Welcome to "The Spotlight Series – Don’t Just Survive, Thrive”. Season 1 was launched to help people through the pandemic by talking to a variety of experts about topics such as psychology, finance and health. Season 2 focused on more work related issues including HR, marketing and leadership. Now it is time for Season 3! Season 3 is centred on the IT industry, specifically tech startups. There are also Career Spotlights from senior IT people revealing the secrets to their impressive career trajectories.Your host is Nicola Steel, founder of JJP Talent Solutions, an Australian IT recruitment company. For over 20 years, she has helped tech startups and innovative SMEs to attract, recruit and retain technical talent.
Gopal Erinjippurath, CTO and Head of Product at Sust Global, a Climate Intelligence SaaS company
How can data and geospatial analytics help us understand climate change and climate adaption? Gopal Erinjippurath is CTO and Head of Product at Sust Global, a Climate Intelligence SaaS company based in San Francisco.
Gopal has an impressive background. He moved from India to the US to study electrical engineering to then work in a research lab, studying a PhD and working as a research scientist. He believes that this background in academia and research has helped build his foundations and passion for enabling widespread use of the application of fundamental research to commercialise products.
For example, Gopal drove the research, development, and technical delivery of an imaging IP portfolio for Dolby Vision which was licensed to tier-1 media players including Sony and Apple.
Prior to founding Sust Global, he was Senior Director of Analytics Engineering at Planet where he built and scaled 4 diverse Agile engineering teams. Gopal’s advice for building high performing teams includes:
• Focus on diversity
• Respect each other
• Have a unified mission & purpose
Gopal finishes our conversation by explaining that he would tell his 15 year old self to stay hungry for more information and knowledge. Basically, maintain your curiosity!
Career highlights and building high performing teams in early stage tech startups with Rav Raniga, Elara.AI
What would you say is the secret to your success? Which of the following resonates most with you:
⭐ Being in the right place at the right time
⭐ Knowing when to quit and when to quit early
⭐ Being willing to take risks in decision making
Rav Raniga, Partner Lead at tech startup ELARA, believes all of the above are the secrets to his success.
After a brief break from podcast recording, I was thrilled to speak to Rav who has extensive expertise in Mathematics and algorithmic software solutions. I find it fascinating how he has the ability to deconstruct complex problems and create elegant solutions using customer-centric design. Rav is also just a fantastic and humble person so it is always a delight to speak to him!
Rav tells the story of his father’s upbringing in Fiji and how his determination and work ethic led him to a career in pharmacy and then a pivot to law! The family moved to Australia and Rav says that he had a privileged life which allowed him to follow his interests in arts, sciences, mathematics and the science of decision making.
We talk about his role at Elara.AI, a well-funded early-stage tech startup which has a totally unique proposition. It is a programmable AI platform which is bridging the gap between business and technology by improving the developer experience and providing business with the best insights so it can make intelligent decisions.
Rav and I discuss his predictions about AI, Machine Learning and data optimisation. Rav talks about the highlights of his career including the opportunity to travel, meet different types of people and making an impact. We talk about the problems of communicating with both technical people and the business to provide the best solution.
Rav is helping build a highly talented team at Elara. The characteristics he looks for in new team members are:
⭐ Passion for problem solving
⭐ Customer first
I ask Rav what his advice is for attracting and retaining high performance tech teams. He starts by saying use a really good recruiter who takes the time to understand the business (I didn’t pay him to say this, I promise!). He also says that paying a competitive salary should be a given as well as the opportunity to work on exciting tasks with clear end goals.
Jonathan Girroir, Technical Evangelist at Tech Soft 3D
Jonathan Girroir is Technical Evangelist at Tech Soft 3D, a company which provides 3D software development toolkits that power world class engineering applications. Jonathan has 25 years experience in the software development industry and has a passion for building the next generation of 3D software.
Jonathan talks about Tech Soft 3D’s main software – HOOPS – 3D software development toolkits (SDKs) which power world-class engineering applications. HOOPS is an anagram for Hierarchy of Object-Oriented Picture System. We talk about how HOOPS is enabling the AR industry and his advice for handling massive data sets with web and mobile engineering applications.
Nicola Steel and Jonathan discuss Jonathan’s career highlights including being part of a startup after college, being a lecturer at Harvard University, travelling the world and taking a major investment in Tech Soft 3D. They also talk about his main challenges which include living in a small US city and overcoming the 2008/2009 Global Financial Crisis.
Jonathan believes that the crucial characteristics of high performers are:
⭐A desire and hunger to make a difference
⭐Ability to learn and be teachable
Jonathan’s values are integrity, hard work and kindness. His company values are be agile and responsive, have fun, build positive relationships, pursue excellence!
Colin Goudie and Charles Connell, Co-Founders of Userlot and Social Pinpoint - why should be friends with your competitors...
In this first episode of Season 4, Nicola Steel talks to Colin Goudie and Charles Connell. Colin is a serial co-founder of various tech startups including Userlot - Customer Success Management, Social Pinpoint and Dogeared. Charles is the other Co-Founder of Userlot - Customer Success Management and was also a Co-Founder at Social Pinpoint.
