HomeWork features AHAM members’ insights on careers, success, life outside of work, and AHAM membership. This month, we spoke with Jim Sanduski, President, Sharp Home Electronics Company of America and a member of AHAM’s Board of Directors.
Name three goals (personal or professional) you are pursuing in 2019.
1. Professionally, I’m pursuing two main goals this year. The first is expanding Sharp’s microwave oven- focused product portfolio to an entire cooking suite, followed soon after by an entire kitchen suite of major appliances with a distinct Sharp visual brand language and connectivity solution.
2. With the recently announced re-acquisition of the Sharp TV brand later this year, a second professional goal is to build out and lead a team in relaunching Sharp into the next generation 8K TV market. 8K offers 4 times the picture resolution of today’s 4K TVs. It is literally like looking through a window.
3. On a personal note, a goal of mine is staying fit and trying to follow a nearly two-year-old intermittent fasting regiment that has me limiting my food intake to between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. With business travel it is not always practical, but it’s a lifestyle I’ve adopted and try my best to follow. Combined with healthier eating and weekend exercise, it has allowed me to get back to the weight I was in my thirties.
How do you jumpstart your morning?
Recently, it has been early to bed, early to rise, which allows me to wake up naturally without an alarm clock by 6 a.m.. Then, I jumpstart my morning by hydrating: I start with 16 oz. of water when I first wake up and follow up with 32 oz. of flavored seltzer water when I first arrive in the office. It generally keeps me satiated until 11 a.m., when I’ll have my breakfast. Of course, there is a cup or two of coffee mixed in between. By waking up early, I can get into the office before others to get a jumpstart on communications overnight from Japan and catch up on overnight business, financial and, lately, political developments.
Predict an innovation that will revolutionize the next generation.
I truly believe that we are on the cusp of an inflection point that will see rapid technological change with upcoming advances in 5G, AI and 8K. These technologies will fundamentally change how we live and work. 5G is transformational, far greater than the transition from 3G to 4G, with up to 100 times improvement in both speed and lower latency. That, combined with the other two technologies, will result not only in smart homes, but also smart cities, smart offices and new applications in virtual reality. As examples, safe, autonomous driving will become a mainstream reality with cars, stoplights and stationary objects communicating with each other in real time. Doctors will be able to conduct remote surgery using robotics. Virtual reality will allow us to enjoy a “virtual” seat on the 50-yard line during the Super Bowl and even travel back in time and walk the streets of San Francisco right after the 1906 earthquake.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
It was from a mentor at a previous company who said “Hire thy heroes.” By that, he meant assemble a team of people who are smarter than you (Fortunately, this is easy!), give them direction and authority, but then get out of their way. You would be amazed at what they can accomplish, making you look smarter in the process than you really are.
What home appliance can you not live without?
While it is probably a refrigerator because of its ability to store fresh and frozen food, the quirky side of me would say my popcorn poppers. Yes, I have more than one. As a native Nebraska Cornhusker, I was practically raised on popcorn. Even today, I have it three to four times a week…up to five quarts in one sitting. Today, my favorites are my “healthy” hot air popper, and when I’m in the mood for true “movie theater” taste, a stove top stirrer using coconut oil. In both cases, I’ll top it off with a drizzle of melted butter and fine popcorn salt. Just thinking about it brings a smile to my face.
What do you gain from your involvement with AHAM?
While I just recently joined the AHAM Board of Directors, I’m looking forward to providing thought leadership on the regulatory issues facing our industry while learning from other members about how to make our industry stronger. Also, I’m excited about the opportunity to establish open standards in the smart home so that future connected appliances, even products from different brands, will ‘talk’ to each other, accelerating consumer adoption and satisfaction.
What is your best advice you have for somebody who wants to succeed in the home appliance industry?
The appliance industry is changing faster than ever before creating exciting opportunities for a long successful career. My advice starts with having a passion for the industry together with following the Amazon maxim: “Start with the customer and work backwards.” The rest may read like a laundry list but is valuable: Always be curious. Question why. Work hard. Ask for more responsibility. Be a team player. Give credit to others generously. Hone your skills in public speaking. Write well. Project a positive, upbeat and confident attitude. Always act with integrity. And for when you ascend into the ranks of management, hire thy heroes, of course!