The information age is dead, international business strategist and Oklahoma State University graduate Rick Darnaby
Welcome to the dawn of the conceptual age, Darnaby
"Conceptualization is taking that volume of data and transforming it," Darnaby
"You've got to learn to use your head differently."
spoke at two commencement exercises and told the fall 2009 graduates: "The new frontier is resting about half way between your left ear and your right ear.
was a three-sport star at Union High School
played football, wrestled and ran track.
Sports was one of three reasons he enrolled at Oklahoma State.
The other two were it was reasonably close to his
home in Tulsa, and his
sister went to school at OSU
Sports didn't pan out.
"I had a terminal condition of lack of skill and ability," Darnaby
first go at Oklahoma State didn't work out either.
"I wasn't too serious about school at the time," Darnaby
left Stillwater and tried other universities.
They didn't stick either.
life changed when he
met T.O. Allan, the founder of Collegiate Products, Inc.
OSU students in the mid-to-late 1970s probably recognize Collegiate Products, Inc.
, as the company that rented dorm-sized refrigerators to students.
caught the business bug running Collegiate Products, Inc.'s
operations at OSU
He received his master's in business administration in 1978, but didn't have a job in hand.
did have some rejection letters, including two from the Monsanto Co.
"I was $10,000 in debt and had $200 in the bank when I got my MBA," he
couldn't rely on mailed resumes for a job, and made cold calls on 10 companies - one of them was Monsanto
sat in the Monsanto lobby for seven hours before someone in human resources agreed to talk to him.
mentioned the rejection letters and they asked why he
replied, "I couldn't let you make the same mistake three times."
It got him an interview, and a job.
Eventually, Darnaby would become president of Monsanto Canada Inc., leading the chemicals, biotech, pharmaceuticals, electronics and food ingredient units.
He was president of The NutraSweet Company from 1990 to 1996, led the marketing organization of the Motorola Company from 1996 to 1997, was senior vice president and general manager of Motorola's consumer solutions group from 1997 to 1999 and regional vice president, senior vice president and general manager of Motorola's consumer products businesses in Europe, Middle East and Africa from 1999 through 2000.
From 2001 through 2004, Darnaby was chief executive officer for Somera Communications, Inc.
Today, he is managing partner of three Conceptual Age consulting firms, serving high-technology industries.
The firms preach and teach innovation, leadership and conceptualization.
wasn't an expert at telecommunications, electronics or sweeteners, but his
ability to spot trends and position products brought him success.
"It's the ability to use your brain differently, meet people and master social exchange," he
also praised OSU President Burns Hargis and first lady Ann Hargis for developing the culture of innovation at the university.