10 questions with Giles Darby – TouchCast
TouchCast lets you turn your workforce into producers of content that captures attention and builds connections in a way you could have never done before.
Client: Giles Darby, VP Sales EMEA
Looking back, what two pieces of career advice would you offer to your younger self?
Be braver and say what you think as you will surprise yourself. Don’t show off at the Xmas party by downing drinks from the vodka luge, as you will really regret what happens.
When you leave the office what is your go-to method of relaxation?
I’m not going to tell you what I got for Xmas as a means of relaxing as it smacks of a mid-life crisis. I can’t say watching Liverpool either as its not relaxing at all at the moment.
What is the primary challenge you face when trying to hire great talent for your team and how are you trying to overcome it?
Spotting the talent in the first place. Applicants need to bin the clichés as it feels as if you are reading the same one over and over again. it’s not The Apprentice even though I’m sure they will all give 110% and are team players. Businesses also need to move faster on their decision making and get better at selling themselves in. Look to inspire potential applicants not trot out the same old lines cut and pasted from previous jobs (ok I’m guilty of this too).
What technology do you see changing the workplace the most in the next five years and why?
Video-conferencing. Of course this isn’t new but better broadband and flexible working hours are helping to drive this change. Zoom is having a significant impact on this sector with 58% of the fortune 500 companies using this tool and an $8b valuation. Auto-summarisation of meetings, auto-translation and AR means we don’t have to travel the world for meetings anymore and we can now do an 8 am client call at home in our Spiderman pyjama bottoms.
What habit or trick is your key to improving productivity at work?
Email is killing us. We are processing 100k words a day and reading more and more emails but we are further and further apart. Bruce Daisley talks about monk mode in his book, The Joy of Work (see below). Monk mode is about mitigating distraction and focusing solely on self-betterment by filling up your time with activities that improve you as a human-being. I have always tried to do this when I need to up the productivity levels. I turn off the phone and the email notifications and focus on the task in hand for 45 mins. I will always do this first thing in the morning as I’m more productive then.
What is your greatest challenge when trying to retain great staff and how have you overcome it?
Knowing too late to be able to do anything about it. AI might help us in the future. IBM Watson can now predict with 95% accuracy when someone is looking to leave! You need to create a very open and honest dialogue with your employees about their development. If you haven’t delivered on what you have promised then they will leave…
What has been your most recent inspiring/interesting read and why?
Bruce Daisely’s The joy of Work. Some great tips for improving the work life (see above)
Who has been your biggest inspiration / support in your career to date?
My wife Lucy She knew I needed a new challenge and fully supported me when I wanted to jump out of media into the tech world. I wasn’t so supportive when she recently chucked in her well paid media job and decided to become a student for a year, training to become a teacher.
What technology do you see thriving in the next five years?
AI has become a slightly negative word associated with the potential decimation of the workforce but I believe that it can also scaffold businesses and make a huge positive difference to our lives. We are moving to what is known as Singularity, the point at which computing intelligence is more powerful than the human brain. Artificial intelligence will shape the future and touch on nearly all areas of life, perhaps beyond any technology we’ve seen to date and its mind blowing to think about the developments we will see will in medicine, the home, banking, agriculture and of course media.
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