Summary: Weekly conversations with top executives and thought leaders at the intersection of business, technology, and innovation. Each episode of Technovation explores the technology trends that are transforming business, and the leaders driving digital change inside their organizations. Produced by Metis Strategy and hosted by firm President Peter High, Technovation (formerly the Forum on World Class IT) is the premier podcast for IT and technology professionals.
377: Last year, Equifax experienced one of the most devastating security breaches ever, which exposed the private information of 143 million individuals. In this interview, Bryson, who joined the firm after the breach, explains the company’s response and its goals to rebuild customer’s trust through security and compliance work, to build a sustainable future, and to constantly invest in new technologies. We also discuss Bryson’s take on blockchain and the cloud, how Equifax invests in artificial intelligence, his approach to obtaining the best talent, among other topics.
376: Ocado CTO Paul Clarke has guided the company to differentiate itself by focusing not on how fast they can innovate, but on how fast they can innovate their system for innovation. Paul discusses the broad and deep technology estate that has enabled Ocado’s online grocery business to operate with scale, sustainability, and profitability. Through a focused but balanced approach to innovation, the company has developed a unique end-to-end operating solution for online grocery retail that includes massive automated warehouses and an e-commerce, fulfillment, and logistics platform. In a strategy that resembles Amazon’s AWS, Ocado is now making its technology available to other retailers through the B2B-focused Ocado Solutions arm. We also discuss Ocado’s roadmap for a frictionless customer experience, the advantages of its business model, its culture of disruptive innovation, among other topics.
375: MIT's Max Tegmark, author of “Life 3.0" and co-founder of the Future of Life Organization, asserts that the most important conversation in the world is the one about humanity's future with artificial intelligence. Technology is a neutral force, and it is our responsibility to manage it wisely and steer it towards a beneficial future. As our technology becomes more powerful, so too do the positive and negative consequences. Max notes that we need to decide what type of future we want to have with AI so that its impact on society is beneficial, rather than harmful. We also discuss how governments, academia, and companies can help create a better future with AI, the comparisons between prior science advancements and today’s intelligence advancements, how Max became interested in AI, among other topics.
374: Equinix CIO Milind Wagle stresses the importance of creating a positive customer experience. Equinix's core value is to put the customer at the center of everything that they do, and the company has laid out a recipe for customer focus and success consisting of five major components. These components are treating their customers like assets, looking at the entire life cycle of customers, building a customer listening system to receive feedback, using a prioritization system to interpret that feedback, and delivering that feedback to the entire organization. We also discuss how Equinix’s annual revenue grew from $1 billion to $5 billion over an eight year period, the importance of culture in a digital transformation, and Milind’s view on artificial intelligence and machine learning.
373: Travelport CIO Matt Minetola asserts that as a CIO of a technology company, a critical part of his job is to bring in technology that allows Travelport to distinguish itself, rather than simply managing technology. He cites that if you are the leader of a technology company in today’s world, it is your responsibility to change how the organization builds and develops products. To do this, Matt is focused on constantly identifying key technology enablers to help Travelport set itself apart. We also discuss the value of the cloud, the importance of quickly digesting and managing data, Travelport’s focus on the customer experience, and a variety of other topics.
372: Bain Capital Ventures Managing Director Matt Harris analyzes how the FinTech competitive landscape has dramatically shifted over his career, from the domination of large financial institutions, which grew ever larger through mergers and acquisitions to the emergence of startups. We also discuss Matt’s interest in real estate tech and InsurTech, his views on Bitcoin and blockchain, what he looks for when making investing decisions, among other topics.
371: General Stanley McChrystal explores a variety of different genres of leaders, including geniuses, founders, politicians, reformers, heroes, and zealots. While he asserts that a group’s performance is less about the leader’s ability and more about the surrounding factors, General McChrystal claims that the best leaders are those who are empathetic to the group’s position at a given time and are able to constantly adapt. Throughout our conversation, we also discuss General McChrystal’s evolving opinions on Robert E. Lee, his experience with his nemesis in Al Qaeda Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and why he dedicated his book to John McCain and John Lewis. General McChrystal is a retired four-star general of the US Army and the author of multiple books, including his most recent one, Leaders: Myth and Reality. Following a 34-year career in the United States Army, General McChrystal founded the McChrystal Group, an advisory services firm that specializes in leadership consulting.
