HomeWork features AHAM members’ insights on careers, success, life outside of work, and AHAM membership. This month, we spoke with Nate Cho, Director, Internet of Things, Electrolux.

Name three personal and professional goals you are currently pursuing.
Professionally, I’m excited to continue building out Electrolux’s digital capabilities as this space continues to change at an exponentially faster rate. The definition of a product has changed from just the physical good to also include the complementary digital experiences that go along with it, and I’m looking forward to launching more of these digitally enabled experiences to consumers. Personally, I have two young kids at home, so it’s just trying to make sure to balance work and life. I am also quite into cars and racing, so the last goal is that I plan to make it out to the track for some track days.

What is the best career advice you have ever received?
At my last company, we used the PIE model – Performance, Image, Exposure. Performance is about the individual contributions – what and how well you have done your assigned tasks. Image is how others perceive you; it can be seen as your own personal brand and what you’re known for. Exposure is not only who knows you but also them knowing what you are working on and what you have done. In particular, I have found it important to have champions within the organization for what you do. As one goes through their career, the weight of each section of this PIE changes, but managing this has been quite helpful in ensuring that I’ve able to continue to work on what I enjoy working on.

What are your secrets to having a productive day?
Saying “no.” This was probably the hardest thing for me to learn, as I do want to make people happy. However, there’s just too much to do and not enough time, so it’s important to be able to prioritize. One way to help quickly do that is to understand what not to do.

Predict an appliance or other innovation that will revolutionize the next generation.
Computer capabilities and access to data have made the feedback loop quicker and more powerful. The first major shift that comes to mind is that each individual’s voice can now be heard through digital platforms for reviews or on social media. The second is that our ability to generate actionable insights off consumer’s real-time interactions and behaviors around our product offerings. With this information, companies can more quickly provide fixes or add new features through software updates, such as we’re used to getting on our phones or with app updates. I believe companies that don’t build the capabilities to listen for this feedback will be made irrelevant.

How did you come to work in the appliance industry?
When I was a graduate school student, I got to chatting with a prospective student who had come to visit our class. Fast forward a handful of years, and he had remembered our conversations, so he reached out over LinkedIn to see if I’d be interested in trying something different than the defense industry I was in at the time. While we have gotten to be friends since, it does goes to show the strength of weak ties.

What do you gain from your involvement in AHAM?
I thoroughly enjoy the people at AHAM who recognize that there are certain issues where we need to band together as an industry to tackle. While there may be conflicting views, it has helped open my eyes to new issues and perspectives. Quite a few of these topics, such as what the Connectivity Specialists discuss, have a rising tide lift all ships effect.

Outside of the appliance industry, what would be your dream job?
I have a lot of interest in the matchmaking process between problems and solutions. What matters to me most is feeling a sense of purpose where the products I’m working on help people. Ultimately, my dream job would be to run an internal venture capital or corporate venture capital group at a larger organization.

In your opinion, how do appliances help contribute to a sense of home?
To me, appliances are there to help get the job done—from helping to store my food so it’s fresh when I need it to helping to wash the dishes and the family’s clothes. Without them, I’d be spending much more time on mundane chores, and not as much time playing with my kids or reading to them.

What appliances do you most remember from growing up?
It would have to be my parents’ refrigerator (which happened to be a Frigidaire). Between the refrigerator and the pantry, it was like having a store at home where I didn’t have to pay for anything, but had access to all the snacks and food I could want. Though to be completely fair, my options were limited as my parents didn’t really trust my cooking or baking (rightly so), and doing dishes and laundry felt like chores.
HomeWork headshot
Nate Cho
Director
Internet of Things
Electrolux

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Mark Bissell
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