Brick Thompson first discovered the power of data in an old-school way. “I had a boss early in my career who would track everything on hand-drawn paper charts,” he says. “It made perfect sense to me that it was much easier to affect things if I knew how my actions correlated with results. I started measuring and tracking most things that mattered to me from then on.”
Fast-forward 25+ years, and it’s easy to see how that practice has benefited Brick’s career in business. He’s founded three successful companies, including time spent as CEO/CIO of Vercuity—a 500-employee SaaS company backed by One Equity Partners. He served in program management for Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund. And in 2011 Brick and his brother, Jon Thompson, returned to their technology roots to create the data intelligence firm, Blue Margin Inc.
As senior partner at Blue Margin, Brick now oversees all engineering and project management groups and heads up the company’s executive management along with Jon Thompson. He says, “The most important things in life for me are relationships and helping other people. Our approach to Blue Margin’s company culture, along with the services we provide, support both of those things.”
Brick and Jon Thompson are also co-authors of the groundbreaking business intelligence book, The Dashboard Effect.
The message of The Dashboard Effect is that the data you already own is the key to transforming your company for growth and health. Additionally, the process of converting to a data-driven company comes down to a set of best practices for designing and integrating reports that get adopted, and that employees attach to the same way fans, players, and coaches attach to a scoreboard. When team members have instant access to the critical information they need, they can efficiently decide on the best course of action to win the game.
Learn more about The Dashboard Effect here.
Q: Why everybody calls him “Brick”?
A: My parents gave me the nickname before I was born. They put the name Richard on my birth certificate, after my dad, but never called me anything other than Brick, so it stuck.
Q: Three things everyone should know about Brick?
A: I’ve played in several rock and bluegrass bands in my free time. I’m a pretty good surfer (lived in Honolulu for most of my twenties). I love to cook.
Q: The band Brick would most like to open for?
A: B.B. King
Q: Best thing Brick likes about working at Blue Margin?
A: My colleagues. I sincerely enjoy spending time with them.
Q: Best advice Brick’s brother ever gave him?
A: Only complain about something if the other person can help you do something about it. Otherwise, there are better things to spend time on.
Q: One thing Brick would do if he knew he couldn’t fail?
A: Cure cancer.