Kaon Interactive CEO On Bridging Innovation And Business

Do you find that there’s challenges with recruiting and bringing forward and cultivating top tech talent?

Getting technology talent is a continuous challenge for companies particularly in high technology concentration centers like the Boston area and Silicon Valley and other places. What we found is because we are doing the application of these innovative technologies in a very unique space, the sales and marketing domain, we’ve really been able to attract a combination of both the core engineering technology talent, and design and user experience talent. And the very few places where people who have those interests both on the development side and on the user experience side can bring that combination of talent and interest together in a meaningful and sustained way.

We found we have a tremendous amount of success in recruiting people both right out of school. So, we’ve had a great success in working with local universities and advanced technical programs here in the Boston area. And we found that one of the reasons that we’ve been successful with those kinds of people is that there’s a lot of programs these days that are training computer scientists in technologies like advanced game design, for example. And that’s helped to really get us a pool of people who’ve already started thinking about multi-user, real-time interactivity, and immersive technologies.

So, that pool of talent coming out school has really evolved over the last five years, in some ways a little bit ahead of where industry is, and that’s been to our advantage. So, we’ve been very fortunate, but I also think we offer a great way for people to blend their design and user experience interests as well as their technical capabilities, and to build really useful and impactful solutions as opposed to just prototypes or R&D efforts where they may get to do that in other places.

What’s your mentality as CEO? How do you run the company and what’s your advice to your fellow CEOs?

Our corporate value system is really based around the principle of delivering value to our customers at every touch point. I think that our methodology is to understand our customers’ challenges really, really well, and to understand their business very well. And to lead from the perspective of technology and innovation. So that when we’re working with these enterprises, we’re a partner to them in being able to actually solve real problems, but we’re a leader for them in helping them see what’s coming down the road as well.

And so, my philosophy in running a company like this is that you’ve got to be very aligned with our customers’ business challenges and technical problems, but we’ve also got to play the role of being a partner to them in helping them be successful in the future rather than just responding to their needs today. My philosophy about this is that’s a culture that runs through our organization. Every one of our team members focuses on understanding our customers’ environments really well and then spending as much time as we can thinking about what we can do to help them prepare for and embark on these directions that are going to be important for their future.

My advice really is to think about each company as a way of partnering with customers both by reacting to their needs, but also by being visionaries about where they’re going to be in the future, and helping them get there faster than anybody else can. When you think about that as a corporate culture, an innovation culture within your own company, what that does is it sparks ideas and innovations and out-of-the-box thinking within the company that I think is really beneficial for the market in general for customers specifically because it allows you to be impactful in delivering value both for today and in the future.

And I think for most CEOs, what you really want to do is build long-term relationships so that customers rely on you not only for the day-to-day solutions and the implementations and deployments that you’re providing today, but as a partner to help them be competitive for the future. And that’s how we’ve organized ourselves and that’s my philosophy.

Read more: Rethinking Digital Transformation In The Context Of Value Creation