Britton Johnson, Gigabrit LLC
IB’s Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet Dane County’s professionals. This week features Britton Johnson, owner & IT consultant, Gigabrit LLC.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your job and why?
Most businesses don’t know what technology they need. I provide consulting to find the right solutions so your business can grow, and then I deliver it so you know it’s done right. It’s challenging shifting gears going from fixing an email issue to troubleshooting an enterprise virtual datacenter issue. I get to do a little of everything and that can be rewarding and challenging at the same time, but I love what I do. I love the challenge of helping solve problems and providing actual value to my clients.
Who do you look up to or admire in business and why?
John Scully, the former Pepsi and Apple CEO. He’s had a long and successful career, however his time at Apple is historically looked down upon because he made one big mistake — the Apple Newton. What often gets overlooked, though, is he grew Apple 10 times from what it was when Steve Jobs nearly killed it. It was this growth that allowed Jobs to return at just the right moment to grow Apple another 10 times, and Apple now seems poised to soon be worth $1 trillion. None of it would have been possible without the steady leadership and vision of John Scully.
What has been the high point of your career so far?
This past year marked my first full year as a full-time consultant and business owner. By far it’s been my best year and I expect it to keep going. I’ve gone from three clients to over 10, and still growing. My goals for 2018 are to double the business in revenue and add key staff to aid in further growth by positioning my company as the best IT value in Madison.
Thinking back on your career, what advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
I would mostly tell myself to finish my IT certifications faster, and start independent consulting as soon as possible. However, I realize now that without having spent the last 15 years working for other companies I wouldn’t have the depth of knowledge and contacts that I have today. The big thing though is to start somewhere; nothing happens without action and if you’re constantly waiting for the right moment, you’ll be waiting forever. I tell every young person I meet who’s just starting in IT to find the product they want to gain deep knowledge in and dive in. Get certified in it and never stop learning other things along the way. Also, don’t be religious or romantic about the way things are, because change is the only thing that is for certain in technology.
What would you say are the best things about living and working in Dane County?
The business community in Dane County is incredibly supportive and welcoming. I’m constantly blown away by how often people refer my company to others — it’s been the main way I’ve been able to grow the business. We also have experts in nearly every field right here in Madison, so the depth of knowledge is incredible. I’m also a big fan of food, and Madison and Dane County has some of the most incredible places to eat.
Do you have any secret talents or abilities that people would be surprised to discover?
Since I was 16, people told me I had a great radio voice. I even tried to start a nonprofit FM radio station in Dane County in 2005 during an open FCC filing window. We didn’t get selected for the bandwidth, but came close. So last year to fulfill that dream in spirit, I launched a technology podcast called Gigacast with a longtime friend. We cover all things IT and technology that we find interesting, and hopefully others find interesting enough, as well, to listen in on our conversations. We have a blast geeking out about what’s going on in IT today. The pace of change and growth is faster than ever and it’s not slowing down.
What are your guilty pleasures?
Mine all kind of go together — travel, headphones, and audiobooks. I love to travel but don’t get much time to do it. However, when I’m stuck in the car or flying or just have some time to fill, I listen to audiobooks on one of my 10 pairs of headphones. Over the years I’ve built a vast library of audiobooks covering everything from science fiction to business and entrepreneurship, and theology to marketing. One thing I’ve noticed is occasionally I’ll be driving somewhere, or visit a place I heard about in an audiobook book, and that moment in the book comes back to me. It’s very strange, but it tells me I’m learning and growing. My top five audiobooks (in no particular order): Start With Why by Simon Sinek; Outliers (or anything) by Malcom Gladwell; Building a Storybrand (or anything) by Donald Miller; The Phoenix Project by Kevin Behr; and Flash Boys by Michael Lewis. I would also recommend any book narrated by Scott Brick.
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