Today we are talking to Nitay Joffe, the Co-founder and CTO of ActionIQ. And we discuss activating the next generation of data, the binary nature of most decisions, and how making small incremental improvements over time is the key to long term success.
All of this, right here, right now, on the Modern CTO Podcast!
Nitay Joffe is the Co-Founder and CTO of ActionIQ, an enterprise customer data platform transforming the way companies leverage their customer data to provide highly personalized experiences.
Prior to ActionIQ, Nitay was an instrumental engineer in Facebook’s data infrastructure initiatives, and a core contributor to open source projects HBase and Giraph. With Facebook, Powerset, and Google on his resume, Nitay has applied his expertise to elevating the big data landscape for companies revolutionizing the space. Nitay co-founded ActionIQ to explore his passion for innovation in databases, distributed systems, and big data.
ActionIQ is an enterprise customer data platform (CDP). Unlike traditional CDPs, ActionIQ is engineered specifically to handle the data volume and scalability that marketers at large enterprises need, offering unparalleled speed to market, agility, and depth of data. ActionIQ’s unique, data-first approach helps brands such as Verizon, The New York Times and WW (Weight Watchers) drive as much value as possible from their own data by connecting their first-party customer data from internal systems, orchestrating cross-channel campaigns, and measuring incremental lift across all digital and offline channels.
- CTO role tends to change a lot ever 6 – 12 months it changes
- How are you spending your day? Biggest change happened a year ago – Hired a VP of Engineering. Came in to own and run and manage engineering. Take it to the next level.
- Was doing it because it had to be done. Now he’s shifted more to architect
- Sales evangelist – Product – Architect types of CTO
- We’re getting really really good at chewing glass
- One of the common first time founder mistakes is trying to horde everything. Share as much as you can. You need a lot of people change the world.
- Tasso Is the co-founder – Technical background as well.
- What’s your earliest memory of technology – Programming graphing calculators –
- Got a job at google. Had a great mentor in high school Robotics US First
- Originally from Israel and grew up in the bay area – then moved out to NY
- Started in the hardware of google – on the server side optimizing the server battery usage UPS – Have moved up higher and higher up the stack.
- Was at a startup that got acquired by Microsoft
- Then moved to Facebook – was on Ads side and then moved to data infrastructure
- Has had the opportunity to work on a lot of open source systems. Worked on HBase
- What is ActionIQ? Theme of his experiences where the data world is going. Theme 2 is although the tech is getting more impressive the actual reachability and access to it is limiting and how much it makes it to the business side.
- Started ActionIQ to improve on that problem. Building the next generation Data Platform for the business. Started in the marketing landscape.
- Now were in the next generation of data. How do you activate it? How do you enable your people to access and utilize the data to do a deep level personalization of your customers.
- Tend to work with medium to large companies. Companies include Verizon and NYTimes. Midsize retailers.
- Going through the Digital Transformation. Wants to act like a Netflix or Amazon with their own data. How do you stay relevant in this sort of age? Companies are able to be competitive because they have years and decades of first party data of their customers.
- They are a product oriented company. Many of them are consultancy based. That doesn’t scale because it doesn’t allow you to throw more people at the problem.
- Death Taxes and Data is messy. Need to solve that problem. Peel the layers away.
- Bringing in and establishing a better product and process for the company.
- Data evolution. Iconography – Here’s the 6000 companies in this landscape. Good luck picking one
- Always looking to be better. Moving in to a team lead position. What would you tell that person? 1 is Early on in people’s career you go about your decisions thinking everything is important and and can easily get in to micro management. Decisions are much more binary. The vast majority of decisions don’t matter that much when you think about them in the long term of things. You can more often than not delegate those decisions. There are a few decisions that really matter. Need to recognize which decisions you need to step in and which you need to delegate.
- The other learning he has had is a talk he has with every new person. When you go about a project. How long are you building it for? 1 of 3 timescales. 6 months, 2 years, 5+ years. We’re going to do this project to last “X” Setting the expectation of what you’re building this for.
- 36:36 For a startup it’s almost never correct to do something for 5 years. So then it brings you to do I build this for 2 years or 6 months? Usually the answer is 2 years
- Looking at ActionIQ has been around for 4 years. They systems have been rewritten once and now it’s being rewritten again and going on it’s 3rd iteration. Takes the right type of team and leadership
- What are you the most excited about today?
- A huge believer in team. Spends a lot of his own effort hiring the right people.
- It’s never boring. There’s always something fun and interesting going on.
- Advice – Perspective of thinking – The ability to think long term. Timeframe that you need to think at vs the timeframe your team needs to be thinking about
- One of the cool things is you see the achievements that google does or SpaceX does. And the reality is nobody actually says I’m going to the moon and then they go to the moon tomorrow. Make roof shots not moon shots. Making incremental small improvements that compound and add up greatly. Japanese term Kaizen. The art of incremental improvement.
- Our minds are wired linearly but things happen exponentially.
- More and more as he’s led teams. Technology endeavor is more a people endeavor. Your success is more about the people. You have to treat people right. ActionIQ. Treat people like adults. When you treat people like an adult, you assume they can take good news and bad news the same. You can be transparent. People take accountability. They are able to take on a lot of responsibilities. Pushes people who aren’t there yet, to get there.