They begin by talking about their backgrounds and purpose behind Userlot and Social Pinpoint as well as their core values which are be customer driven and get stuff done!
Nicola asks what advice they would give to startups when they are being acquired based on Colin and Charles’ experience of the acquisition of Social Pinpoint by MySite Group. Their advice is to be friends with your competitors - listen to learn why this makes sense. They also believe that the secret to building high performing tech teams is to create a really good network and have your team fully understand what customer success is.
And finally, I asked what advice would they give their 21 year old selves:
⭐ “You got to love what you do and stick with it” – Colin
⭐ “Work hard, take risks, enjoy the ride!” - Charles
"The Spotlight Series - Don't just survive, thrive" Highlights of 2021
That’s a wrap for Season 3 of “The Spotlight Series – Don’t Just Survive, Thrive” podcast for 2021. Here are podcast mashup highlights from this year talking to startup founders and senior tech leaders.
⭐Maree Beare, Founder of Wanngi (and more recently Clinials) talking about disrupting health tech and her purpose behind Wanngi (0:33- 2:58)
⭐Tony Ryan, Education Futurist, talking about the future of work and if there is a 50% chance that we live in a computer simulation (3:02-5:12)
⭐Stewart Marshall discussing how SaaS companies can scale and grow (5:15- 7:15)
⭐🦜 Jeff Jaraved and Taryn Syratt, Founders of CAAsie, talking about how they are revolutionising billboard advertising and their purpose behind CAASie (7:18- 10:13)
⭐Rosie Attwell discussing how she went from a degree in Art to a career in AI (10:16- 12:20)
⭐Mike Seidle from Pivot CX providing advice to aspiring entrepreneurs about how to start up, persevere and succeed (12:23- 13:44)
⭐David Davies, Founder of AgUnity, talking how smartphone and blockchain technology helps smallholder farmers lift themselves out of poverty (13:47- 15:26)
⭐Ken Auer, Founder of Role Model Software, talking about the key characteristics of high performers (15:29- 18:36)
⭐Simon Keefe, former Atlassian tech leader, advising how to recruit and retain high performing teams (18:39- 21:18)
⭐Justin Falk, Founder of TalentVine, provides about hiring in a highly competitive market (21:20-24:46)
⭐Adam Amos, Founder of Robotic Systems, telling his story and how his company was ranked in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 (24:49- 26:19)
⭐Madhu Sundararajan & Abhinav Raje talking about their humble beginnings in India to successful IT careers in Australia and tips for migrants (26:22-28:04)
⭐Leanne Kemp ★★★ 康灵安, Founder of Everledger, about why she turned down an investment (29:07-30:56)
⭐Vijay Solanki🦄, Founder of Parental EQ, about being an older startup founder and how Parental EQ helps with children’s emotional health (30:59-34:16)
⭐🤖 Yaniv Bernstein Bernstein, former Head of Engineering at Google and Airtasker, talking about the highlights of his career (34:19- 36:58)
⭐Miriam van Heusden, Founder of Maralytics, and how her core values have driven her culture (37:01- 38:56)
⭐Eli Harrell, Founder of Valhalla.team, advising how to grow and nurture high performing remote teams (38:59- 42:01)
⭐Evan Cummack, CEO of Fin.com, providing advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and succeeding in Silicon Valley (42:04-43:55)
⭐Mary Callaghan, Senior Director of Product Management at Hitachi Energy, discussing what the key characteristics of high performing product teams (43:58- 45:13)
Mary Callaghan, Senior Director of Product Management at Hitachi Energy, discusses her career and the secrets to her success.
Mary Callaghan, Senior Director of Product Management at Hitachi Energy, talks about her career and the secrets to her success.
Mary was born in Dublin and was the youngest of 7 children! She visited Australia for a year of adventure and has been here ever since. One of the key highlights of her career was being awarded Global Product Manager of the year in 2019.
She believes that the secrets to her success are:
⭐ Having a strong foundation in her childhood and upbringing
⭐ Being true to her core values and treating people equally
⭐ Being respectful
⭐ Learning to keep her ego in check
⭐ Being open to change
Mary discusses her experience as a woman in technology and how it has changed over time. She talks about the comprehensive programme at Hitachi Energy including the female talent development program where female participants are assigned mentors for professional and personal development.
Mary’s team’s core values are:
Mary finished the podcast with this final advice for listeners:
⭐ “Every day is an opportunity to learn whether its technology, meeting new people, new habits.”
⭐ “This is the gig, it’s not a dry run or practice. This is it.”
⭐ “I believe that we are all responsible for our own happiness so keep it real.”
⭐ “Everybody has challenges but its how you deal with the challenges, that defines you.”
Nicola is a natural podcaster and knows how to bring the best out of her guests! Each episode is jam packed full of powerful insights! Love it ;)
Insightful and entertaining
Great podcast with really interesting speakers across a variety of fields.