This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with David Lloyd.
David was CTO/CIO with Dexit Inc, brought on to transform the current solution from proprietary technologies while making it available as a set of open services. Prior to Dexit, David worked with Carlson Marketing Group (CMG), as Senior Director, Technology Services in the US where he was responsible for overall technology strategy for the services and product assets that enable their many client gift card, loyalty and channel solutions. Mr. Lloyd joined CMG in 2001, after the successful acquisition of SalesDriver where he was VP Technology, leading this organization's development and support of their SaaS based solution that supported thousands of client programs in a single configurable white-label solution model.
Mr. Lloyd has worked for top five consultancies as well as other start-ups in the area of online technology and strategy. His earlier studies were focused in computer science before completing his MBA from Queens.
The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
|:00:26:|| ||What drives your passion outside of work?|
"....Like many of us it's very hard to fit in everything in your life and I really break my time between the business where I'm just emotionally invested all the time and my family....."
|:01:29:|| ||What makes you an unconventional CEO?|
"....As an ex-CTO and having been in that position in many different companies before that (both startup and more mature), I come into the role from a technologist's point of view into an organization that frankly wasn't (I'm not a sales leader from that standpoint). From my perspective that's actually given me a great opportunity to understand the business and the value proposition from a very different point of view..."
|:02:11:|| ||What are the top unforeseen business challenges?|
"....The top ones that come to mind immediately are in early stage companies — the solution adoption phase and driving that value proposition can be very difficult....We also see a lot happening around new competitors in the market....Innovation is so important within technology and that means that there are a lot of innovative companies coming onto the market all the time, so it's the ability to adapt to those types of business challenges....The other thing we see even from a sales decision is actually helping businesses move from a no decision into a positive decision. It's so easy for an organization or an individual within it to stick to the status quo, not rock the boat and not look for the innovative solutions ...."
|:04:22:|| ||How do you build successful teams and execute?|
"....It's chemistry. At the end of the day it's somewhat difficult to actually systematize.....The other thing that's exceptionally important is diversity in the executive group and overall in the organization as a whole....It's when you have individuals with very different experiences, very different perspectives that you're really able to take an idea and let the group actually look at that idea and expand on it...."
|:05:35:|| ||How can businesses leverage Mobile, Social Media and Analytics?|
"....We could throw Big Data (which is the other buzz), on top of all of that....From our standpoint when we look at mobile, social media and analytics it's the convergence of all those things. We think of them as very separate ideas and topics, but in actual fact, especially with the way that the technology is moving, in the mobile environment social media and analytics just become pieces (as well as the web environment), of someone who's in a mobile state....The key is how do you bring all those pieces together under that mobile environment...."
|:07:43:|| ||What are your top career successes and lessons learned that are useful to the audience?|
"....Surrounding yourself with people that are different than you, especially in senior roles who fundamentally are much brighter than you in their key areas of expertise is critical....I think the other thing from a CEO's role that I learned (and I learned this actually watching a few other CEOs in my past), was you need to be very focused on the business and not really dependent on the paycheck as a CEO. That may sound a bit interesting, but what I found is that when you're really focused and you're not worried about where the next dollar is coming from, either personally or corporately, you make much better more succinct business decisions...."
|:09:43:|| ||Can you describe your journey leading to your current role?|
"....I think I've been building my career for the last ten years towards this goal, and this became the opportunity for me to fundamentally cut my teeth as a CEO and show whether or not I could be successful, not only running major parts of an organization, but taking over the entire organization as it relates to the leadership and the vision for the company moving forward. It's been a very interesting ride for the last five years, one that I've absolutely embraced, but I can tell you it's different than any other experience I've had in my career in the past 25 years and one that I look forward to continuing in...."
|:11:34:|| ||What do you wish to accomplish in the next three years?|
"....Our big opportunity I believe is going to be on the growth side. If you look at the statistics around virtual agents and virtual assistance, what you see is a substantial doubling of the market size and opportunity over the next four years. We also play a very critical role in the whole knowledge component of an organization as well, so we see ourselves as a combination of a way of taking knowledge from an organization with the overlay of virtual agents and delivering that back to a consumer from a self-service perspective...."
|:13:37:|| ||What surprises you?|
"....What's amazing to me is what actually captures the imagination of a perspective customer. It's not always actually the things you think are going to engage or entice the potential customer, it's quite surprising sometimes the different ways they look at what they are being presented....It's amazing to see how people come together and make something and improve on it. It does go back to one of the things I remember from business school. You can have a really smart person in the room, but if you have five really smart people in the room they are always going to out-perform the single smartest individual....The other thing I think is quite interesting that surprises me is the concept of willful blindness....What surprises me is that we have this information to help engage our customers and make experiences better and it amazed me just how little we actually take advantage of that data and information...."
|:17:15:|| ||What will you do next?|
"....From a business perspective if we look at what the opportunities are for us, it's continuing to drive the transformation of the information and data we receive from a consumer in a way that someone can quickly look at it, visualize it and understand what the intent of the customer is, what product and services they may want to build around that intent for the future and how they can monetize that engagement or conversation with a customer....We also see the cognitive computing side which we've been very successful with especially around the learning component, as well as machine learning as a further area we are constantly exploring...."
|:19:07:|| ||What are the top upcoming disruptive innovations and investment challenges?|
"....From my perspective I think we've seen a couple of these in the last few years with things such as Siri. I wouldn't specifically look at it as disruptive in the negative sense, it's actually disruptive in a positive sense because what Siri did (even though Siri suffers on a number of challenges), is capture the imagination of the end consumer....I think we are going to go through another significant wave over the next two to three years in how cognitive computing is being applied to that process. One of the things that we really focused on is how do we take our solution and have it learn rapidly from the different interactions that basically the virtual agent is having with an end consumer, so that it learns more about what the consumer wants, how to answer the consumer appropriately and things like that nature. I think you're going to see a rapid increase in the ability for machine learning to really be highly effective...."
|:22:24:|| ||What are the top areas of controversy in the areas that you work and your proposed solutions?|
"....I'm not sure it's specifically about controversy itself, I think it's a mind shift of what consumers expect so I think we're going to see a substantial change there in how customers engage. I think if there's controversy it's more about moving expectations...."
|:24:26:|| ||From your extensive speaking, travels, and work, please share some stories (amusing, surprising, unexpected, amazing).|
"....In the last six months now I've been on a lot of planes because I do a fair amount of travelling, especially in North America. In the last few months I've been on the plane three times with the same band, so for a Canadian context, the Barenaked Ladies. I almost feel like I'm almost a groupie that must be following them around to their particular points or in actual fact my schedule is just really well timed with all their concerts...."
|:25:40:|| ||If you were conducting this interview, what questions would you ask, and then what would be your answers?|
"....'Who in the end is going to win or lose in our competitive space and why - what's going to make the biggest difference?'....'How difficult is it to get started in these kinds of technology solutions?'...."
|:29:37:|| ||David, with your demanding schedule, we are indeed fortunate to have you come in to do this interview. Thank you for sharing your deep experiences with our audience.|