This is an online journal written by Jim Charanis.
I occasionally rant, share what business insights I have, offer my point of view on a lot of things. Its opinion, fact and fun.
Married to Stephanie, three wonderful children between the ages of 12 and 17, living in Atlanta, GA and working at Intuit. Here they are:
Been on the earth 48 years starting in Chicago, growing up in Maryland-New York State-New Jersey. School in New Jersey and Maryland – finished at University of Maryland with a business degree. Started our marriage in Owings Mills-MD, Raising our kids in Atlanta-GA. I’m connected and captivated by technology – use it every day to connect my life, make work mesh with the outcomes I desire to live, love and leave a legacy. Family is very important to me, its why I get up in the morning.
Professionally I began rather fast and furious, coming out of the University of Maryland’s main campus in College Park with a BS in Marketing within the business school; I went right into sales. At the tail end of the old guard of mainframes and terminals with a job in the rapidly maturing applications specific device market – word processing. Gone were the days of Wang, IBM and my company CPT for dedicated word processors; I felt enormously guilty with my first sale to a law firm. I knew all to well that they could have purchased a generic PC with Wordstar or WordPerfect to do the same thing and much more. It was a realization for me that technology moves fast, sales isn’t all about the win and knowing more than my customers was invaluable. I also realized that with every new relationship that knowledge grew and there were many relationships to come with much much more to learn.
My next stop would be my big commitment – Disc, Inc inside sales took my cold calling skills from door-to-door sales in college on the weekends and my computer skills from my minor in decision and information sciences at Maryland. Software was the way to go for me and by sheer indoctrination by some great mentors there I learned the business, the banking business and the world of online banking (even though it was terminal based software, direct dial up with modems and archaic tools like ProComm, called Balance Reporting and BAI Downloads for Cash Management).
This took me into the world of sales to banks nationwide as I eventually got my own territory – by 26 I had hit the big time earning my wings as a million dollar software salesman and decided to move to the next big thing I saw, document management. I started at Micro Dynamics selling document imaging systems running on Mac OS9 – before Apple was what it is today. It was the best platform for scanning and archiving documents and it was pretty cool, a great niche. But that was my first introduction to startup mentality and this was a company that had been funded and grown but wasn’t going public so I helped by selling a whole lot so they could sell the company. I went from there back to Banking for a bit – trying my hand at selling Wire systems but all that did was get me to move to Atlanta from Baltimore – it was time to start focusing on family as Maia was six months old – the economic environment was better and so Stephanie stopped working and we started to grow as a family.
Along came Mobius Management systems and I learned the value of selling enterprise wide solutions to large financial institutions. I even expanded to other large companies expanding my understanding of the industry, how host systems worked from automated tape silos, VSAM files, DASD and core processing. At the same time I discovered the Internet. I had been using BBS’s for years, and of course AOL – but this was different. I acquired the URL www.charanis.com in 1996 and started publishing my thoughts. I learned HTML, began to consider the possibilities and even got in trouble with Mobius when I published pages of documentation to help me sell – why send stuff out in the mail when I could tell them to look at my pages. I was ahead of the company and they freaked out – told me to take down the pages and I told them sure – get your act together – this internet thing is going to be big!
Daniel came along – our second child and so did another baby – my friends from Disc had started Magnet Communications and it looked very promising. Internet based cash management – or as Dan called it, TTY with a pretty front end! I eventually joined on as partner and a salesman – growing to run the sales team and we went down the venture capital fast-company path. It was a wild ride – too much to write here but I learned an awful lot about what the promise of wealth is and real wealth! And I learned a lot about the investment banking, venture capital and software development industry.
The internet boomed – and it busted and so did we – right around the pop of the dot.com bubble. I made it back to document management for a while, just long enough to learn that there was still a lot I didn’t know about management. So I reverting back to sales and online banking with Sybase then Digital Insight (who now had acquired Magnet Communications). Digital Insight became a part of Intuit not long after that and I move from direct sales to management a little over two years ago. So here I am – doing what I know and continuing to grow – because of the relationships I have, the people I trust and learn from. Learning every day and still enjoying technology, family and the future. Change is growth – the most important part of life. Because when you stop growing you start to die – and I’m not ready for that yet!
I post here both from my twitter account and directly with my personal thoughts and insights. Nothing I write is a direct reflection on my employer Intuit – all views, opinions, insights, etc. are my own and do not represent Intuit at all.
Business Key Words:
Online Banking, Cash Management, Mobile Banking, Digital Banking, Treasury Management, Personal Financial Management, Small Business, Retail, Commercial, SaaS, Salesperson, Internet, Entrepreneur, Leadership, Team Leader, Marketer, Innovator.
Personal Key Words:
tech geek, sales exec, outdoorsman, parent, son, friend, empathetic pragmatist, conservationist, camper, hiker, scouting, literacy, gardener, photographer, family, fun, freedom