In this issue of Insights, we talk with Robert Kosobucki about his role on the Insyte team in sales and marketing. With experience in tech development industries, Robert has a knack for anticipating success. Here, he discusses how an inherent curiosity and passion for creativity has translated to a lifetime of exploration, from a career in marketing to international travel and learning how to cook.
How has a career in technology industries informed your work at Insyte?
I can get pigeonholed with a narrow definition in sales and marketing, but really what I do is help a company develop a formula for success in the marketplace, whether it’s strategy, products or techniques. My background is almost exclusively in technology products with companies who are in tech industries. I’ve been in Austin, Dallas and Silicon Valley. Those markets have product development cycles that are very short, so you’re constantly developing new products. In high-tech, you get to experience several lifetimes of developing products and introducing them, succeeding, failing, fixing; it’s a very accelerated way of learning what works. What I’ve noticed throughout my career are the commonalities across industries. You can trade off and learn from one industry to the next.
What drew you to marketing work?
When I was in fourth grade, I got a Gilbert chemistry set, and within a year my dad bought me a textbook from eleventh grade chemistry. I couldn’t read all the words, but he would read it to me and explain it. It was great. By seventh grade, I got into electronics. It was natural for me to go into electronic engineering for my studies. In engineering, I realized that I liked the bigger picture, and that’s when I made a decision to go to business school. I’m always the guy who wants to explore what’s over the hill. Visiting a company, I’m naturally curious. I really enjoy taking a tour of the plant, listening to the company owners tell me what their business is like, what their products are like, what their customers are like; it fascinates me.
What do you enjoy outside of work?
I generally like creative activities, where I can create something new and different. My wife and I are general contractors on a home we’re building in the Buffalo area. The whole process of the design, the layout, the managing—it’s natural, and I like the whole creation process.
Cooking is another serious interest of mine. I’ve studied several courses at the Culinary Institute of America. I’ve taken several full semesters in the evenings at ECC. I’ve also spent a week at the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris for cooking courses. All the instruction was in French, but there was a translator. That’s something else I’m interested in. I’m in my third year of taking French language immersion courses. The rules are when you walk in the room, you are in France. You are not allowed to speak any English. I’ve got a lot of international experience, and that’s part of the sense of curiosity and exploration.
Do you see similarities in your love of cooking and technology?
Well, I have the reputation at Insyte for coloring outside the lines. But in high-tech, there are no rules. You’re inventing the rules, and you’re paving the road as you’re going down it. [As in cooking], you get accustomed to making decisions in an environment of a lot of ambiguity and uncertainty.
What role does Insyte play in Buffalo’s manufacturing industry?
We’re helping to bring more improved professional management to the area. All the folks at Insyte have worked in larger corporations and come in with very disciplined professional management techniques. Those are the little things that will help a company excel, especially a family-owned company that has moved from one family member to another without the benefit of outside management techniques. Individually, we’re always upgrading our skills. I’ve gone through market research techniques, problem solving, innovation. As a group, we share best practices. We meet once a month and talk about our projects, techniques we’ve used, and we become familiar with what we’re all working on. If something comes up, we can go to that individual and ask, “Hey, how did you do that?” We’re continually sharing.