Glenn Lurie, former president and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Operations as well as Synchronoss Technologies, has built a legacy of operating and building large and small businesses, doing innovative deals that played a large part in shaping the role of smartphones and connected devices in the modern world.
After 30+ years in the telecommunications and wireless industry, Lurie has established himself as a business expert with valuable entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial insights, including on how to maintain a disciplined business approach. He works with U.S. venture capital firm Stormbreaker Ventures, advising young entrepreneurs on how to grow their emerging companies.
From working hard and staying competitive to self-reflecting and developing a passion for his work, these four lessons and practices have helped Lurie maintain a disciplined approach to business.
- Dedication to working hard each and every day.
- Staying competitive – whatever it takes.
- Reflective practices – being self-aware.
- Loving what you do – passion for the business.
1. Dedication to Working Hard
Lurie spent 27+ years at AT&T and helped the company build three businesses from scratch, including:
- AIO Wireless, that is now Cricket Wireless.
- Digital Life, a home security and automation business.
- Emerging Devices Organization, now Internet of Things Organization, is an early pioneer in wirelessly enabling everything.
Lurie also helped usher in the smartphone era by overseeing AT&T’s negotiations with Apple to release the first iPhone in 2007 and the first iPad in 2010.
As a former professional soccer player, Lurie’s athletic career taught him the pursuit of excellence through a rigorous and disciplined work ethic. One lesson he learned as a player was that “hard work almost always beats talent.”
Rather than putting in “the minimum amount of work” or always arriving late to the office and heading home early, Lurie emphasizes the importance of never missing a day and and simply outworking everyone.
2. Staying Competitive
Lurie notes that even the most talented individuals can fail to achieve their goals if they aren’t competitive. One of his mentors was his predecessor as AT&T Mobility’s president and CEO, Ralph de la Vega. Lurie and de la Vega would often compete to be the “first in the office every day.”
Lurie was hyper-competitive when he was younger, especially on the soccer field. Although he moderated this trait when he entered the business world, his drive extends to the boardroom and his professional development. Lurie knew he needed to spend more time on reading, always working on self-improvement, learning from others in the organization, etc., to remain competitive and maximize his effectiveness in his job.
3. Reflective Practices
Lurie highlights the power of “self-awareness tools” to stay disciplined, such as his “mirror test.” This test involves looking in the mirror each day before and after work, asking questions like: Am I giving my all? What am I going to get done today? Did I have a productive day?
As a CEO, Lurie would hold himself accountable for his decisions and behavior by regularly checking in with himself, asking: Are we going in the right direction? Did I do the right thing today? Talking to his entire team to get their perspectives and truly listening to their opinions and perspectives.
Through this self-reflection, he could recognize areas for improvement or nail down important changes we needed to make, even if it meant being “tough on folks” in meetings.
Glenn Lurie Crunchbase.
4. Loving What You Do
The industry leader is emphatic about gaining passion and inspiration from your career. During his time at AT&T, Lurie often said, “if you love coming into work, it’s not work.”
According to Lurie, the people who succeed in their careers tend to embody the “Three P’s:” People, Purpose, and Passion. Individuals who genuinely care about the people they work with, are truly passionate about their work, and understand their motivation and impact on the business each day were always successful and incredible people to work with!
About Glenn Lurie: Synchronoss, Stormbreaker Ventures, and AT&T
Lurie’s career spans three plus decades in the telecommunications, technology, and media industries. He is currently the general partner at Stormbreaker Ventures in San Francisco, California, focusing on capital-efficient start-ups.
Lurie acted as president, CEO, and member of the board of directors of Synchronoss Technologies from 2018-20. Synchronoss works in the digital content and communication sectors, cloud and providing companies with multi-channel transaction management solutions.
Today, Lurie is an active member of the telecommunications industry and its community. He serves on the board of directors for Avis Budget Group, Pivotal Commware, Blue Link Wireless and Teal Communication and as an advisor to many other organizations.
Lurie’s Work With AT&T
Over 27 years, Lurie served in various roles at AT&T Wireless, AT&T Mobility/Cingular, and AT&T Mobility, including:
- President and CEO of AT&T Mobility and Consumer Operations (2014-17).
- President of Emerging Enterprises and Partnerships Organization at AT&T Mobility (2011-14).
- President of Emerging Devices Organization (now Internet of Things Organization) at AT&T Mobility (2008-11).
During his tenure as president and CEO of AT&T’s Mobility and Consumer Operations, Lurie successfully expanded the nation’s leading wireless and consumer business. He managed all operations, sales and distribution, customer care, home entertainment, etc.. Lurie’s team also integrated AT&T’s business and Direct TV.
Education and Awards
Lurie earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business/Marketing from Seattle Pacific University (SPU) in 1987. While playing soccer at SPU, he became a three-time National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) National Champion. He was also a 1st Round Draft pick in the Major Indoor Soccer League and, after graduating from university, played professional soccer for teams in Portland, Cleveland, Atlanta, and Milwaukee.
Lurie has won two awards: Wireless Week’s Telecom Leadership Award and the Atlanta Telecom Professional of the Year Award. His name has also appeared on lists of notable figures in the telecom and mobile sectors, including:
- Russell Reynolds Associates’ #MobileGameChangers (2014).
- Global Telecoms Business’ “Power 100” (2011, 2012, and 2013).