Day in the Life: Steve Todd

Published by: Vault.com

Steve Todd is a high-tech inventor and Distinguished Engineer for EMC Corporation. For 25 years he has been designing and building software for use within IT products (disk arrays, cloud infrastructure, etc.). Born and raised in Massachusetts, he has a Master’s Degree in Computer Science, and is the author of two books on innovation. He also writes a high-tech blog (Information Playground), and is a frequent contributor to Vault.com. He is named on over 160 patent applications.

5:00 AM

Pray/Bible.

6:00 AM

Occasional status and brainstorming meetings with my global co-workers (e.g. Russia, Cairo) that are 6-7 hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast.

7:00 AM

YMCA

8:30-9:00AM

Coffee, email, and catch up on all the industry blogs and news via Google reader.

9:00-10:00AM

Read. Learn. Think. Write. Mentor.

10:00-11:00AM

Connect with my co-workers on skunkworks projects that are out of the scope of my day-to-day activities. This can include research projects at EMC’s Research Cambridge facility (Harvard, MIT, etc), collaboration with my global peers in different research divisions. Try and tie them all back in to the products that we are building.

11:00-12:00PM

Read. Learn. Think. Write.

12:00-1:00PM

Either grab lunch and eat with co-workers or send out some emails to customers that I’m collaborating with. Recent customer examples are the JFK Library and The Baseball Hall of Fame.

1:00-3:00PM

Product collaboration and planning.

3:00-4:00PM

Mentor.

4:00-5:00PM

Wrap up the day by planning for the next. Prepare for conferences, make plans to meet with other people inside EMC that I don’t know, and make plans to learn about technologies that are unfamiliar to me.

9:00PM

Con-call with Chinese co-workers building new prototypes for improved customer-facing event and alert management software.

My 9-to-5 schedule is not like this every day, but the outline above highlights the main tasks that I aim for. I feel these tasks are necessary to satisfy the role of an innovator trying to solve complex problems. A thoughtful approach is required! Reducing the number of formalized and bureaucratic meetings, and leaving plenty of time to brainstorm, is a key strategy to accomplish this goal.