthcare, education, science, agriculture. Technology helps us manage information so we can save lives, educate people, understand our world, and meet people’s basic needs more comprehensively. In the end, technology creates a net benefit for humanity.
Can you speak more to the challenges the world faces due to the growing pace of technological development?
The distribution of information is good, but the human condition hasn’t fully adapted to the pace of change. How do we manage time and priorities with the tools and the information we have? We continue to struggle with how to filter and make sense of all this information. Technology is vital to distributing information, increasing productivity and driving down costs, but we are not able to always quickly predict and adapt to a solutions unintended consequence.
Perhaps it is the challenge of invention we have not quite figured out. But in the end, technology allows people to know more, hear more, see more. And that’s a good thing.
Mindsight was formerly Tympani. Why the name change and why Mindsight?
Alan Holmes, who actually co-founded Tympani with Tony Varriale back in 2003, played the Timpani drums in a high school band. Tony came up with the tag line “The rhythm of technology”. The name played well in the VoIP space. But needs have changed, the company evolved to a consultative solutions provider and so the Tympani brand needed to evolve as well. Not to mention, no one ever spelled the name right or pronounced it correctly. People called us Tiswani or Tiphany. They could not find the firm with a derivative spelling.
Our customer needs have evolved. We’ve evolved. And, so, the Tympani name had to evolve. To Mindsight.
So why Mindsight?
We chose Mindsight because it was a term coined by a psychologist that means introspection and intraspection. And that is relevant because we are concerned about our clients and the service we provide. We have insight into ourselves – our capabilities and knowledge capital – and an understanding of others’ situations – the challenges our clients face and solutions they need.
Mindsight became more solutions-oriented. The balance of introspection and intraspection represents our consultative voice in the technological sector.
What is something people don’t know about you?
I guess most people don’t know that I’m an introvert.
Is being introverted a challenge to being a CEO?
In my view, good leaders are good listeners. There have been studies that show that charisma isn’t as important as listening when it comes to effective leadership. This goes back to what we were talking about with the power of conflict and honesty. As a listener, I bring in people who are perhaps more outgoing to balance my own strengths. So, in that way, being introverted is a strength is my position.
Are there any other CEOs or leaders that you think are doing the right thing?
Yes. I admire Herb Kelleher, the former CEO of Southwest Airlines. In fact, shortly after we changed our name and moved to our new tagline – technology, transparency, trust – I was going through Midway and saw Southwest had the same – transparency, trust – phrase up in the airport. And I knew we were onto something people cared about.
Kelleher focused very much on listening, honesty and transparency, and he brought Southwest forward as a company by supporting his people and his industry with compassion and innovation. That is what I try to do at Mindsight. We value the people we bring to our team – we care deeply that they value excellence, are honest and respectful, empower each other and clients by solving problems.
Is there anything else you think people should know about Mindsight or you, our culture and values, or the services we provide?
It’s really important that our team members have an opinion and that that opinion is shaped based on the truth and the needs of the people they’re serving. Our people need to stand strong in an information and truth based opinion so that our client has a leaning post on which to make a decision. The client wants to be clear on the upside and downside of any decisions they make. It’s about informed decisions.
And it’s a financial sacrifice we make in hiring only top talent – and pay for management and the discipline around processes. Our quarter-over-quarter is probably lower than what it could be. I believe our competitors are truly about quarter-over-quarter profits. But we are building a brand of Excellence, Relevance and Integrity for our client’s benefit, and therefore business comes to us because we’re doing the right thing.
In the end, it’s always about service to our clients.
Contact us today to plan a roadmap for your business.
Like what you read?
Mindsight, a Chicago IT services provider, is an extension of your team. Our culture is built on transparency and trust, and our team is made up of extraordinary people – the kinds of people you would hire. We have one of the largest expert-level engineering teams delivering the full spectrum of IT services and solutions, from cloud to infrastructure, collaboration to contact center. Our highly-certified engineers and process-oriented excellence have certainly been key to our success. But what really sets us apart is our straightforward and honest approach to every conversation, whether it is for an emerging business or global enterprise. Our customers rely on our thought leadership, responsiveness, and dedication to solving their toughest technology challenges.
About The Author
Siobhan Climer, Science and Technology Writer for Mindsight, writes about technology trends in education, healthcare, and business. She previously taught STEM programs in elementary classrooms and museums, and writes extensively about cybersecurity, disaster recovery, cloud services, backups, data storage, network infrastructure, and the contact center. When she’s not writing tech, she’s writing fantasy, gardening, and exploring the world with her twin two-year old daughters. Find her on twitter @techtalksio.