As a young high school student, Diaz Nesamoney was always tinkering with electronics and often ripped open anything that was battery operated to see how it worked.
At this time, computers were scarce at his high school, so he spent time holed up int the library, reading every possible book he could get his hands on about programming.
This passion led to a degree in software engineering, and eventually, founding three technology companies. These include Informatica, which was publicly traded in 1999, as well as Celequest, which was acquired by Cognos/BIM.
Currently, he’s the founder, president and CEO of Jivox, a technology platform for data-driven, personalized advertising and marketing.
Did we mention he also has seven tech patents and is an author, too? Luckily, Diaz set aside time to discuss his industry, his predictions for the future, and other leadership strategies:
What are the trends you see within your industry currently?
Digital marketing, as we know, it has changed drastically, especially in the last couple of months. Consumers demand personalization at all stages of the customer journey, and across all channels, they’re using — like social, mobile and digital.
To keep up with demand, maintain customer loyalty and beat the competition, brands must incorporate automation to deliver a custom message when the customer is ‘in-market’ for a specific product.
Many marketers are struggling to overcome the first step in adopting a fully automated, omnichannel approach. But when they do, they experience a significant increase in ROI, cost savings and, most importantly, customer satisfaction.
How would you describe your company culture?
As a three-time entrepreneur, I have always valued an influential culture over anything else. At Jivox, we have more than the classic happy hours and spontaneous lunches. We practice our culture every day through an open-door policy, teamwork, collaboration, candor and integrity.
When the pandemic first hit, my biggest fear was losing this sense of family as we all went remotely. I worried our staff would feel isolated, lonely or even depressed as the negative news piled up. We knew we had to keep the same culture atmosphere to come out of this as strong, if not stronger. We quickly implemented virtual open office hours with the executive team, virtual lunches and a virtual happy hour every Thursday across our six global offices. People from the U.K., U.S., and our India office tuned in at all hours of the day to learn more about each other, their families, hobbies and favorite cocktail.
Since implementing these strategies, our culture has become stronger as we continue to practice our core values from our own homes. We have gained an overwhelming sense of family working towards the same goal and supporting each other along the way.
What can a job applicant do to catch your attention? What stands out the most to you?
While we look for the right skills and experience in an applicant, they must be a good culture fit. As part of our interview process, we implement a culture fit section to ensure the applicant blends well with our current team members.
What’s the most challenging part of being a leader/manager? What’s the best part?
Being a leader creates a great sense of responsibility for the team and the company’s success, and that can sometimes weigh you down. The best part of being a leader is seeing people grow. I particularly have enjoyed hiring people right out of high school and seeing them develop over several years to become senior leaders in the company.
What’s your advice for tackling big projects at a company-wide level?
Communication of not just the what but the “why” is very crucial for success. It is very difficult to get people bought into a big new project unless you take the time to communicate not once but over and over again.
Getting the key stakeholders — both senior management and the folks you need to help you execute on board is critical, and this means sharing the vision and explaining in their terms why the success of the project means success for them.
How do you keep your staff motivated? How do you motivate yourself?
A team will stay motivated if you can paint a picture of how they can be part of building success. No one likes to be a bystander, and no one wants to push themselves if they can’t see success at the end of it.
I motivate myself by reminding myself about why I started the company and visualizing success every day. I set goals for myself and the company and work at beating them.
How do you find a balance between work and life demands?
It can be challenging to do so, especially in a young company. I try to engage myself in hobbies and other activities like cooking, wine collection, music, travel and yoga to relax. I also try to make time with my family, which again is not easy given the demands on my time, but creating rituals like dinner together and weekend activities ensure that I can keep things in balance.
What are some of the challenges you have faced as a POC in this industry?
I have not faced any significant challenges professionally as a POC, perhaps because of the tech industry and the prevalence of people of Asian origin in the industry. Outside of work, I have occasionally seen and experienced some bigotry or even just statements exhibiting ignorance about Indian culture. I chalk it up to the fact that many of us also have biases and fears that we exhibit and that it is also our responsibility to educate and enlighten others who do.