Digital—that vast ocean of 0s and 1s that surrounds us all—has ushered in a new world of commerce. It’s a sandbox for innovation, with access to a world of game-changing technology, that is forging a new generation of digital leaders who have stepped up to shape the future of business. They are change agents. Innovators. Visionaries. And the status quo simply isn’t enough. On Decoding Digital, hear from inspirational thought leaders who share professional and personal stories about navigating the digital world—with lessons and best practices to help you drive transformational change.
Decoding Diverse Networks: Joe Lonsdale on Building an Enduring Team
How did our guest Joe Lonsdale go from high school chess champion to super successful VC? His diverse network and a wide variety of interests to start. Joe has been a part of founding more than a dozen mission-driven companies, including Palantir, Addepar, OpenGov, Affinity, Epirus, Resilience Bio, and 8VC. In today’s episode, Joe talks about how he’s been able to build such strong teams over the years and why even in a remote world, human connection is key to building a strong foundation.
Press play to hear Joe’s thoughts on…
Developing a Company Culture
“You have to have a really clear vision of where the company's going. You have to have really clear values that people share and they talk about, that they put down together. And a good way to talk about values is to talk about scenarios, things that could come up and how you deal with them.”
Hiring Great Engineers
“Elon Musk says, ‘Cost of cost is much less than the cost of time.’ So great engineers figure out how to like manage the scarcity of time and to get things done very quickly as well, to attract others and to know how to measure other talents and use other talents and inspire other talents”
Bring in the Adults
“When you're building these companies, you want the highest IQ, brightest, hardest work, working innovators early on to kinda iterate toward prototypes and customers, fresh product market fit and really get there. And then once things are working a certain way, you still wanna have the innovative part of the business and you wanna nurture it, but you also wanna bring in adults who know how to run processes.”
Decoding Business Endurance: Overcoming Challenges with Transformation
In the season finale, Daniel Saks is joined by Renee Bergeron, General Manager of AppSmart to reflect on Decoding Digital season one. They discuss key insights and lessons learned from some of the great tech minds, business leaders and digital transformation experts featured in the season. Listen to hear Daniel’s take on why endurance is vital to survival, how to effectively drive digital transformation, and what really makes a digital hero.
Press play to hear Daniel Saks’ thoughts on…
The Problem with Complexity
“Steve Jobs said ‘simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.’ Especially in B2B business and digital enterprises today, it's so easy to add scope creep and to talk about all the features and the underlying capabilities and to drive a lot of complexity, not only into your marketing message, but into the way you operate. It's super, super difficult to break things down and make them simple and intuitive.”
“It takes a long time to build trust, but only seconds to degrade that trust. In the digital world, building trust is much more difficult, because you don't necessarily always have the human-to-human interaction and experience… having faces, and names, and experiences behind your brand is super powerful.”
Living Your Values
“Instead of just being words on a wall, the values can become the way that you hire, the way that you promote, the reason why you let people go... Integrating your values into the fabric of who you are is going to ultimately differentiate values-based cultures from those who aren't and enable you to endure and scale seamlessly in this digital economy.”
Decoding Digital Heroes: Cultivating the People that Drive Innovation
If one thing is clear about digital transformation, it’s that people power drives it. But how do you inspire, empower, and cultivate these key changemakers?
Authors of “The Transformation Myth: Leading Your Organization Through Uncertain Times”, Dr. Gerald Kane, Boston College Professor, and Rich Nanda, US Monitor Practice Leader, Deloitte Consulting, join this episode to share their insights. Listen to hear their thoughts on what leadership and culture characteristics enable digital heroes to thrive and how to start a transformational flywheel.
Press play to hear their thoughts on…
The Advantages of Legacy Companies
“I think traditional legacy companies have several inherent advantages. They have scale, they have supply side advantages locked in. They have long-term customer relationships to build upon. They have IP that's been developed over years. But the key is that the shelf life of those ideas isn't as long as they used to be in a world that changes so often.”
The Near-Term Future
"The next three to five years are going to be among the most exciting and disruptive periods in our lifetimes. Companies who have learned to innovate and are rethinking the workplace are going to unleash new competitive capabilities. We ain't seen nothing yet, to quote the phrase."
