Derek Miller is the President and CEO of inData Corporation, the developers of TrialDirector. Most everyone involved in Trial Presentation uses, or is at least familiar with what has been called the “Gold Standard” of trial presentation software. While we’ve all been exposed to stories of a few other software-related personalities such as Bill Gates (Microsoft) and Steve Jobs (Apple), it is always interesting to learn a little about the driving forces behind them.
1. Where do you currently work, and what is your primary role? inData Corporation – President/CEO
2. Share a little about your background, education and work experience prior to your current position. I started at inData back in 1989 working as a document editor. At the time, inData was in the business of converting paper transcripts to an electronic format and creating a “page image” version in DOS. I also ran the conversion department that converted the files from ASCII to Discovery-ZX. In 1991, I became the production manager and managed about 50 editors. About this same time, we got into document imaging and putting the images on CD. Very expensive at the time, but very cool.
Sometime in the early 90’s, we purchased a machine from a company called Mekel Engineering and started converting Microfilm and Microfiche to image. We worked on some really big financial institution bankruptcies in California, Florida and New York that gave us a lot of experience in organizing and managing large volumes of data.
In 1996, we diversified and created a software division, a trial consulting division and a services division. Since 1996, each division has had some great experience in large case management and high profile cases.
Over the years, inData has had 3 different companies spin off from it and 2 of them continue to be industry leaders in their respective markets.
3. Share a little about what you do when not working. I have a small manufacturing business on the side that keeps me busy. I also love to fly (instrument-rated pilot), hunt/competitive shooting, boating/wakeboarding & spending time with my family.
|Derek and Camille Miller in Alaska|
4. Tell us about one or two significant cases or experiences in your career. I have worked with one attorney since 1993 and up until he retired, he had never been to trial without me. He had one case that lasted 10 years that started in Delaware, was sent to Arbitration in New York, then back to Delaware, up to the New York Court of Appeals, and finally back to Delaware. The original case was a corporate stock purchase that went bad with a couple of million dollars in dispute. By the time the judgment was paid with interest etc. it ended up about 20x that. Luckily the client was in a position to fight until the end. It was great experience to work in the different types of venues and manage a case and all of its history for so long.
5. Share about one or two disasters during your career, and how you managed to recover. My worst experience ever was taking someone else’s place at an arbitration. I wasn’t familiar with the setup and only had time to test to see if my display was working. When it came time for us to present, they switched over to my laptop. All was going well until the video needed to be played. For whatever reason, the video window was cut in half and the bottom half of the video was playing on top and the top was playing on the bottom. Everything I tried wasn’t working – I am pretty sure I was shaking so bad that the vibrations could be felt throughout the room. I ended up re-booting my system with the projector plugged in so it would sync up, but, those few minutes were like an eternity.
6. What is the best piece of advice you could offer to someone considering stepping into your shoes? It might seem like a glamorous life traveling all over and working on high stakes cases, but if you can’t work long hours, be away from family and friends for long periods of time and can’t handle extreme pressure and a “Type-A” personality yelling at you, this is not the job for you!
7. If you had to do it all over, what would you do differently? I am not sure that I would do anything different. It has been a great experience being able to work on some of the cases we have worked on, develop the technology that is being used on the majority of cases going to trial and being able to work with a lot of really great people has been more than I could ever ask for. The best indicator for me is that even though I have been doing pretty much the same thing for 26 years now, I still love it and love coming into work every day and creating the next generation of products.
8. Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? Hopefully doing the same thing! In the immortal words of Mitch Hedberg – “celebrating the 10 year anniversary of you asking me that question!"
9. What would you consider the biggest change that has transpired during your career? The ability to display things wirelessly either via AppleTV or WiDi. No wires in the courtroom sure makes setup easy!
10. What do you predict for the future for those in your profession? Continued evolution and simplification of processing, producing, managing & presenting electronic data.
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