370: John Chambers, the former CEO of Cisco, reflects on his 25 years at Cisco, from his greatest professional regret, to the key factors behind Cisco’s massively successful acquisition strategy, to the critical importance of culture. We also discussed his work with the leaders of France and India to digitize their countries, what he looks for when evaluating companies to invest in, insights from his new book, Connecting The Dots: Lessons For Leadership In A Startup World, among other topics. John is the Chairman Emeritus and former CEO Cisco Systems. During his 25+ years at Cisco, John drove explosive growth in the company from $70 million in revenue when he joined, to $47 billion when he stepped down as CEO. John is currently the founder and CEO of JC2 Ventures, where he helps disruptive startups from around the world build and scale.
Intuit’s incoming CEO Sasan Goodarzi stresses the importance of a strong culture and why it is critical to deliver to your customers quickly. Since its founding in 1983, it has been Intuit’s goal to innovate, empower its employees, and remove obstacles so that they can best serve customers. Intuit was recently recognized as the thirteenth best place to work by Fortune Magazine, which Sasan credits to the employees’ willingness to do anything to help others achieve greatness for customers. We also discuss Sasan’s view on artificial intelligence, why the CIO role was his favorite, and how Sasan’s career ambitions have changed over time. In January, Sasan will become `CEO of Intuit, the $6 billion business and financial software company known for products such as TurboTax, Quickbooks, and Mint. Prior to being named CEO, Sasan has held a variety of leadership roles during his 14 years with Intuit, including CIO. In preparation for the CEO role, Sasan has rolled out a one hundred day onboarding plan, and he has gone on an extensive listening tour focused on how Intuit can create a stronger culture, deliver better for its customers, and develop more opportunities for the company.
Schneider National CIO Shaleen Devgun asserts that in the age of instant gratification, every company must be a technology company regardless of industry. Even as a trucking company, Shaleen highlights how Schneider’s ability to present timely information is crucial for their success, and how every aspect of Schneider’s value chain is impacted by technology. We also discuss how great competitors can make great customers, how they leverage technology to optimize load assignments from 373 trillion combinations, and the relationship between the CIO and VC communities. Shaleen is the Chief Information Officer of Schneider National, a premier transportation and logistics provider with revenues exceeding $4 billion. Along with traditional CIO responsibilities, Shaleen has accountability for the companies business transformation, logistics engineering, and corporate venturing efforts. Shaleen was recently the recipient of the Forbes CIO Innovation Award, which highlighted the company’s in-cab telematics toolset.
367: Honest Tea co-founder Seth Goldman discusses the origins and growth of Honest Tea, how they overcame the company’s 2003 bottling crisis, and the unique equity structure that put them in a position of strength when they sold to Coca-Cola. We also discuss Seth’s board membership with Beyond Meat and Bethesda Green.
366: Red Hat CIO MIke Kelly discusses the companies strategic priorities and mission to become the default choice for next-generation IT, which culminated in the massive IBM deal that could reshape the cloud landscape. We also discussed how IT differentiates itself within a technology organization, how the company’s Red Hat on Red Hat approach enables IT to be the first and best customer of their products, and how Red Hat engages with the CIO community to learn from their different experiences.
365: Lenovo CIO Art Hu asserts that as digital disruption accelerates, CIOs must lead the way in showing the organization how technology can be embedded into the business, and how technology can create new opportunity for companies and their customers. He also discusses Lenovo's IT roadmap, the commonalities and differences between working in the US and China, the three intersecting elements of a business transformation, among other topics.
364: Shafiq Khan, a former SVP at Marriott International, spent decades launching pioneering digital transformation initiatives in the travel and hospitality industry. At Marriott, Shafiq was responsible for leading all distribution channels, which generate $30 billion in annual sales. Now, as President and Founding Partner of Teach the World Foundation, Shafiq is focused on using digital technology to democratize education and address the global challenge of illiteracy.
Ex-Google China head Kai-Fu Lee discusses his new book, “AI Superpowers," in which he highlights the stunning, government-supported progress China’s technology sector has made in recent years. He goes on to argue that China is well positioned to surpass the US in AI prowess, and the reasons for that country’s gains. They also discuss the risk of job displacement, why US companies struggle to break into the Chinese market, and why the reverse is also true, what Sinovation Ventures looks for when identifying new opportunities, and a variety of other topics.