Employee Spotlight: Steven
July 26, 2016
Well, in my opinion, there is no such thing as work-life balance. There is only work-life rhythm. I feel like I have a good opportunity to have rhythm here because Patriot is all about what you make of your work experience.
Patriot Team Spotlight is a chance for us to do a close-up on the talented and fascinating individuals who make up our Patriot Software team.
Today we’re meeting Steven Hoffman, the director of business development. Steven lives in Alliance.
Spotlight on Steven
What’s the most boring thing about you?
I like to read books.
You like facts I take it?
I feel like there are simply so many books out there that, if I were going to read something, I’d like to read something that I know will stretch me as a person—which is the nonfiction-generated biographical books—real people’s life stories.
An author once told me, ‘every book you read is like consuming three years of life experience in one read.’ I think about that a lot; about how much goes into a book. I feel like nonfiction books give me a lot of applicable life experience.
There is a great Indian author by the name of Chetan Bhagat. He wrote a series of English novels: “Two States,” “One Night in the Call Center,” “Revolution 2020,” and “The Three Mistakes of my Life.” They are fascinating insights into life in India. It’s a very young population, one of the youngest, if not the youngest in the world, and it has a lot of fascinating things to say.
Tell me about the four years you spent in India.
I first went to India at the age of 21. India is a country that is just so incredible. It’s a country of extremes; rich in color, all kinds of tastes, smells, and people everywhere. All of your senses are completely overwhelmed.
Beyond the atmosphere, India was a major force in my professional development. I’m a Type A guy; very project-driven. Or, at least I was. I went there as a Type A guy, wanting to get things done, wanting to make things happen, and what I found is that India is much more about people and relationships. Time is not something you can control there. You have to understand the way things are done, and adapt in order to accomplish your goals. There is a longer process to developing relationships in order to get things done. The relationships in India matter because they are the basis of what drives action. It’s so different from what it’s like here.
I think it made me a much better listener. It’s helped me take the time to hear what people have to say and understand what they are saying. And, maybe most important, it’s allowed me to have a more cross-cultural worldview. I have a higher level of respect for people and understand that when we embrace each other’s differences, we can do a lot more together.
What changed about your view of the United States when you came home?
Well, for starters, we’re pretty boring! Things happen here like they’re supposed to. Here in America, everyone keeps to themselves, and they are busy. Things are predictable. We’ve created a very comfortable lifestyle for ourselves.
In India, things would just happen. The lights would go out. No electricity. You’re stuck in traffic. People just show up at your house. Waves of people moving in one direction, then in another direction. You could be in traffic with a bus, a car, a rickshaw with a monkey on the roof, a motorcycle, a horse, and ox. No one’s batting an eye.
I enjoyed the social aspects of life in India. When I came back home, it was difficult for me because we’re just not as social here. I felt very isolated. And, I also felt bored!! I could really feel the uninterrupted routine of American life after so much interruption abroad.
What did you do when you were in India?
I worked with an organization there that did nonprofit work. I was there for four years, traveling throughout the country in order to help people with specific challenges.
I also cofounded a tech company while I was there. I was part of a startup that pioneered the use of near field communication (NFC) tags. We built a coalition loyalty program through an NFC platform. We built software that would track information transmitted with NFC. When you walked into a store, you could just tap in with your phone on a tablet with an NFC reader, and it would track that you were there and harvested other information. It was pretty cool. A little before its time since, back then, Apple hadn’t adopted it yet.
Wow. From India, to startup, to here. What do you do here, and why do you like it?
My title is the director of business development, and that leads the Royalty Program. It’s a referral and partnership program that we’ve set up. Patriot Software is unique in that we have no outside sales teams. Our only outbound approach to customer acquisition is through partnerships. And so there are several verticals that we’re working: associations, accountants, bookkeepers, CPAs, Chambers of Commerce, and franchises. And it’s through these relationships we find customers.
Does your relational experience in India help in this space in any way?
Yes, because as project-driven, Type A as I am, partnerships are relational-driven experiences. Think about it … you’re saying you’re going to provide one thing, and your partner is saying they are going to provide another thing, and so you need to make sure your relationship is solid so you can deliver. That requires listening and understanding to build great relationships.
How does Patriot help you with your work-life balance?
Well, in my opinion, there is no such thing as work-life balance. There is only work-life rhythm. I feel like I have a good opportunity to have rhythm here because Patriot is all about what you make of your work experience. I mean, we really do have family hours here. I work 40 to 50 hours a week typically. However, I go through waves, and I will sometimes put in 70 hours if I’m working on a colossal project or traveling. But that next week, I will put in 40 hours if I need to cut back and be with the family more. I think that’s a great perk, and I know it lets me have a better rhythm, which, in turn, lets me be more productive.
Thank you, Steven!