"You can teach an engineer how to do business, but you can't teach a businessperson how to engineer" - Jim Albaugh, SVP of Boeing
T-shaped is competitive, but π-shaped is unbeatable
Generalists with single-pronged expertise were good enough a decade ago, but generalists with double-pronged expertise are virtually unstoppable. At Aeroplexus, we provide combined business and technical leadership to help tech innovators and investors.
Don't know about T-shaped or π-shaped? Scroll below.
Experienced in the technical and business aspects of early-stage innovation and commercialization
Experienced in working with different organizational structures, cultures, and challenges
Committed to integrity in a world increasingly consumed with 'smoke and mirrors' or hype marketing
Leaders who lead by example, expertise, and empathy
We are not:
Experts who will consult in areas for which we have little to offer (we will refer)
"Yes" people who will stroke egos to the tune of dollars and at the expense of real progress and impact
Only interested in doing business: we believe in building strong relationships and sharing feedback to be better
What is T-shaped? What is pi-shaped?
In the 1990's, the philosophy of "T-shaped" people revolutionized innovation, starting with the very innovators themselves. T-shaped people are experts in one key area (e.g. sales, engineering, operations, management, etc.) but still broad generalists with basic skills in the other functions of an organization. This shift enabled companies to accelerate innovation by bringing in specialized skills without sacrificing teamwork or strategic alignment. To this day, some of the world's most successful design companies like Valve Software and IDEO—not to mention successful executives—have explicitly sought and benefited from T-shapedness.
We believe that the T-shaped principle must be extended, particularly when today's decisions are increasingly impacting both technological and business aspects in innovative organizations. We believe that this century will be defined by pi-shaped (π-shaped) people: those with deep practical expertise in not one but two critical areas, but who continue to be broad generalists like their predecessors. Moreover, there are strong examples of pi-shaped individuals, like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos: organizational leaders whose deep technical and business expertise enable them to create—and commercialize—cutting edge innovations.
With π-shaped leadership, the risk of failure is less due to under-performing teams (high risk with little reward), and instead limited to risks of the problem or market of interest (high risk with high reward).
Aeroplexus provides CXO/CTO advisory services to tech start-ups, later-stage tech companies, and investors. From strategic advice to letters of opinion, we bring aerospace-grade innovation and integrity to every relationship.