Visionary Scott Klososky

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Edmond, Oklahoma’s Best Kept Secret

BY CLIF’ WARREN

Scott Klososky—Edmond’s best-kept secret—is the hot go-to guy for global Internet strategies and enterprise social technology. One week he may be in Florida consulting, the next serving as a conference leader in Switzerland. He usually flies out of the Metro around ninety times a year under all sorts of rubrics—author, speaker, advisor, consultant, and all-round Internet technology problem-solver. “Every situation is different. Each demands an individual approach.”

At Panera, located in Edmond’s up-scale Spring Creek shopping area, near his office, Scott already selected the best spot to talk, next to a large window on this cold, gray afternoon. The guy appears to stay ahead of the game all the time, judging from his online P. R. materials with their matter-of-fact soft sell and unflattering photographs—a current business media trend, which says I’m an average guy like you, but here’s why you need me.

In person, Klososky is the picture of the All American freckle-faced kid next door, who grew up, matured, and settled in place well. What comes across immediately is a Mark Wahlburg-like forceful impression, the direct and immediate eye-to-eye connection. In his late forties, Klososky is still obviously wired, athletically fit from playing racquetball and golf, prepared and keen, even though he just arrived from Zurich late yesterday.

“Doesn’t it get tiresome having to go through all the hubs to get to the regional and global sites where you hold forth?” I ask.

“Not really. I love living in Edmond. Besides, working from computers and other devices, I stay active wherever I am. Yesterday I completely rewrote three syllabi on and off planes flying the twenty hours from Zurich.”

Klososky’s three latest business best sellers—Enterprise Social Technology, The Velocity Manifesto, and The Manager’s Guide to Social Media—sell by the cartons at conferences arranged by company executives who engage him.

Those company names where he has consulted over the past three years read like a list of the Fortune 500 pecking order: to illustrate—How about Cisco, Newell Rubbermaid, Lockheed Martin, Ebay, Volvo, The Hartford, and Marriott, bolstered further by international as well as national associations like The Korean Ministry of Information, the Mortgage Bankers Association and the Association of Equipment Manufacturers—for starters?

“I admire the clear, nuts and bolts way you write, making the tough subject of Internet structure and social media accessible to all levels of your readers: especially the way you use common terms like “the plumbing” to describe the basic architecture of computers. The whole explanation becomes instantly visible in the mind, and the linkages become unmistakable,” I offer.

“Most of all, I admire how you arrived at your sure knowledge bank. Through hard work, important insights, and vision you rose to CEO of three successful start-up companies that were sold, split up, and garnered a price of over $20 million each,” I comment.

Scott responds, his earnest dark blue eyes underscoring the modest admissions, “I never went to college, so I soon figured out I had to devise a plan of utilizing the knowledge I acquired during past years, yet remain focused on business needs of the present. At the same time I knew I must continue to speculate about innovations for the future.

When I arrived in Oklahoma from Ohio at eighteen, my first job was with Southwestern Stationers in Ponca City,” he continues.

I interrupt enthusiastically, “I remember making purchases at the old downtown store in Oklahoma City.”

“Luckily, they put me in charge of their new computer operations. That was in 1981.” He smiles. His still boyish business-mien charisma settles in.

“So, you got in on the ground floor back when most of us were fascinated by the Commodore and Atari brands now long gone,” I add.

“I was fired up by all the possibilities computers offered. I soon determined to open my own computer business and then started others. I realized I could keep a virtual office in Oklahoma and manage out of state businesses from here, so I moved on into neighboring states.

My wife, Annette, an O. U. graduate, and I enjoyed a fine family life in Oklahoma . . .     “‘working hard, playing sports, going to church, and finding many ways to have fun.’”  Scott’s family now includes Kacie (28) an RN, Austin (20), a nursing major at UCO, Kristin (14), a junior high student, and a grandson, Jonathan.

That big break that every young businessman dreams about came out of the blue and landed right at Scott’s feet in—of all places—Russia.

During 1988, two years before the break up of the Soviet Union, Scott was working with the World Peace Committee, which drew people together from across the globe to sponsor various projects aimed at upholding planetary peace. The Russian-born World Chess Champion, Garry Kasparov, later to be challenged and defeated by Big Blue, the computer, was also in Moscow at the time and became the cynosure of media attention. There, too, was H. R. Haldeman, the once infamous White House Chief of Staff for President Richard Nixon, who had served eighteen months in prison for his role in events leading to the Watergate burglaries.

Haldeman’s leadership in international business affairs and hotel and restaurant development, some ten years later, helped resurrect and restore his damaged reputation. He was in Moscow on a mission with a group of businessmen looking into building a hotel there when he met Klososky, learned about his mastery of computers and his world peace efforts, and approached him to be on the hotel board. The two became friends.

Haldeman was by then considerably older and not in good health. Back home in Santa Barbara, California, he harbored a historical treasure trove of those daily diaries and tapes from the Nixon era that he longed to edit and have published, but would his health hold out?

Knowing all about computers also meant that Scott Klososky understood the process of making CDs. He decided to take Haldeman up on an offer to join him at his home to work on the materials. In an innovative dual business deal for the time, Putnam, an old, reliable house, came up with a contract to publish the diaries, while Sony took on the task of providing the CDs. The task consumed a year and a half of Klososky’s life.

By the time Klososky completed the project (published sources suggest the full text of The Haldeman Diaries contains nearly 750,000 words), Haldeman was no longer alive, passing away on 12 November 1993. A “‘straight arrow’” and devout Christian Scientist, Haldeman refused medical treatment, and various reports suggest he died of stomach cancer.

At 32 or 33, Klososky, on the basis of his prodigious work, was therefore dispatched on a first class book tour across the nation. Consequently, he was quizzed on “Nightline” and other such quality TV shows by responsible popular hosts like Ted Koppel and Phil Donahue. The maturity and poise, the balance and communicative skills Klososky displayed then, along with the early burn in he endured setting up several of the first American startups amid all the odd corporate maneuvers in Russia obviously placed him on a fast track for life.

Certainly the major question beyond that bulletproofing ride has been, Can the guy in the saddle maintain his lead? For that answer you need look no farther than your computer screen.

When forthright Klososky delivers ultimatums like: “I. T. is a service department and should not make decisions on its own. The core team must not have their priorities decided for them. The broader community must be united with the I. T. department,” as a worker bee, you want to stand and wave a banner.

And when he passionately states, “The Internet is 52 % good and 48% bad,” and “technology produces an unbelievable input on society—changing us—and it will continue changing us,” you nod in aggressive agreement. Next, in rapid fire order, he describes how the social media “has a hold on about 2 billion now, and about 4 billion of us in a few more years,” you swallow. Ultimately, when Klososky concludes, “It has a window into every area of your life—moving in on your privacy—and even into major services as disparate as the control of online banking in Africa,” you’re staggered.

With that, Scott whirls out his iP4s and dials up Siri—that genie that can instantly produce the answer you need. He flourishes the object once more and puts it back in his pocket. Straightaway, he poses the questions to me St. Peter might bring up at the Pearly Gates, “Just how relevant are you and your group right now, and what are you doing about it?”

Gulp. No wonder the guy is in demand.

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