I’ve been out networking, talking to my existing contacts and new acquaintances, for a little over a month now.  I am getting an education in several areas simultaneously.

First, I’m learning about the job market and where the opportunities are now, and where they are likely to be in the next few years.  Fortunately for much of the work I want to do, there’s not a lot of disruption on the horizon, at least based on the conversations I’ve had so far.  But  there seems to be a significant amount of disruption coming for some jobs and some industries.

Second, I’m beginning to see gaps between what “everyone knows” and what is real.  Take, for instance, IIOT.  Many companies will make claims about the growth of the industrial internet of things, but what most companies, consultants and software firms are telling me is that the manufacturing side of IIOT is relatively mature.  Most companies have all the hardware they need, and are awash in data that they can’t use effectively.  There seems to be a real gap between implementing IIOT and using the data the sensors generate effectively.  I am still convinced there is an opportunity for IoT in the consumer space, but I think we are still a year or two ahead of that market.

Third, there are a lot of opportunities in the marketplace in Raleigh and in the Triangle.  I’ve told a number of people that when you start scratching the surface, there are a number of interesting companies here that are growing and need help.  It’s no secret that we could use more venture money in the Triangle for second and third stage rounds.  Many venture backed companies I am talking to are going to California or other locations for their larger investments.  It would be great if we had the ability to make larger rounds locally.

Finally, a lot of the networking is paying off in my continuing education.  Where I was considering one course of action, a lot of feedback and education from my network has convinced me otherwise, but has also opened up some new areas for consideration.

I’m grateful for the people in my network and the opportunity to learn from them, and trying to balance between pulling all the data and contacts I can from the network (and risk exhausting them and not contributing back) or going slowly and carefully (not always my first inclination).