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“Complacency Can Be the Biggest Enemy.”

The biggest enemy for mid-sized companies? Complacency, says Geomagic CEO Ping Fu, who is working to align vision and execution for clients ranging from Fisher-Price to Ford.
COLLABORATORS Ping Fu
Geomagic CEO Ping Fu
photo by Jorg Meyer

BUILD MEMBER: Ping Fu

TITLE: CEO

BUSINESS: Geomagic, founded 15 years ago in the Research Triangle Park, is a leading provider of 3D software for creating digital models of physical objects.

EMPLOYEES: 92

CUSTOMERS YOU’VE HEARD OF: Ford, Harley-Davidson, Timberland, Fisher-Price, Pratt & Whitney, NASA,  Alcoa Howmet, and Invisalign.

OTHER VITALS: Offices in China, Germany, Japan. Resellers in more than 40 countries; customers in 63 countries.

WRITE THE HEADLINE FOR YOUR OBIT:
Geomagic visionary leader redefined personal fabrication; was one of a kind, not one of millions

IF YOU HAD TO DO ANOTHER JOB AT YOUR COMPANY, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Chief innovation officer

ANY BOARD ACTIVITY?
I’m a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the White House. I give back to the local community by mentoring, speaking, and hosting technology events at our headquarters. I also sit on several nonprofit boards.

HOW WOULD YOU EXPLAIN WHAT YOUR COMPANY DOES TO A JUNIOR-HIGH CLASS?
We are a software company that digitally captures reality — what you see is what you get in 3D. These 3D digital models are used for games, and movies, as well as the production of products.

IF YOU COULD BE SMARTER ABOUT ONE OF THE FOLLOWING THINGS, WHICH WOULD IT BE:

  • Analytics and big data
  • Social media
  • Global business networks
  • Customer-driven innovation
  • Talent development
  • Building an adaptive organization

FAVORITE VACATION:
To a transformational event with a group of friends, such as Burning Man with Chip Conley (founder of Joie de Vivre Hotels and author of Peak; see the first issue of Build)

MOST RECENT BIG IMPROVEMENT IN YOUR ORGANIZATION:
We moved into a new headquarters and have more alignment of vision and execution. Our people and customers are the source of ideas, and we have always aimed at having an impact on design and manufacturing in the 21st century.

WHAT DO YOU DO TO GET PUMPED BEFORE YOU GIVE A BIG PRESENTATION?
Meditation

WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?

  • International competitor
  • Fortune 1000 competitor
  • Two kids and a dog in a garage
  • Other

Nothing really keeps me up. But I am paranoid about being complacent and believe complacency in our stage of the company (midsize) can be the biggest enemy.

BEST MEETING YOU’VE EVER ATTENDED?
TED. The attendees and the organizers at TED make it great. The Small Giants International Summit is the opposite of TED but equally appealing, with the intimacy of ideas, down-to-earth approach, and great entertainment.

WHAT DRIVES YOU NUTS?
Inefficiency or indecision

HOW DO YOU CHILL?
Go to a spa and get a massage or cook a good meal to treat friends

COUNTRY YOU WANT TO VISIT TO LEARN SOMETHING: South Africa

COUNTRY YOU WANT TO VISIT FOR PURE PLEASURE: Bhutan

WHAT YOU’RE MOST EAGERLY LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS YEAR: Finishing my book

THE PLUS
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Comments

  1. Great insight. I couldn’t agree more. Once we become complacent, we no longer seek goals. Humans are instinctively goal seeking beings and complacency leads to comfort and inactivity. It’s great to always keep the team motivated with milestones and quarterly events.

  2. I took the title “managing director” to avoid taking credit as “chief innovative officer” even though I serve that function. Why? Because if I have that title, it suggests everyone else’s creative output is below mine. Avoiding complacency means giving everyone the chance to solo while the boss plays orchestra conductor.

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“Complacency Can Be the Biggest Enemy.”

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