Editor’s note: This is part two of Local Tech Wire’s conversation with Atlanta technology leader John Yates.John Yates sees the high-tech industry rebounding in 2003 and in a number of different areas. But Yates, a leader of the Atlanta technology community and head of the technology group at Morris, Manning & Martin, doesn’t think only about tech.
Yates, a graduate of Duke University’s law school, is writing and book, is actively involved with his son’s fledgling basketball career, and wants to spend more time with his family. Here’s a look at the more personal side of Yates.
What’s your secret of success?
Openness, friendship, optimism and encouraging the spirit of community — through God’s guiding spirit.
What is in your future? Any plans to do anything other than law?
As we mentioned, I’m working on a book with my best friend about business friendships — “The Art of Business Friendship” I’m also on the board of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce — and spending more time with my wife and teenage son.
Tell me more about the book. Why this topic?
My best friend and I have been talking about it for two decades now and we decided we had enough knowledge and wisdom that a book would be valuable to others. As for the topic, we focused on the key reasons for our success and concluded that it related to how we react to others on a business level, through business friendships. Your friends may not become your clients, but your clients can become your friends!
Will Enron and Andersen bring about any kind of tech comeback?
Possibly. It may due to the increased levels of compliance and scrutiny companies will have to meet. They may need new technology that will allow them to do that.
What’s the next wave?
Business continuity, application integration, security, storage, and real-time event management.
How has the downturn affected your firm?
We’re doing well. Even in a down economy, people still need lawyers.
Did your firm have to lay off any attorneys? If so, in what practice areas?
I make it a habit not to talk about my family or my firm’s personnel matters — whether times are good or bad.
Who are some of the unsung heroes of the technology community in Atlanta?
Tom Noonan because he’s always giving to others without asking for anything in return. Chris Klaus, co-founder of ISS. Tycho Howle founder of nuBridges (a co-founder of Harbinger), Alan Dabbiere, chairman of Manhattan Associates. Richard Brock, chairman of Firstwave. Bill Nussey from SilverPop. Benn Konsynski, who is the academic link to the entrepreneur.
What was the last movie you watched?
“Gladiator.” My son has Gladiator on tape and watches it all the time. Truth and honor!
Last book read?
“Jack: Straight from the Gut” by Jack Welch
What other books have you read recently, and why?
Flights of Faith — written by Mark Scott, my best friend.
Favorite dish at favorite restaurant?
Chicken and dumplings at my mother-in-law’s house.
When was the last Saturday you didn’t work?
Define work! I work at least part of every day or night.
Who is your hero, and why?
My sister Jean Yates. She was a technology pioneer in Silicon Valley, and got me interested in helping build a technology community in Atlanta. In the sports world — it’s John Wooden, the famed UCLA basketball coach.
What do you do to relax? Hobbies?
I coach my son’s basketball team, and go to Myrtle Beach with the family.
What’s your top priority in life?
My wife, Ellen, and my son, Paul (15).