Podcast: Leadership with style with Florian Klemt

Florian Klemt

Co-founder and CTO at Fashion Cloud 

Podcast – Episode 32:
Leadership with style 

Stories of a CTO in a B2B fashion startup

In this podcast, we look at an interesting B2B startup called Fashion Cloud. In particular to its CTO, Florian Klemt. The business idea that was born out of a strategic pivot shows great promise. It’s morphing into something bigger and providing more supportive avenues for end clients.


“Be brave and be honest and always ask yourself why are you doing the things you’re doing.”

During the podcast, Florian shares several subjects ranging from the businesspivot to solve a pain point in the market and his leadership approach to creating a healthy, happy business. He shares how happy engineers deliver business value.  

Key takeaways from the podcast are: 

  • A human-centric leadership style has a great ROI. One that can’t be pinned down in a spreadsheet or ledger but exists non the less 
  • The pivoting tool in the business toolbox is an important device that should be employed readily to adapt to market needs 
  • Maintenance and looking after legacy systems is highly recommended. It’s not sexy, but tech leaders ought to appreciate the investment that’s gone into these systems and work to keep them maintainable. 

TLDR: Straight to the point
(Quick Links)

We all live busy lives, and sometimes a long podcast is too much of a time-footprint for our busy schedules. So, to help you get to the bit you’re more interested in, use our table of contents below. Quick links to help you get straight to the point.

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Podcast: Thoughts from a non-linear tech leader with Paul Clarke

Paul Clarke

CTO at Ocado Group

Podcast – Episode 31:
Thoughts from a non-linear tech leader 

Merging fields of technology to harness the power of the blend

In this episode, we have a tech leader who was the CTO of Ocado, a company that is a huge operational and business success in the UK. As part of his leadership and the work he does on various boards for the UK Government, Paul Clarke is a huge advocate for Digital twins.

Digital twins are a powerful tool to model and simulate the real world. It enables us to run simulations repeatedly while changing variables for various scenarios that are of interest. As the evolution of this tool progresses, these twins become even more sophisticated.

On the passing of time in the tech arena: 
“Some things never change. How you go about building great software platforms and the tools may have changed and evolved over the years. But the principles of collaboration, software engineeringtesting, and design have stayed remarkably the same…” 

Paul’s aims and other members of the Digital fan club is to integrate them to run even larger and more advanced model runs, to garnish insights from the outcomes. The aim is to make insightful, educated decisions for governmental agencies and businesses, with data to back them. We cover this enlightening subject in the podcast, amongst many other interesting topics. 

Some takeaways from the conversation with Paul:

  • The power and potential of 4 converging technological advances 
    • Artificial Intelligence 
    • Machine Learning 
    • Digital twins 
    • And the Internet of Things (IoT) 
  • How Ocado Ltd isactuallya technology company, withfood delivery service being just the thin veneer of what it did and spun off.  
  • The huge potential of governments use of their oceans of data and Digital Twins.…not to mention the impact of policy change and infrastructure projects)

TLDR: Straight to the point
(Quick Links)

We all live busy lives, and sometimes a long podcast is too much of a time-footprint for our busy schedules. So, to help you get to the bit you’re more interested in, use our table of contents below. Quick links to help you get straight to the point.

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Podcast: Keeping Companies Secure in the Era of COVID with Tom Meehan 

Tom Meehan 

CSO & CISO at CONTROLTEK USA 

Podcast – Episode 28:
Keeping Companies Secure in the Era of COVID

Feeling secure in a modern world

Security has always been a part of human needs beyond those sitting at the lower echelons of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Through our inventiveness, we create new domains of attack and subsequent security needs. In these modern times, the digital world has many doors and windows, and that’s the topic we touch on in this episode.

Tom Meehan of CONTROLTEK USA joins us to share his thoughts on this subject and his leadership style. Tom is an author and speaker in various technical spaces, so we are honored to have him on CTO Confessions.

Tom is an incredibly talented tech leader with a vast pool of experience and knowledge. You will hear through the podcast how Tom drives his continuous learning forward in a very active and purposeful way—it’s not only very inspiring, it also helps us see where we may be investing more in procrastination that productivity.

