My Favorite Mistake — 163: CEO Jeff Zigman, “The Business Engineer,” Trusted Someone and Got a Lopsided Contract

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My guest for Episode #163 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Jeff Zigman, known as “The Business Engineer,” and the founder and CEO of SkillBuilder.

He’s been a tech entrepreneur 10 years, having led and built 25+ software projects from idea to Live, including multimillion-dollar enterprise software, with an engineering background, ten years as a Business Analyst, and eight years as a Chief Technology Officer.

He’s married with two little kids and, during COVID, he created a software platform that incorporates the learning principles that he’s gained from 20 years of martial arts into a remote learning system that he’s been able to prove to be more effective for virtual training than most in-person training, with higher absorption and better retention.

In this episode, Jeff shares his “favorite mistake” story about trusting somebody he was working to build a software company with — working for 1.5 years on a trust basis, how did Jeff end up saddled with a “lopsided contract”? What problems did that cause and why was it “a real nightmare”? We talk about that and the lessons that Jeff learned through this experience.

We also talk about questions and topics including:

  • Were there red flags?
  • Should he have gotten a lawyer to review it?
  • How has he focused on not preventing this mistake?
  • Why is training thousands of employees so difficult?
  • Lessons from martial arts?
  • 4 things that are required?
  • What is Process-Oriented Learning?
  • Knowledge (information or theory) vs. Skills (ability)?
  • How do we confirm that the learning has sunk in… that the skills can be applied effectively? Closing the loop?
  • How can training be gamified?

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