"Infor CEO Charles Phillips describes himself as a person who gravitates towards engineering and things with rules that are complicated. Knowing that he can build a business and career around something so complex is what excites him," writes Black Enterprise reporter Daron Pressley in a Feb. 5 interview with Phillips, headlined "Infor CEO Talks Passion for Changing the Way People Work in Tech."
Phillips talks tech, African Americans in tech, and how to succeed in the industry.
Here are more excerpts:
When did your interest in tech begin?
I got exposed to computers and tech at an early age and took to it right away. My interest really kicked into gear while in high school. This was when PCs were just being introduced to the general public. They were not packaged products that you could buy, but you could purchase the components to build PCs. I was fortunate enough to have a gentlemen who owned a PC parts store take me under his wing. He noticed me staring at the parts in the store and saw my interest in computers.
At that time there was not a formal PC industry, but a community of hobbyists. I joined a couple of clubs that would get together, build PCs and discuss what we made. This is where I really picked up the love of technology which led me to major in computer science in college, and I have been doing something with computers ever since. My passion for technology continued to evolve over time and my love for new technology grew with it.
Where do we begin to increase African American exposure to technology and careers in tech?
It begins very early. Even if you have interest in technology, there must be basic math skills and exposure to the right educational system to comprehend and build from there. We have to start early on with our educational system and specifically our public education system. I still believe the earlier the better when it comes to exposure to technology. Also having the natural curiosity that goes beyond just wanting to use a computer, but wanting to know how it works. That is a different mindset than simply saying I want to use a computer. It's a mindset of wanting to discover what is inside of it. Nothing helped me more than having to build a computer. It crystallizes what all the components of a computer do in making the machine function.