Also, the innovations of the company, CONTROLTEK USA, are presented here. This is a company continuously working to solve new challenges and creating time-and money-saving solutions.

“– it gets me going. And the bigger, the challenge, the more exciting it is.”

Key takeaways from the podcast are: 

  • Embrace the likelihood of failure and get moving, welcome experimentation, and adapt. Some failure has to be part of your journey. 
  • Tom’s suggestion around investing in your self-growth as a leader (less Netflix and more reading) 
  • The sophisticated art of keeping companies secure: 
  • Especially in these COVID times where people inadvertently keep opening up security windows and doors 
  • The ongoing battle to get on the winning edge of security without thinking you’ve worked it out 
  • Awareness that the technology you are using to stay one step ahead of the attackers is the same technology they have. 

TLDR: Straight to the point
(Quick Links)

We all live busy lives, and sometimes a long podcast is too much of a time-footprint for our busy schedules. So, to help you get to the bit you’re more interested in, use our table of contents below. Quick links to help you get straight to the point.

Transform your technology organization with IT Labs teams.
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Podcast: The Art of People-Centric Leadership with Shane Emmons

Shane Emmons 

CTO at TeamSnap

Podcast – Episode 28:
The Art of People-Centric Leadership 

Building trust and autonomy in teams from the word go

It’s great when you meet a leader who takes an elegant approach to making life easier. i.e., using a leadership style to bleed ownership into the organization. One such tech leader achieving this with his personal, well-defined philosophy on work and life is Shane Emmons. As the CTO of TeamSnap, not only does he talk about this philosophy, he has also positioned it out there for all to see on his LinkedIn profile. Then, as a man of integrity, he brings it to life in his daily work and leadership. Take a look at Shane’s tech leadership page to see the philosophy and personal leadership commitment.

We also get to hear about TeamSnap, an organization leading in the tech arena. The application they’ve developed is used by teams of varying sizes–everything from schools and weekend sports organizations to national teams.

The more and more of what I think and talk to my teams about today, is seeing everything we’re doing as a business decision. Sometimes that means we need to really dig in and figure out how this thing we are doing, or going to do, is a business decision.

Key takeaways from the podcast are: 

  • The power of providing trust from the word go in your organization 
  • The perspective that all tech decisions are business decisions 
  • The importance of enjoying work and making sure your people are as well 
  • Sharing of a new perspective on diversity and success 

Not only does Shane coach and mentor business leaders in the industry, he also teaches at the University of Michigan. Listen in on this episode for awesome advice grounded in a wealth of experience. 

TLDR: Straight to the point
(Quick Links)

We all live busy lives, and sometimes a long podcast is too much of a time-footprint for our busy schedules. So, to help you get to the bit you’re more interested in, use our table of contents below. Quick links to help you get straight to the point.

Transform your technology organization with IT Labs teams.
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Podcast: Being a Transformation Warrior with Michele Sollecito

Michele Sollecito 

Senior Director Head of Engineering at Revolut

Podcast – Episode 27:
Being a Transformation Warrior 

Bringing integrity to the forefront of tech leadership

Tech leaders lead organizations to create products and often lead transformations. i.e., transform people, processes, and of course, tech. In this podcast, Michele Sollecito shares his thoughts on his role and how he works to make sure projects come in on scope and on time through the wonderful women and men engineers doing the work.
The discussion with Michele shines a light on what makes great leadership–in particular, his commitment to operating with integrity and his progressive views on diversity.

“… to me, your office is an asset you’re giving to your employees. If your employees feel like it’s a prison, you’re going seriously wrong somewhere.”

Among the many things that come up in the podcast is Michele’s view on offices–especially in light of the remote working imposed upon us by COVID-19. His perspective of the workplace being a gift and asset for the workforce is enlightening. Company work environments are a place to converge to have highquality meetingfor productive interactions and collaboration. 

