Employee Highlight > Employee Highlight: Nathaniel Berry

Nathaniel Berry

Senior Appian Architect

What is the best book you have ever read?

My favorite book is The Count of Monte Cristo, written by the French author Alexandre Dumas in the mid-1800s. It’s an intricate story of revenge and redemption, with a good helping of philosophy thrown in. I think my favorite thing about it is that despite having very good reason to exact revenge on his enemies, the main character doesn’t ever act against them directly, or even explicitly take revenge for the wrong done specifically to him. Instead, he manipulates other elements of his enemies’ lives—other crimes they have committed—to come to their natural consequences. One almost gets the feeling that he would have let them off the hook if they had lived good lives after the wrong done him.

What, in your opinion, has been the most important innovation/invention you have witnessed in your lifetime?

Internet-enabled mobile devices. I was in college when this transition occurred, and it felt like the world changed overnight. Information became cheap and instantly accessible to everyone, everywhere. Combined with the omni-presence of communication, every person with a mobile phone suddenly became capable of so much more than they had been without. This applied equally to professional and personal situations, so the impact was fairly universal.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

Stick with it, you’ll get there. I went through a prolonged period of depression after grad school, and for a while I really wasn’t sure where my life was going. Added to that I had about 20 years of undiagnosed and untreated anxiety built up that I was dealing with. It was a really bad time. But no matter how dark things look, if you keep working at it little by little, you can get through almost anything. There’s always something brighter coming, if you can just keep working toward it.

What gets you out of bed each morning?

I love working with my team to solve problems. I work with a fantastic group of people, and the work we’re doing is critically important. We all have unique strengths, so the solutions we come up with can be unexpected, and almost always well balanced. I’m a problem solver at heart, as well as an extrovert, so the ability to draw on the strengths of my team in addition to my own feels incredible.

What is the first thing you would buy if you won the lottery?

I’d buy a ski house in Colorado. I grew up in Denver skiing all over the Rockies, so I LOVE skiing. I live on the East Coast now, and the skiing here is good, but nothing like out west. The snow is icier, the trails are narrower, and the mountains are less precipitous. I also still have family out there. I’d love to have a condo or house right on one of the mountains. Maybe Winter Park or Breckinridge? Something I could ski out of at the beginning of the day and into at the end. Oh, and with a hot tub. There’s nothing like a hot tub after a day of skiing!

Do you have a motto or personal mantra?

Not really a motto, but I think this qualifies. One of my first jobs out of college was at Bridgewater Associates, an investment management firm. There is probably one thing I took away from my experience there that’s more important than all the others. In any given situation, what you don’t know will likely far outweigh what you do know, and it’s very hard to know what you don’t know. As a result, you should listen carefully to the other people on your team. It doesn’t matter if you’re a CEO and someone else is an intern, they may still know something you don’t, or have an idea you missed. More broadly, everyone brings something to the table. If you want to be a good leader, rely on the value each person contributes, not just your own.

What is something you have always wanted to try?

I would really like to have a chance to go to space one day. Space tourism is still in its infancy, but I’m hoping that in the next 50 years it becomes affordable enough that I can give it a try. I would really like to experience weightlessness, and I’d like to have a chance to see the earth from space. I hear it’s a life-altering experience. It really feels like something worth doing.

Which of Synergy’s core values (Leadership, Excellence, Communication, Inclusivity) means the most to you and why?

All four values are critical, but I think Communication is probably the most important, based especially on recent events. I’ve found that little else I do matters if I’m unable to communicate effectively. Everything I do, from working with the client to mentoring other developers to coordinating the development process requires clear communication. It’s also the basis for effective teamwork, and a team can always accomplish more than an individual.