What are the top 3 priorities in your role?
1 - Iterate quickly and effectively with the product development;
2 - Design and deliver a system that is self-healing, as our business model depends on minimizing the level of support and maintenance;
3 - Identify ways in which technology can have social impact and reduce everyday stress;
Which previous role had the biggest impact on your career?
This would be my first role when I was 18. We developed a GPS track sharing platform with a team of only three people. It was a big success with more than 500.000km of tracks uploaded. It made me feel that you can help people’s lives and create experiences with the help of technology without much resources.Write here…
How do you see the role of the Technology Leader changing?
With more and more companies becoming data companies and with artificial intelligence being a prerequisite for many business models, I think the role of the CTO / CIO will be more much involved in strategic decisions and business development type of work.
What are the 3 most important issues confronting the technology industry?
1 - The main issue is understanding how societies will function when technology will take over most jobs from people. This has implications is areas like universal income, mental health, robot propaganda, and so many others;
2 - In many markets, all the wealth and knowledge is concentrated around one or two companies. Unless there is some attempt to break these monopolies, it will be hard for newcomers to compete;
3 - Ultra-specialization of the workforce into a certain technology or market is impeding creativity;
What 3 technology trends are you most excited about and why?
1 - Using Technology for Social Impact – There are so many exciting opportunities to use technology to improve people’s lives. There is not always a big market, or funding, or opportunities to exit, but the satisfaction derived out of these projects can be immense nevertheless.
2 - I think a decent society requires everyone to pay their fair share, and Block Chain Technology could completely revolutionise contracts and tax, and therefore help us achieve that.
3 - Tim Berners-Lee’s Semantic Web Stack has “Trust” as the top layer. However, this never got around to be implemented, but with more and more people being manipulated by what they read online we probably need this more than ever.
What product or company is having the biggest impact?
Amazon Web Services! The wide range of services they have is extremely helpful for startups, helping us cut our operational cost dramatically, while focusing on our core business.
What mobile app do you use every day?
Economist Espresso – Nice to get a quick update on the news without the usual drama associated to it.
What 3 skills should an aspiring Technology Leader look to develop?
1 - A good understanding of many disciplines outside technology (Marketing, Finance, Leadership, basically anything helps). Complex problems have the solutions in between disciplines most of the times, so just being good at tech is not enough.
2 - Leadership skills for engineers. We are an odd bunch, and our motivations are extremely varied. Working with smart and extremely opinionated people is challenging, yet very rewarding.
3 - Read and understand things fast! Technology evolves so fast that unless you enjoy learning new things it’s impossible to keep up the pace and stay sane. Also, it’s important to be able to discern the marketing layer from the facts.
Where do you look for trusted technology information & inspiration?
I tend to prefer to read about technology directly from source, and this means following people on Twitter in most scenarios. The journalism layer usually dilutes things.
What books should someone looking to get on in their technology career read?
Any books really. Reading a lot is a brilliant way to help your brain draw connections and identify problems that needs solving. If I’m forced to recommend something I would go with What Technology Wants – Kevin Kelly.