The Voice of talkRA

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Some people are comfortable to ask questions, rather than face them.

Not so Eric Priezkalns of talkRA who stepped out of his interviewer status this week and allowed me, Mike Willett, to pose the questions to him – even though he couldn’t resist turning the questions back on me from time to time. When I proposed to Eric that he be the subject of a podcast, he willingly jumped at the opportunity and granted me full access to ask any question I wanted. What I was most interested in, though, was understanding Eric’s career path from accountant to today, to understand the things that influenced and drove him, the areas that have made him who he is today. Love or loathe Eric, I am sure you will find his insights and comments typical of what we have all come to expect of him – forthright, insightful and reflective. Enjoy this opportunity to get to know Eric a little bit better.

You can listen to this interview through your web browser, or download the mp3 file from here. If you want to be sure that you will never miss a talkRA podcast, you can also subscribe to the talkRA podcast via iTunes.

Mike Willett
Mike Willett
Mike is a Director at Ernst & Young, Australia. He is responsible for enterprise intelligence, helping clients to improve their management and use of data. He can be contacted at: mike.willett@au.ey.com.

Mike was previously the Director for Fraud & Revenue Assurance at Telstra. He started his career at BellSouth (now Vodafone) in New Zealand and then moved to Praesidium Services in the UK. Mike graduated from the University of Auckland in New Zealand with degrees in psychology and marketing.
  • Mike,

    Thanks for this fine interview with Eric. It’s long overdue. And as usual, if you wind Eric up with a few tough questions, he pulls great stuff out his hat while the rest of us are scratching our heads.

    I also think people will enjoy hearing about the diversity of Eric’s background: you see how experience across many assignments can build a career.

    The area where I somewhat disagree with Eric’s commentary is his discouraging people from starting up their own consulting in RA.

    Now you may not make as much money as working for a telco, but having your own firm has its own rewards and depending on how long you’ve been at the RA game, it can become a worthwhile part-time pursuit, too.

    This is not an easy road, of course, but it could be an ideal tack if you can swing doing consulting at your former (or current) RA job in exchange for the freedom to branch out to other clients or carve out your own time. And carriers hate to lose a talented person.

    Case in point is Alice Harris, former Executive Director of billing at CenturyLink and head of RA at Qwest. Alice is a real pro who knows the business inside and out — and about a year ago she broke away to start her consulting firm, Go Ask Alice Consulting, Ltd. (remember that Jefferson Airplane song? ) Alice has her shingle up on LinkedIn.

    Now if you want to start a practice, it helps if you’re in North America where you’ve got a large, wide-open market with carriers large and small to call on. And there are conference events where you can swap business cards.

    TMNG has made a business out of hiring freelance veterans who have their own businesses but spend most of their time taking on part-time jobs for TMNG.

    Now I would not advise doing this if you’re a 9-to-5 person. It requires some dedication and financial sacrifice to get started. And your spouse may not be willing to go that route.

    But whether you start your own consulting shop, join a bigger firm, or go to an assignment at any carrier, there’s not better way of promoting yourself than through the forum you’re reading right now.

    So I’m surprised that more experts don’t take advantage of this forum to get known. Likewise don’t forget the annual conference events that WeDo, cVidya, and Subex put on — another great ways to spread the word.

    The RA profession lives on the vibrancy and contributions of the people in it. You probably have something very useful to contribute. If so, I suggest you contact Eric to be a guest columnist.

    And welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!

  • Dave Stuart

    @ Mike – Well done good interview!

    @ Eric – thanks for the free product placement – yes I am available again!!
    So how do you fancy re-forming the old double-act and setting up a consultancy?? ;-)

    You’ll never retire!!!

  • @ Dan, thanks for your generous comment. Perhaps I’m a bit too pessimistic about consulting. Guys like Dave Stuart will succeed whether he’s employed by a telco or offering his services as a business advisor.

    @ Dave, I AM retired! And you won’t change that. And even if I wasn’t, how could I work in a consulting firm with you? I’m just a bluffer who repeatedly relies on you to give me answers to questions I don’t understand. After 6 weeks of working with me, you’d kick me out and keep all the profits for yourself ;)