BTU #9 – Will Grannis: Boeing, Google, Startups and More

“Asking for help sometimes for some people implies weakness. If there’s one thing I did that was semi-smart it was realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to do it on my own and asking for help from those who were closest to me and had the most vested interest in my success.”
 – Will Grannis

Will Grannis is the Managing Director of the Cloud CTO Office at Google. Since his time as an officer in the Army, he’s had an incredible career prior to Google, including: Founding a company that was acquired after just two years; serving as the Chief Technology Officer for L-3 Communications, a company with over 38,000 employees worldwide; leading Boeing’s Advanced Information Solutions team.

In this conversation, we cover a lot of topics, including:

  • His decision to leave the Army.
  • How he leveraged his closest relationships to land his first civilian job
  • How the Army most prepared him for his first job, and where he had to catch up to his peers
  • How overhearing a conversation in an adjacent cubicle changed his career
  • The advantages of working in a small office environment
  • How valuable industry experience is prior to pursuing an advanced degree
  • What it’s like to work through the first part of a week, hop on a plane and attend grad school, fly back home and start the whole cycle over again
  • And much, much more…

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QUESTION OF THE DAY: How can I make these episodes more valuable to active duty military personnel considering transitioning to the civilian world? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • [1:45] Background info
  • [3:04] Approaching the decision to leave the Army
  • [5:40] Active duty to IRR… and then to the Reserves
  • [7:51] The Telecom industry and a role as Program Manager
  • [10:19] How Will approached his job start when he first left the Army
  • [14:38] Day-to-day life in Will’s first civilian job in the Telecom Industry, and why small companies are so valuable for veterans
  • [20:58] How the Army was a competitive advantage for Will… and where he had to catch up
  • [22:52] The biggest surprise Will faced when he transitioned to civilian life
  • [25:35] Making the transition to Boeing after one year as a civilian
  • [32:31] Pursuing an MBA at Wharton while working at Boeing
  • [36:15] How to consider grad school or straight to industry and what degree to pursue
  • [38:48] Final advice to anyone on Active Duty