Getting to Know Carl Harkleroad of Imagined.Cloud

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success.

I learn something new every time a profile is published and I have Carl Harkleroad to thank for introducing me to the “one shower” rule (read below for details). But Carl, a legend on the technology side of the accounts receivable management industry, is known for offering great advice and insights. Read on to learn more about Carl, how he changed the lives of former employees, and why you’ll never find him in port when his cruise ship docks.

Name: Carl E. Harkleroad
Current Role/Job Title: Founder/CEO
Company: Imagined.Cloud
Length of time at current company: 6 Years
Length of time in industry: 38 years

How did you get your start in the industry?
Funny Story. I was waiting for a background check to be completed for a job with Hughes Aircraft and the CIA, although they couldn’t tell me what the job was, only that I had the qualifications and the salary. Well, while waiting them out, I was contacted by a headhunter about a job running a large data center in Washington, D.C. for a collection agency. I took the job while waiting for the background check to be completed. The agency used paperwork cards, My first job was to select a collection platform and convert them off the cards. After that, I worked for several other agencies — Corliss Credit in Hartford, Conn., Master Collectors in Atlanta, Nationwide Credit in Atlanta, and Central Credit Services in Jacksonville, Fla. While at Central Credit Services I developed the basis for what would become Latitude Software. This was around the year 2000. I eventually sold Latitude Software in 2010 and retired, Then became really bored and founded Imagined.Cloud in 2016 with the idea to take our “dinosauric” industry to the cloud.

What is your career highlight so far?
Well, when I sold Latitude Software I had a handshake deal with five of my key employees. They were able to share in the rewards when the business was sold, and I know for some of them it was life-changing.

When or how are you most productive?
I am most productive when I can take my laptop and a headset and go somewhere away from the office or my home. Actually, on a cruise ship, I am the only one that doesn’t get off the ship in ports; I find a quiet place and work.

Which industry professional do you admire most?
There are so many that make it too hard to choose, but the ones where I was around when they started their business, saw the evolution of their businesses, and was able to see them grow into real business leaders.

What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
I listen, understand the business challenges that are discussed, and I think about solutions to solve those challenges. And I do what I say without exception.

What do you like most about this industry?
It’s a community. I have made a lot of friends. I enjoy their company at trade shows. Mostly people who are not afraid to say what they mean, no filters.

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What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
The technology. The answer is the cloud. I was listing to a podcast the other day, and people from our industry were discussing when the cloud would be ready for our industry. They said five-to-10 years. The cloud and all its benefits are here now! If you don’t embrace the possibilities now, you’re toast.

If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I think I will always be in this industry in some way, but I enjoy woodworking, fishing, shooting pistols and traveling with my wife. I enjoy talking to industry peers about their new and existing businesses and giving my experiences when ask. I have done a lot of free consulting because I enjoy it.

Describe a typical work day.
It’s different for me. Sometimes I will wake in the middle of the night with an idea, grab the keyboard and work on the idea, so then I might sleep in. Most of the time I am into an idea and have no idea what time it is. It’s weird — my whole life I have only needed five hours of sleep a night.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Fishing, traveling, and shooting pistols. I just love meeting people, especially from other countries, and maybe shooting some craps. It’s a very social game.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
My first programming manager said, “Listen, think, then code. Just don’t start coding.” And for all important decisions use the “One Shower” rule — only make the decision after you have had at least one shower.

What are you currently reading?
To be honest, I don’t read very often, But when I do I love real stories about World War II. I am always watching YouTube videos about technology and woodworking.

What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
I am working hard to eliminate the usage of files. I hate files. Files involve human touch and mistakes, and delay. Modern systems use API’s.

Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
Michael Rosenthal or Todd Hendricks

The “Getting to Know” series is sponsored by Applied Innovation. Applied Innovation is helping to shape the future of accounts receivable management. Product development is driven by customer feedback, agency profitability and compliance and includes platforms addressing client portal access, document management, payment negotiation, Regulation E focused electronic payment authorizations and TCPA communication authorization platforms. Partner with a company who understands your business challenges and evolves to provide cutting edge technology to overcome those challenges and achieve success

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