The Importance of Vision
"It's a myth that technology is some kind of silver bullet. People think that, buying fancy technology, partnering with the cool tech companies, all of a sudden change is going to happen. But one of that's possible without the right purpose and vision."
Decoding Enterprise Transformation: Jennifer Byrne on Trust in Transformation
Digital transformation looks different for every business. Sometimes that transformation happens on a personal level, as well as professional. Former Microsoft CTO and Principal Owner of Digital Future Consulting, Jennifer Byrne, joined this episode to share how Microsoft navigated a tough period by being more transparent and how digital heroes at all levels play a key part in digital transformation success.
Press play to hear Jennifer’s thoughts on…
Finding the Digital Heroes in Your Organization
“The true heroes in my mind... are the folks who did the quiet work of ushering that transformation through a company. ... [S]omebody has to hold the hands of a lot of people who are trying to learn a new skill who are going to be adversely affected by this. They get no credit. They're the note takers in the meetings, but they're the people who are the lifeblood of transformation, in my opinion.”
Creating a Culture of Learning
“When there's a culture of learning, and where companies do it well, is where executives take that to heart. ... There is no shortcut. You have to do it also because your employees will watch. You've got to be in the boat with your people.”
The Future of Work
"It behooves you to think about the technology that's already encroaching in your space. Think about the job that you do today. If you go to work every day and you know exactly what your day's going to look like, you have a fairly automated, repeatable set of processes that you do. And that's actually more likely to be automated than somebody who goes to work saying ‘I have no idea how this is going to go.’"
Decoding Product-Led Growth with Mark Suster
Should start-ups target consumer or enterprise markets first? Former entrepreneur turned investor and Managing Partner of Upfront Ventures, Mark Suster, joins this episode to give his guidance to entrepreneurs looking for investment and growth. He discusses how to engineer product-led growth for your market, how to secure investment, and the dos and don’ts for start-up entrepreneurs.
Press play to hear Mark’s thoughts on…
Understanding Product-Market Fit
“I would rather you have no influencers. I would rather you have no hype. I would rather you raise less capital and obsess with what is the product feature that's really going to resonate with a group of people, like the raison d’etre. What is it that they're waking up every day to use your product, to do and why your product and not other stuff?”
The Value of Sales and Marketing
“At the end of the day, sales and marketing really matter. And it turns out that people buy products for reasons other than, this is the absolute best product in the market. They buy products for the perception that this is going to help them improve.”
Committing to Being an Entrepreneur
“We're looking for people who want to go on a 10- or 12-year journey with us. We're not looking for people to go on a two-year journey. So you've got to want to do this. This is your career. This is your livelihood, your life, and your mission. And if you're successful at it, you're going to be hugely financially and emotionally rewarded for doing it.”
Decoding Vertical Ecosystems: Josh McCarter on Disrupting the Wellness Industry
Tech hasn’t just disrupted the wellness industry – it’s revolutionized it. Long before the global pandemic forced health and fitness businesses to pivot to virtual experiences, Mindbody was a key player in enabling wellness organizations to thrive through tech. Mindbody CEO and founder of Booker Software, Josh McCarter, has more than a decade’s experience at the forefront of digitally transforming the wellness industry. He joins this episode to share how the vertical ecosystem connects the world to wellness.
Press play to hear Josh’s thoughts on…
The Necessity of APIs
“You kind of hope that if you build it, they will come. And that's really where you start out in the early days, but without having the APIs and having that ability, nobody's ever going to come, right? Nobody wants to partner with somebody that has a closed ecosystem and is really difficult to interface with.”
Going Beyond APIs
"So it really requires an end-to-end thinking, it's not just, 'hey, we're going to go develop and publish APIs that everybody's going to write to, and that's going to be the end of it.' There's always some component of partner management and technical integration work that's going to be there."
Satisfying User Expectations
"What we see, especially in the SMB segment is that most of these customers look almost like consumer users, right? Like they want it to be as simple as using an iPhone or using their iPad. And so we have to adapt our technology to where the current users are."
Top notch content
Stellar lineup and current, relevant content. Valuable and refreshing!
Great content. Can’t wait to hear more.
So much value!
Really worthwhile podcast with tons of information and actually FUN to listen to. Five stars the whole way.