Larry Wiseman

"Breaking The Barcode Barrier"

What was this rookie assignment (the role, task or event)? 

Investigate and evaluate cutting edge barcode technology for multi-directional high speed scanning and reading of barcodes. Although barcode readers had been around for a long time, particularly handheld readers there was a big demand for readers that could read barcodes affixed to packages in warehouses, the postal service, shipping centers and airports to name a few. I was working for a Japanese Trading company and looking for the right company with the right technology to introduce to the Japanese market. No such technology existed at the time in Japan.

When was it? Set the scene of the time you were in.

This was in the early 1990's and the PC and computer technology in general were advancing at a rapid pace, allowing for the high speed processing on large amounts of data.

What were nervous or worried about?

I was anxious and worried that I wouldn't be able to find the perfect company with the perfect technology that we could introduce into the Japanese market.

What were you hopeful about?

I knew there were some amazing companies and technologies being developed and that I would find the perfect one.

What was the outcome?

I eventually found a company called Accu-Sort in Pennsylvania that had developed the leading high speed multi-directional barcode scanner and signed an exclusive deal with them to represent their company and technology throughout all Japan. In a number of short years Accu-Sort in Japan became the leading supplier of multi-directional barcode scanners to many large corporations including the Japanese postal system.

What would be possible in your current job if you could re-invigorate this same rookie self?

I know I could not only find the perfect accounting software that would help streamline all our accounting processes but learn how to best implement it as well.

What else would you like to tell us about your rookie story?

When I started out with Kanematsu I was fresh out of college and was only equipped with a degree in Business Management and really did not know a whole lot about software and hardware technology. In order to evaluate and find leading US technologies I had to learn fast rely on many outside resources as the internet was not really as ubiquitous as it is today. Basically, I was forced out of my comfort zone and needed to be able to communicate effectively with executives and engineers alike. Today it's so easy to just rely on the internet for all and any information without having to reach out colleagues and experts. I loved the excitement of researching and finding cutting edge technologies.

  • “Agility, resilience, grit, and a growth mindset—these are the attributes effective leaders need in a changing world. Rookie Smarts shows leaders at every age and at every stage of their careers how to master these skills.”
    DAVE ULRICH
    University of Michigan professor and author of Leadership Sustainability
  • “If you want to be a learning machine, improving and growing every year, this is the book for you.”
    LASZLO BOCK
    SVP of People Operations, Google, Inc.
  • “Wiseman masterfully shows why novices can outdo veterans, expertise blinds us to fresh ideas, and the brilliance of newbies remains untapped. With sage insights and fascinating examples, Rookie Smarts is a must-read.”
    ADAM GRANT
    Wharton professor and author of Give and Take
  • “Wiseman (co-author: The Multiplier Effect: Tapping the Genius Inside Our Schools, 2014, etc.) provides a big boost for first-time employees and others who refuse to be bound by arbitrary limits. . . .An exciting promotion of lifelong discovery and enthusiasm as answers to routine and business as usual.”
    Kirkus Reviews