rwood.jpgThe first of our two "Most Inspiring New Contributors," Rich Wood was lured into the industry through gaming and kept interested by the potential for community and collaboration. Using a mixture of pop culture references and experience designing and building solutions, Rich's monthly column explores the social enterprise — how it is today and what it might look like tomorrow.

Who are you -- in a 140-character tweet? Dad, husband, son, geek, singer, athlete, Catholic. I either do things as well as they can possibly be done, or I don't do them at all.

What attracted you to your field -- and what still excites you about it? I got involved with collaborative software because even back in the mid-90s, I was fascinated with the way internet sites and earlier chat programs allowed people to communicate in new and different ways. I discovered that through gaming in the university computer lab -- which back then was relegated to the library basement!

It’s been 20 years and the world is very different now, but oddly, I’ve come full circle and what keeps me here is very similar to what drew me here. I love our modern social tools and how they allow people to connect in a richer fashion -- and in groups at that -- than plain text or voice alone. Whether people like to admit it or not, gaming has driven so much of that evolution and will continue to do so. I imagine I’ll still be interested!

What’s your proudest accomplishment of 2013? I was fortunate enough to be involved with a lot of amazing things this year, but the one that takes the cake was the capstone at year’s end. I found out in December that I’d been selected to speak at SharePoint Conference 2014 in March -- in the SharePoint community that’s really the toppermost of the toppermost. Close behind that was our ultimate team accomplishment -- being named Microsoft’s US Partner of the Year this past spring. And of course, in my personal life, the birth of my daughter (after three sons) dwarfs both of those things.

What’s your goal, personal or professional, for 2014? I definitely plan to keep growing our Perficient team with more diverse and talented individuals. I’ll also say I have two personal goals: 1. Get published as an author in some non-work-related fashion, and 2. Coach my son’s peewee football team again with every kid healthy, happy that they played and learned something new.

What's an important story you will be tracking in 2014? I’m sure I’m hardly alone in breathlessly awaiting Microsoft’s announcement of a new CEO. I’m guessing the biggest impact will be felt with investors and in public opinion, though, because culturally and from a vision standpoint there has already been a huge pivot just in the last couple years of Ballmer’s reign. Microsoft didn’t just say it would be about "devices and services," it is actually doing it.

And it got rid of stack ranking! I mean, come on … nobody gets hired at Microsoft without being really, really good at something. That process was just a numbers game, and killing it off instantly made its culture that much better. It is serious about being the world’s best software company again, and if it names the right person, it will happen sooner than anyone expects it to.

What’s the one New Year resolution you always make -- and always break? I can honestly say I’ve never believed in New Year’s resolutions. It doesn’t matter if you start something on January 1st or August 12th -- what matters is how hard you work to make it happen.