Lesson #1: Life is not a marathon... Life is training for a marathon. We are too focused on the race ahead of us that we forget to enjoy the work before us. It's time to begin the work and enjoy the work. This talk is focused on teams, projects, organizations just beginning and in need of some encouragement.
Lesson #2: Begin with the why before the what. It's important to have a north star, a direction, or a goal. But don't let that goal be too myopic, too defined, or too constrained. A vision for why you are trying to do, solve, build, create, or say must be sold, shared, and buried in the hearts of people so that it can grow into the what. This talk is the big pep talk before the first planning meeting, strategy session, or beginning of an off-site summit.
Lesson #1: Once you've begun, there be dragons to slay. Ok, you've started. It's amazing, fun, and challenging (in a good way), but then you find there are people who don't want you to succeed, who want to take the gold you are producing and hoard it for themselves. This talk will help you slay the dragons standing in your way.
Lesson #2: Obstacles. How to see, scale, and soar off of every obstacle you face. Obstacles have gotten a bad rap. Let's change the perspective so that when you look ahead you not only see the obstacles, but begin strategizing a way to soar off of them into your next big milestone? This talk will help change your team's perspective on the obstacles in their path.
Lesson #1: False starts and past failures define you. Failures, false starts, and dropped opportunities--these are the things that define you, because they ultimately ask the most of you. How you respond in these difficult moments will define how you respond to life. This talk is about how to overcome failures in life and work, and to see the intersection of experiences as the road to innovation.
Lesson #2: Retirement shouldn't be the goal. As an entrepreneur the last thing you should be motivated by is enough money to retire... like you are going to retire. What should motivate you is creating wealth, so that you can invest your time, energy, and possibly your capital into the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing. This is for owners and starters, who have built something and have an itch to do it again.
Currently consulting with the State of Oklahoma on Digital Transformation, Sam is working towards a centralized citizen focused experience, bringing all of the state services into one MyOK dashboard and directory, this includes working on policy and legislative changes to modernize payment to activate the State of OKlahoma's online ecommerce platforms.
Sam has also spent time consulting agency directors on project prioritization, organizational efficiency, and organization restructuring to meet the needs of the new digital economy.
In his former role as the Director of Product Management at Sonic Drive-In, Sam was responsible for leading the design and development of consumer facing digital products, including Order Ahead across web, iOS, Android and our Point of Personalized Service (POPs) stalls. This omni-channel customer experience involved a revamp of the digital payments strategy, which culminated in a new digital payment infrastructure and support for Credit Card, Apple Pay, Google Pay, Paypal, and Venmo integrations for web and mobile platforms.
Since 2016, Sam has contributed in a leadership capacity to Sonic's digital transformation, referenced by Inspire Brands as a major reason behind their $2.3B acquisition of Sonic Drive-In in late 2018. The teams Sam led were responsible for the retirement of an aging monolithic code base, lifting all infrastructure to AWS Cloud Services, as well as the development of continuous delivery, continuous integration infrastructure in support of the Digital Innovation Platform. Sam was also instrumental in leading the Domain API development which is now being utilized by Order Ahead on mobile apps, the website, POPS (kiosks) and the Voice UX platforms.
From 2014-2016, Sam led the experience design and software implementation of Sonic's POPs stalls -- 80,000 touchscreens throughout Sonic's 3,600 stores. The POPs program helped boost same stores sales growth of 3% in the first two years of service at Drive-In's, and continues to be a differentiator across the QSR industry delivering personalization and order status for customers ordering via Order Ahead.
Previous to Sonic, Sam spent 8+ years in the startup world, he has worked on projects for the PGA, Subaru Motors, Ford, EA Sports, Starbucks, Blue Bottle, Stumptown, La Colombe and Mastercard. During these entrepreneurial years, Sam contributed at the Director level in Marketing, Product Management and Business Development.
Oklahoma State University, Spears College of Business [2018-2019]
Certificate in Effective Management and Leadership
John Brown University [2006-2007]
MA - Theology
University of Oklahoma, Price College of Business [2004-2006]
Creativity is a human trait. It is what separates us from all other mammals — the ability to look at an obstacle, conceptualize, and deliver an assortment of solutions depending on the context. As humans we actively seek out problems to solve and in the process create culture, industry, and societies out of the ideas in our heads.
Creativity is not for a class of people, it is for everyone.
Creativity is a skill and we need to think about it as we do any other competence; it is an ability requiring practice, failure, time, and progression. The artist was once an amateur, the musician was once a pupil, and the builder was once an apprentice. Framing creativity as a skill moves it away from the realm of ideas and dreams and into reality. Creativity is found in movement. It is the verb within the story.