Episode 37 – Empathy, Sympathy and Compassion with Ted Neward

 In Podcasts

Ted Neward is an industry professional with over 20 years’ experience. He speaks at conferences all over the world and writes regularly for a variety of publications across the Java, .NET and other ecosystems. He currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with his wife, two sons, dog, four cats, eight laptops, seven tablets, nine phones, and a rather large utility bill.

In this episode Ted talks about psychology and philosophy in Information Technology and why empathy, sympathy and compassion will help you in your career. Ted also tells us why failures provide great lessons and why he believes technology has become embedded into western society.


Time Stamped Show Notes

(00:52) – Phil introduces Ted Neward

(01:26) – Ted describes himself as a geek because he spends time talking about, reading about and thinking about technology

(01:38) – He sums up has career as being a “Computational Philosopher”

(01:50) – Ted talks about his current management role with Smartsheet where he is building out a team

(02:23) – Ted explains that Smartsheet is a collaborative project management tool – SharePoint meets Excel meets Project


(02:59) – Unique Career Tip: Ted says I.T. is a lot more to do with psychology and philosophy than science and mathematics

(03:30) – Ted explains that this is because we deal with people and you need to understand their needs

(03:36) – Having empathy, sympathy and compassion for others is a skill that will serve you well

(04:05) – “You do not need to be an expert in all things”

(04:26) – “It’s perfectly acceptable to stand up in front of a group and say I don’t know about that”

(04:47) – “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know”

(05:33) – Ted discusses and describes how philosophy is a factor in I.T. development

(07:17) – “You do not need to be a computer scientist in order to be successful in this industry”


(07:43) – Worst Career Moment: Ted says that every failure he has had has taught him something in some way, shape or form

(08:39) – Ted recalls a time working for a small company outside Sacramento

(09:08) – Ted built an extensive logging system for them which was great but horribly over engineered

(09:53) – However it had one major flaw in that it could lock the file in both read and write mode and therefore was unusual

(10:28) – Ted later found out that his new system was subsequently replaced by the old logging system

(10:56) – “Build what the customer wants, not necessarily what you think the customer needs”


(11:05) – Career Highlight / Greatest Success: Ted says that this is an ongoing thing for him

(11:31) – Ted is mentoring a number of people in their speaking careers

(11:36) – Ted loves to see the people he’s mentoring stand up and deliver a talk

(12:23) – The big wins for Ted is making other people successful


(12:55) – What Excites You About The Future of a Career in I.T.? Ted talks about how technology is integrated into our society

(14:19) – Ted talks about the risks of technology and the law of unintended consequences

(16:24) – Ted says that if you want to make a career in I.T. that there’s lots of room for you


(16:31) – The Reveal

(16:45) – What attracted you to an I.T. career in the first place? – “My dad’s Apple 2 Plus with 48k of RAM”

(18:40) – What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? – “What Ted needs to do is fail twice”

(21:23) – If you were to begin your I.T. career again, right now, what would you do? –”Write code”

(23:55) – What career objectives are you focusing on right now? – “I want to create a management environment where people can be successful”

(25:07) – What’s the number one non-technical skill that has helped you in your career so far? – “The grounding I got in college in Philosophy”


(26:03) – A Parting Piece of Career Advice: Ted says there will be times in your career when you feel low or overwhelmed but so does everybody. Acknowledge it, embrace it and then keep going.

(28:18) – Find mentors and ask them to help you


3 Key Points:     

  1. Having empathy, sympathy and compassion for others is a skill that will serve you well
  2. Build what the customer wants, not necessarily what you think the customer needs
  3. If you want to make a career in I.T. that there’s plenty of room for you


Resources Mentioned:

  • @tedneward – Ted’s Twitter handle
  • LinkedIn – Ted’s LinkedIn profile
Recommended Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text.

Start typing and press Enter to search