Key takeaways from the podcast are: 

  • Why integrity matters. i.e., Doing the right thing even when no one is looking. 
  • How software development isn’t just about delivering fast, but rather represents the art of creating something that can be maintained and extended in its complexity without ending up in a technical debt dead end. 
  • Avoiding continuous isolation by leading and facilitating environments that create interrelationships within a team, between teams, and the wider organization.

TLDR: Straight to the point
(Quick Links)

We all live busy lives, and sometimes a long podcast is too much of a time-footprint for our busy schedules. So, to help you get to the bit you’re more interested in, use our table of contents below. Quick links to help you get straight to the point.

Transform your technology organization with IT Labs teams.
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Podcast: Making Car Hire As Easy As ABC with Marc Roberts

Marc Roberts

CTO at hiyacar

Podcast – Episode 28:
Making Car Hire As Easy As ABC

Driving disruption into the market

For all those who have hired a car, do you think it’s a smooth process? Could it be easier? Well, our tech leader guest from “hiyacar,” Marc Roberts, tells us about how they are smoothing out the wrinkles in this much-needed service. Having been involved in a previous venture that didn’t quite make it to success, Marc shares how the market and driver information systems have evolved enough to make it viable.

With a mission statement with simple and crystal- clear clarity, hiyacar is now on the road to success.

Hiya cars’ mission is to connect drivers to cars when and where they want one.

The industry is full of complexity–a mix of compliance, user interactivity, and not to mention high ticket assets, i.e., the cars. Creating an automated system that serves both the customers needs and those who own the vehicle is essential. What’s great to hear in the podcast is hiyacars strong feedback loops for continuous customercentric learning. And the company’s agility and ability to adapt to compliance and insurance changes. 

Listen to Marc Robert’s wisdom about leading the technological aspect of this venture and how he and his colleagues lead the way to hire cars easy as “ABC…  

Key takeaways from the podcast:
• Running a startup with high ticket assets and keeping them secure
• Getting-out-of-the-way-style leadership
• The power of having a clear mission

TLDR: Straight to the point
(Quick Links)

We all live busy lives, and sometimes a long podcast is too much of a time-footprint for our busy schedules. So, to help you get to the bit you’re more interested in, use our table of contents below. Quick links to help you get straight to the point.

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Podcast: The Intersection of Culture and Security with Hazel Olivier

Hazel Olivier

CTO at Nimbla 

Podcast – Episode 26:
The Intersection of Culture and Security

Leading a tech solution in the financial insurance industry

In this podcast, we talk to Hazel Olivier, the CTO of Nimbla, a company serving medium-sized organizations’ financial well-being (Insuring their invoices). We also look at how Hazel has been spearheading her career in the tech industry and her passion for security and working with remote teams with differing cultural communication styles–an important set of subjects in this global and interconnected world we all operate in.

Hazel has been instrumental in leading Nimbla’s platform’s modernization while strengthening its robustness. Thus, allowing Nimbla to offer a much-needed self-service financial lifeline 24/7.

Beyond Hazel’s role as a leader, we also discuss her passion for security and why baking it in from the beginning is a wise move. She believes that security should be everyone’s responsibility and something they consider in all aspects of their development and work. The takeaway is security is a dangerous subject to leave until the end of a development process.

“… people are saying the training that’s happening with developers nowadays is they are really good at writing the code … But have very limited knowledge on what needs to be secure and how to do security.”

Hazel’s other passion is communication– in particular, awareness around cultural nuances. The podcast’s discussion shines a light on a challenge that many companies face in the ever-globalizing shifts. People of different cultural backgrounds meet each other in complex work, and awareness around the nuances can increase communication clarity.   

Key takeaways from the podcast are:

• Security! Security! Security! Stop making it an afterthought — bake it in from the beginning.
• Awareness around some of the holes you could be creating in your security walls.
• Leading in tech as a woman.
• The cultural nuances when it comes to the UK, South Africa, and India. 

TLDR: Straight to the point
(Quick Links)

We all live busy lives, and sometimes a long podcast is too much of a time-footprint for our busy schedules. So, to help you get to the bit you’re more interested in, use our table of contents below. Quick links to help you get straight to the point.

