Table XI CEO Mark Rickmeier Believes in Power of Failure, Values Learning Through Playing Games, Lives by ‘Busy Is the New Stupid’

August 1, 2019

Mark Rickmeier believes it’s better to fail at something extremely difficult than ace something that isn’t challenging. That mindset led him to be the CEO of Table XI, a UX research, design, and software development company based in Chicago. Table XI has helped clients such as Tyson Foods, AccuWeather, Northwestern University, Jimmy Dean, the YMCA and the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Mark has only been at the helm of Table XI since October 2016, but he’s called the tech world home for nearly two decades. Over the last 18 years, he’s created more than 100 mobile apps, custom-built web applications and intuitive user experiences. In 2014, he founded the Operations Conference to bring together a global community of software companies, and in 2017, he co-founded the “Walkshop,” a multi-day hiking and design-thinking experience for leaders, executives and entrepreneurs to get offline and build new connections across the industry.

Tune in as Mark discusses his trips around the globe, learning through playing games and why he lives by the motto “busy is the new stupid.”

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:51 — Extreme geological events are as old as time 

1:58 — Mark calls the tech world home 

3:15 — “Maybe the most adorable thing that’s ever happened to me” — Mark honored to be the judge of his town’s Fourth of July parade 

5:48 — Stuck in Europe…and very pregnant  

8:10 — Teaching the class — but still just a student 

9:31 — Comfortable all over the world 

11:01 — “I still don’t know what I want to do!” 

12:05 — “There is straight-up nothing to do in Drumnadrochit” — the story of Mark’s “pilgrimage” to a small village in Scotland 

15:00 — “I don’t think I’ve ever hated something more” — Mark wasn’t a fan of his first job 

18:12 — Mark says you can learn a lot from playing games — and he uses Blinky, a ghost from PAC-MAN, as a daily reminder

21:23 — Table XI helps clients identify the right problems to solve, then builds custom digital solutions to solve them 

26:51 — “Busy is the new stupid” — Mark takes a page out of Warren Buffet’s book 

31:18 — The “Walkshop” is all about unplugging, learning and connecting with other human beings

36:40 — Better to fail at something extremely difficult than ace something that isn’t challenging 

43:30 — Mark strives to experience as much as he can and learn from it, a trait he gets from his mother 

48:49 — Just because you have the letters “CEO” tied to you doesn’t mean you have all the answers — and that’s OK 

53:31 — Table XI’s future will focus on helping clients build the right digital solutions

58:00 — Want more Table XI/Mark? Head to, listen to their “Tech Done Right” podcast and check out their new card game called “Inclusion Meeting Cards


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