Ben, the CFO

June 18, 2008

Ben, the CFO here at Ideal, is an interesting, complex guy. He is a Certified Public Accountant, which is a pretty big deal in bean counter circles, and at first glance he’s very much an accountant. He’s small, a little geeky, and greying. He speaks clearly, but softly, and the care that goes into his communications is obvious. He is very cautious in what he says, and very sensitive to not upsetting anyone.

That’s dimension number one.

Other Dimensions

He’s also very well-read, and actually has written a book I’m currently reading. It’s about how ridiculous the modern world is, and it has a heavy dose of (dorky) humor. That’s dimension number two. He’s funny, and unflappable, which I really like. He doesn’t like nonsense, and he doesn’t take himself too seriously. In his author bio he listed all the busboy and dishwasher jobs he’s ever had — he says there is dignity in all professions. I can dig that.

Here’s dimension number three:

Knowing that he is sensitive, I had to apologize to him once. During my ordeal trying to get the software system that Walter was dragging ass on in place, I was in a meeting with Ben, Walter, and a sales guy named John. John was a rep for the vendor Ideal had been dealing with before I arrived.

Like most sales guys, John waved his hands lot and was very light on substance. I asked him a few pointed questions and believed that I made him visibly uncomfortable at times. I do not feel bad about this, it’s my job to sort out the technical bullshat that vendors try to throw at medium companies.

After the meeting, I spoke to Ben privately. I told him I know he likes to walk softly, and apologized if I had been more aggressive than he’s used to.

He laughed at me.

“Someone needs to kick ass around here, I’m glad you’re the one doing it,” he said.

Ben is going to make an excellent ally.

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