• shane@countryexec.com
  • Seguin, Texas
Country IT: A New Mindset For Definitive Technology Success

Country IT: A New Mindset For Definitive Technology Success

Here’s something not everyone can lay claim too. I conceived a phrase, a way of being in a professional context. Yet another oddity in my professional existence. I am particularly proud of my creation as I believe it defines me and who I am as a professional incredibly well in just two simple words. That phrase is Country IT. That’s it. Simple right? I believe that to be part of the beauty of the phrase, it is purposefully simplistic but simultaneously possesses many layers underneath. But what in the world is Country IT? Let’s start with how all this came to be.  

The Country Executive Country IT

Country IT?

I exist in a world of conflicting ideology. I live in a rural area today, I’m originally from the country, yet I’ve managed to carve out a career in technology despite the two worlds existing in a traditionally contradictory fashion.

Sandwiched between my rural existence is twenty years living and working around the world. Most of that time was spent in Los Angeles, a few years of it was in the Silicon Valley, Dallas, DC, and outside of London. Per my experience innovation has conventionally been slow to reach rural areas. Historically urban areas have been the first to embrace evolving technology and said tech would eventually make it out to the more rural areas.

I do believe that narrative has been changing steadily through the years. When I returned home to rural Texas in 2018, I had this epiphany of sorts when we began implementing evolving tech in a smaller municipality. We were doing impressive work, but we were going about it in a way that surprised me.  

Mr. Country IT


I first wrote of Country IT in an article published in the February 2020 edition of Gov CIO Outlook magazine titled “Implementing Enterprise Technology in Rural America.” I defined it as a results-driven approach to delivering technology solutions attained via the power of an individual’s spirit and often through nontraditional means. My exact words were “when a culture is established with no limitations the impossible can become possible through a Country IT approach, and it’s amazing what can be accomplished.” 

The genesis of that article was the amazing things my organization was committing to and successfully implementing on behalf of our citizens. One of the things I always say about my current organization is we punch above our weight class. That in itself is Country IT. Surpassing predisposed limitations is who we are and what we do here. We do it without the red tape, and without an enormous budget. It’s pure Texas. We do it our way.  

Hold My Beer

It wasn’t the fact that my organization began rolling out these previously unfamiliar high-tech solutions, every organization is committed to some version of this. Technology is ubiquitous in that sense, all companies large and small must roll with the punch’s so to speak respective of their organizational needs. It was how we went about achieving success for these high-tech initiatives.  

In Texas we have this saying, “hold my beer.” When someone says it, you know something potentially crazy is about to go down. Now please understand I am in no way relating drinking beer and implementing technology for my organization. What I am saying is much like the famous Texas phrase, the uncertainty resulting from whatever happens next is definitively Country IT. My organization does not possess a ton of resources to throw at a project, subsequently we have limited man hours to allocate to an implementation. Sometimes in my world you have to just roll with your gut. It does not mean you do things in an unprepared or unsafe manner, physically or virtually. It means you have to man up and pull the trigger maybe a little quicker than you like. No fear, no dilly dallying. Get out of your comfort zone. Make it happen. That’s Country IT.  

What Is Country IT?

Country IT is a mindset towards achieving success in technology via nontraditional methodologies. Like an aura in a sense. A professional mannerism. It’s everything and it’s nothing. I take a lot of pride in it for many reasons. I think there’s beauty in simplicity. On my social media handles I lay claim to being the proprietor and champion of Country IT.

But I digress, what in the world is Country IT? Country IT is simplified elegance in the technology profession. It is a way of conducting business, speaking to a philosophy defined by two words seemingly at odds with one another. Country IT means you’re getting after it professionally.

You Did What?

I submitted my vernacular creation to the urban dictionary recently as I believe it resonates at a high level. I hope it catches on; I’d like it to. There are a lot of talented IT professionals out there applying their trade in rural environments. Country IT does not have to be rural in nature though, the philosophy is applicable everywhere.  

You can be plying your technology trade for an enormous corporation in the middle of the largest city via Country IT. Doesn’t mean you’re doing something haphazardly, or in an unaesthetically pleasing way. It means you’re getting the job done without the full complement of resources that you really need. Truthfully that defines 95%+ of the IT professionals out there per my experience. There’s all kinds of sorcery that goes into making IT successful for businesses. I cannot even begin to explain it all. What I can say is maybe thank that IT staffer next time you see that person marching to resolve the next issue at hand. They very likely do a lot more for your organization than you realize.  

Absurdity & Trust

In a 2020 Toggle magazine interview, I stated that it takes a certain amount of absurdity to purposefully break technology that’s long worked reasonably well and commit to a complicated and costly upgrade. The willingness to do that, to throw caution to the wind is Country IT. To mean it when you say that you can deliver a better solution than what is currently in use. And believe you can do so under the constructs and parameters provided. Country IT is an attitude born of many years successfully solving organizational problems and needs. It’s moxie in the IT profession.

At the end of the day the definitive stamp to the question what in the world is Country IT is trust. Trust from your superiors that you can figure out a solution and deliver on the premise as stated. Trust to fund the effort based on the parameters you establish. The trust derived from believing in you to implement significant change for the better via new technology without negatively impacting the greater needs of the organization.  

Country IT – Trust

A few months back I wrote about believing in your ability to do more professionally. I wrote specifically about a large-scale radio effort my organization was pursuing at that time. Recently upon completing that two-year effort to upgrade an end-of-life radio infrastructure impacting the lives of approximately 160,000 citizens, I was asked to give a presentation to our city council as to the wide range impact of the effort. On the last slide of that presentation, I had a lot of people I wanted to thank. So many good people helped deliver a more reliable and up to date public safety radio communication platform to not just our city, but our entire region. It changed the game for my part of Texas by improving interoperability and communication between regional agencies. Communication saves lives in the world of public safety.  

I stood in front of council and my boss, the City Manager, that night and thanked them for their belief in staff to deliver a complicated and costly solution for the betterment of our community. By them approving the two million in funding required, in my mind they were implying that they trusted us to do what was right for the community and to do so to the best of our ability. I will never do wrong by people that place so much trust in me as a professional. You best believe we were going to knock it out of the park.


On December 2, 2020 my organization was awarded StateScoop magazine’s LocalSmart IT Innovation of the Year for that very project. That’s Country IT folks. Now hold my beer, we got more work to do out here in rural America. Until next time thank you reading, and please take care of yourselves and the ones you love.

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