*Our Team at Business Unusual had the honor to sit down with Connor Offutt, CEO at AETOS Imaging Inc. and discuss his unique outlook on business, core values, and family.*
I grew up as a missionary kid overseas in Central Asia in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan. I remember bringing my computer and lugging it a mile uphill both ways to go to the PC cafe, which was a big deal back in our city.
This is a very third world country, so there were only a few PCs. I would haul that computer to read forums on technology and game creation. I made my first video game at 11 years old. So, you could say I’ve always been fascinated with technology.
Having a globe-trotting childhood helped me develop a knack for adapting to different environments and acclimate to almost any culture around the world.
As for my leadership style, I try to be charismatic and mission driven. My number one goal as CEO is to bring the best out of every employee, personally and professionally. My intention is to help them thrive, trying to make sure that they understand what their criteria for success is, and make sure they have everything that they need.
I believe how we handle conflict is a big part of our company’s culture. We’re constantly trying to handle all sorts of random things that might come up. I think it’s important that each person feels heard, and that everybody on the team understands that they matter and their voice matters.
The best way I can facilitate these conversations is to take my emotions out of it, and just acknowledge where I mess up. I try to lead my team through conflict by working towards a solution so that we’re all headed in the same direction again.
We have some really amazing plans for the future. We are very ambitious. It’s been extraordinarily obvious to me, especially over the last six months, that the fundamental thesis (if you will) of Aetos is that reality matters and building software on top of reality capture, as opposed to just an abstraction of data.
We’re betting on the fact that you cannot get better than capturing the real state of a facility or a building. Beyond that, I believe that this new outlook has the opportunity to disrupt the entire way that facilities are operated and managed; whether that’s an 800,000 square foot steel manufacturing plant all the way to a class A building in New York, or a local restaurant here in Atlanta. All these spaces need to be managed and maintained. And I think we’re going to be building the platform of choice for facilities management of all asset classes over the next five to ten years. I’m very excited to bring that to reality.
We’re pioneering technology at the cutting edge of what’s possible. And that’s not easy. I would be lying if I said I didn’t get overwhelmed sometimes, but it comes with the job. I think that sometimes I handle it well, and sometimes not; but I keep coming back to being present to gratitude, taking a breath and knowing that everything’s gonna be okay, no matter what.
Which brings us to the family, stress and work-life balance…. Oof. That’s a tough one. It’s not something I’m always great at. Sometimes you just gotta take a step back, breathe, and say everything’s gonna be okay. I can run the worst case scenario in my head, and realize that, even in the worst case scenario, I’m still gonna be fine. There’s always something else out there for me to go do. I trust myself and my ability and what I bring to this world.
It’s so important to take time for yourself and your loved ones. I love my personal hobbies. I love disc golf. It’s probably my favorite sport right now. You’ll often find me out on the course with my three boys. Little side note here: my six and seven year olds are very, very accomplished disc golfers. They play in tournaments regularly and I take a ton of pride in being able to get out there and throw that disc around.
I love video games. I love making them. I love playing them. When we’re not on the disc golf course, you’ll see our whole family actually in the office and we’ll be going crazy killing bosses and leveling up and going out in different dungeons- and we just do it together. We game as a family. I’m not a big fan of isolationist video games, when we do it together it’s on a family team.
My core values are fundamental to who I am. My life’s mission statement is to increase human flourishing and decrease human suffering to the greatest capacity that I’m capable of doing so.
I wrote that down when I was 19 years old. I care deeply about people. I care deeply about humanity. I will die with zero dollars to my name. And all of it is going to go to my people.
I have a dream one day to go back to Kyrgyzstan and do everything that I can to help that country come out of desperate poverty and to reorganize everything that I can. The way that I run my life is all about helping people see the value in themselves and the value in each other.
I think there’s two things that people usually end up being on a spectrum regarding: One is an overestimation of their own worth relative to others. The other is being too altruistic and not recognizing their own value. In order to recognize value in others, you need to recognize that same value in yourself. My goal is to truly encourage people to see the best in themselves, to push them, to challenge them and to do so with myself.
I love bringing that to the table every day. There’s nothing in life that matters more than that. Not money, not fame, not anything. My goal is to increase that awareness as much as I can. And I have a pretty high estimation of my own capacity.