|BILLIONAIRE HAD TO MASTER PUBLIC SPEAKING FIRST|
Aruba, April 12, 2016 - Before he created billions in shareholder value, he had to master public speaking.
One of the things I have learned while writing this column is how experiences at a young age can have a profound effect on careers.
It sounds obvious, but hearing it firsthand from someone such as Mike Daniels creates a vivid impression.
Daniels, 70, of Vienna, Va., said the communications skills he learned as early as the seventh grade helped him play a role in the growth and monetization of the Internet over the past four decades.
Daniels is one of the under-the-radar guys. Daniels saw it all, from the beginning of the Internet to the growth of AOL and the Washington technology sector.
The ones who got ahead tended to be the ones who could take a powerful idea or product and sell it.
“Many of the technology people who are very smart and great technologists are not able to communicate their ideas,” Daniels said. “They tend to be introverts focused on the technology. You need to lift your head up, see the strategic picture.
“Almost all of the great technology leaders I have had the privilege to work with have had the skill to communicate their message and the mission to their employees.” And Daniels has seen a lot of them. Bill Gates of Microsoft. Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle. Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder of Amazon.com and owner of The Washington Post. The late J. Robert Beyster, founder of Science Applications International. Even the late Steve Jobs of Apple.
“Black jeans. Black turtleneck. Almost ethereal,” he said, describing Jobs working at his craft. “He was the best I ever saw in Silicon Valley in 40 years.”
Jobs “honed his communications skills to a fine art. It was almost like a play. The staging was great. The graphics were great. He had a great style of getting you ready for the anticipated moment of his next product.
Daniels is the former chairman and chief executive of Network Solutions, the Northern Virginia-based domain registration company that became a multibillion-dollar behemoth selling .com, .org and .net names.