Even before Owen Tripp completed studies at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, the Bay Area resident was already a major player in the tech industry. Following executive positions at Accenture and eBay, he co-founded and later served as Chief Operating Officer for Reputation.com, the world’s leading reputation management company. Yet despite these high-profile accomplishments, Mr. Tripp is most proud of co-founding and serving as CEO for Grand Rounds, described by the Wall Street Journal as the “Mayo Clinic of the Internet.” Managing to find time away from an incredibly busy schedule, Mr. Tripp graciously offered words of advice to individuals interested in a career in technology.
Can you share your experience and accomplishments as a technology leader?
“I started at Accenture and eBay, then co-founded Reputation.com. But Grand Rounds is definitely the position I’m most proud of. It’s great to help people shop better or protect their identities on the Internet, but Grand Rounds is about fixing something really broken in the health care system: people’s inability to access top medical specialists at the time when they need it most. I’ve received more satisfaction in figuring out how to knock down the enormous walls that separate people from quality care than anything else I’ve done.”
How have recent technological innovations contributed to the health care industry?
“I pioneered eBay’s approach to big data, but what we’re doing at Grand Rounds is far more meaningful. We’re able to apply a sophisticated algorithm to helping people find the doctors they need. Think about it: right now, when people need a top medical specialist, they search online or ask friends and family. If they really want to take their lives in their hands, they’ll look on Yelp—which is notoriously unreliable. But now, due to the confluence of big data and the ability to use it, we can leverage a proprietary algorithm that scores medical specialists using many different factors, including institution, publication history and outcomes. In doing so, we’re able to truly demystify which doctors are practicing the best care. That helps our patients get to the right specialist at a critical moment in their health care cycle. This couldn’t have been done just a few years ago.”
What advice can you share for people interested in entering a management career in technology?
“Think less about the job and title you want, and rather think about WHO you’re going to be working with. Whether it’s a low-level or a senior job, make sure your manager cares about you, supports your career development and wants you to learn. That’s how you achieve maximum career velocity. A few other tips—always hire people who are smarter than you. I love looking around my management table and realizing that everyone there is smarter than me on at least one thing.”
Randy Yagi is a freelance writer covering all things San Francisco. In 2012, he was awarded a Media Fellowship from Stanford University. His work can be found on Examiner.com Examiner.com.