Transform your technology organization with IT Labs teams.
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Podcast: Leading and hiring in the data space with Roy Keyes

Roy Keyes

Author and data expert 

Podcast – Episode 25:
Leading and hiring in the data space

Data science and machine learning leader tells all

Data, data, data everywhere! Sometimes I wonder if we’re going to drown in it all. Thankfully we have a super expert on the subject to join us to demystify some of the reoccurring topics in this arena. Roy Keyes, a data science and machine learning guru and expert in knowing what people to hire for this elusive new field of computing, tells us all in the time we had for the podcast. We got so carried away, it’s a long one. To make it easier, if you want to jump into a particular area that interests you, please use the Table of Contents below.

“As a leader, I think that it’s really important that you help people realize this curiosity and desire to learn, to kind of push them along and kind of help them be fulfilled, in a market where experienced people are the hard ones to find.”

Roy’s book, “Hiring Data Scientists and Machine Learning Engineers: A Practical Guide.” can be found here.
The key takeaways from the podcast are:

  • What is the definition of  
    • Data science 
    • Data analytics 
    • The various roles that gravitate around this industry 
  • Some tips as to how to structure data people within the org 
  • The challenges of hiring the right people for the job 

And much, much more 

TLDR: Straight to the point
(Quick Links)

We all live busy lives, and sometimes a long podcast is too much of a time-footprint for our busy schedules. So, to help you get to the bit you’re more interested in, use our table of contents below. Quick links to help you get straight to the point.

Transform your technology organization with IT Labs teams.
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Podcast: The tech leadership behind long marketing cycles with Oded Cohen

Oded Cohen

CTO at Nativo 

Podcast – Episode 24:
The tech leadership behind long marketing cycles

Lessons from a complex, fast-moving marketing industry

Oded Cohen, Chief Technology Officer at Nativo Inc, joins CTO Confessions to share his tech leadership style within an impressive, cutting-edge marketing company – a company that helps organizations sell high ticket items with looooooooong marketing and sales cycles. Nativo uses big data and agile processes to connect the brands to the desired target audience.

“If we made a mistake, but as a result we learn from it, and now we’re better and we’re not going to repeat that mistake, that’s fine. You’re going to move fast and you’re going to make mistakes. There’s no other way around it.”

Some of the key takeaways from the podcast are:  

  • How distributing leadership and decisions makes complex development environments more manageable 
  • How freedom, flexibility, and honest conversations help the best creative ideas emerge 
  • The in and outs of selling advertising to premium brands for long-term brand engagement 

TLDR: Straight to the point
(Quick Links)

We all live busy lives, and sometimes a long podcast is too much of a time-footprint for our busy schedules. So, to help you get to the bit you’re more interested in, use our table of contents below. Quick links to help you get straight to the point.

Transform your technology organization with IT Labs teams.
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Podcast: Learning from Google Engineering and its leadership culture with Paul Lawrence

Paul Lawrence 

Senior Software Engineer at Google Engineering 

Podcast – Episode 23:
Learning from Google Engineering and its leadership culture 

What tech leaders can learn from looking under the covers of Google’s tech world

Here’s your chance to get a small peek under the covers of Google. Paul Lawrence joins us from San Jose, California, to share his story and his work life at this prestigious company. In this podcast episode, Paul share about being selected to join Google, the onboarding process, and then what it’s like to be immersed in the Google culture. Don’t miss this treasure trove of insights from inside one of the most iconic tech companies out there.

“I enjoy technical challenges and doing them is what I’m interested in. Solving technical problems… this is what I’m good at.”

Key takeaways are:

  • Lessons for tech leaders from inside Google
  • An example of onboarding and how you can be quickly offboarded
  • The importance of trusting your engineers

TLDR: Straight to the point
(Quick Links)

We all live busy lives, and sometimes a long podcast is too much of a time-footprint for our busy schedules. So, to help you get to the bit you’re more interested in, use our table of contents below. Quick links to help you get straight to the point.

Transform your technology organization with IT Labs teams.
Reach out to us.