Tim Villanueva, a UNM graduate and chief technology officer of Ask.com visited the University of New Mexico last month to share his personal insight to success he has learned throughout his career by building strong relationships and connections in a variety of workplaces.
“Relationships are fundamental,” Villanueva told students during his speech at the Anderson School of Management Jackson Student Center. “I have built relationships early on in my career and that is what has gotten me to where I am today. Relationships with people are very important,” Villanueva said.
Before graduating from the University of New Mexico with a Bachelor of Arts in computer science, Villanueva had already begun building skills towards his career in high school by developing and selling games for the programmable computer Commodore 64. After developing the company Rez Software where he sold video games and gaming services for the Commodore 64 and getting his work published, he made a connection that he says, “sparked his career.”
Villanueva says he considers this connection he made with entrepreneur Eddie Bernal, to be “one of the most influential,” and showed him “it’s all about getting your foot in the door.”
After landing an internship for Hewlett-Packard (HP) and eventually getting hired as a full-time software engineer, Villanueva said learning to produce early and prolifically will “get you to the places you want to go.”
Villanueva touched on important values he has learned about leadership, humility, integrity and character following his time working with HP and moving on to work for other large corporations including Fundly Inc., Kabam, and Trinity Ventures/Glide Commerce Inc.
He also acknowledged through his some of the positions he has held in the past, some big corporations can “sometimes not have your best interest at heart” and be very “manipulating.” However, learning to have “thick skin and a good head on your shoulders to succeed” is essential while working in the technology field.
“When people add value to your company, treat them with value. Greedy founders suck,” Villanueva said. “When it comes to leadership, you have to decide who you are. Integrity and character are key and will come up often.”
With over 25 years of experience and several key lessons he learned from every company he worked for, Villanueva has made pivotal advancements for corporations he has been employed and eventually landed his “dream job” as the chief technology officer (CTO) at Ask.com.
Villanueva says his most treasured lesson through it all has been building strong relationships with others.
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