Bright Lights, Big Company

Career Move

Who: Jamie Allison
New Job: Wireless-mobile marketing manager at Ford Motor Co.
Old Job: "Chief Allison" at Allison Marketing Group
Old Old Job: Brand-development manager for the Ford Thunderbird

Jamie Allison, 37, has seen both ends of the Internet boom-and-bust cycle — and lived to tell about it. First, he spent 10 years at Ford Motor Co., working on everything from business strategy to brand development. Then, in June 1997, he left Ford, moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, and founded Allison Marketing Group, a supplier of Internet-access tool kits. Later that year, after a key distributor withdrew support for the company, he returned to Ford. Today, he works out of Dearborn, Michigan, where he helps develop and promote wireless-telematics systems for Ford.

Old skills that still matter

"At a startup, resources are constantly at issue: You need big-time talent and state-of-the-art technology, and you learn to be smart about using those resources. But even at a big company, it pays to know how to allocate resources wisely."

Learning curve

"At a big company, you learn how to coordinate all aspects of a large-scale product or service. Today, I'm working at Ford in a more entrepreneurial capacity than I was before, so I'm learning to combine large-scale management with the excitement of working on a startup."

Teaching note

"I found that the opportunities at a large company were worth coming back for. At a small company, an entrepreneur can have a huge impact. But let's face it: The goal of every small company is to get big."

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