David Mathison | How Digital is Disrupting Everything

David Mathison 4:58
Yeah, that it doesn’t really mean Anything it’s so meaningless, right? And digital a data really goes across the whole organization as as a service to the whole organization. So I said, I really just want to focus on this. And sure enough, wouldn’t you know it, as I’m tracking the sea level titles, I start to notice that there’s an increase or ridiculous increase in the number of Chief Digital and Chief Data officers being hired, kind of under the radar, and it’s very rare for a C level title to get that kind of momentum in such a short period of time. So I said, well, there’s something interesting going on here. And the two big groups that should have been paying attention. One would be the recruiters, Egan center, Russell Reynolds, Spencer Stewart, etc. Because these people are getting half million dollar salaries and up and for recruiter, you know, and they’re making that kind of money. a recruiter to do a placement gets 30% of the first year cash comp. So if that’s a $500,000 salary, that’s $150,000 fee to the recruiter, and if a recruiter carries 10 searches Year, that’s a one and a half million dollar business. And of course, most agencies have more than one recruiter. So I was like, wow, why aren’t the recruiters paying attention to this? And then number two, the big the big analysts, you know, like forest or McKinsey, Gartner, none of them were covering digital or data, they didn’t have any dedicated practice areas. So I said, let me do two really three things. Number one, I thought it was really important to create a talent map and a talent map and recruitment terms is, you know, what is the demographic data behind Chief Digital Officers or Chief Data officers? Who do they report to? Who reports to them? What’s their compensation? What are their skill sets? Where are they you know, and then you look at, you know, how many are male versus female? What’s the race? How many are African Americans? How many are Asians? And so I put together this talent map and presented it to a group of ch arrows are, you know, Chief Human Resource Officers at the Harvard club in 2001. are 2010 and they just encouraged me Wow, you got to keep going with this, you know, we’ve never heard of this title and we didn’t realize this was going on. So then I thought, well, the best thing to do next would be, you know, create a white paper and present it at a at a summit or at an event. And it’s kind of the best way to get people to return your call, you know, it’s the interview them. So I thought, well, the CEO of NBC News is never going to return my call at the time. By the way, the CEO of NBC News was Vivian Schiller, I don’t know if you remember her, but she was CEO of NPR, and had just had a fallout because the the conservatives were kind of attacking her and NPR for I will get into the reasons but bottom line is she ended up as CTO of NBC News, and she wasn’t returning my call. So then I finally put it in position of, hey, we’d love to invite you to this event to give a keynote. And we’d love for you to contribute to this white paper I’m putting together and sure enough, everybody started returning my calls. So wouldn’t you know it in LinkedIn then I created a LinkedIn group for a CD which exploded and then created the first ever event for CTOs ever, and the first ever community in 2012 and 2013. And I held the New York event, the inaugural event at Thomson Reuters in New York City. And then when you know, next year we did Reuters again, and we did a London event at the BBC, which went really well that was sponsored by Accenture. And then after that, we did four events. The next year, we doubled it again, New York, London, Sydney and Amsterdam. And now we’re at the point we’re doing one a month and we just do it. I’m getting invited even by my competitors to come and share events. For example, I chaired the chief data and analytics officer event at the W down in Atlanta by one of my competitors, you know, so the space is obviously exploded. Everybody now understands the real value of digital transformation for incumbent organizations, and then the real value of data driven culture not only for incumbents, but for just about any ordinary Online, where data is the lifeblood of the online economy. And so I’m really not surprised by the results, but

John Corcoran 9:08
kind of I have been surprised by how quickly it’s all taken place, especially on the data and analytic side. It’s always fascinating to me, people who come into an organization that’s been around for a long time, and whose job it is, by by authority of the organization is to bring in disruption. And to and to make changes. And and, you know, a lot of the changes are going to happen, whether the companies, you know, hire a CTO or not, they’re going to affect them. And a lot of the changes are going to happen, whether the company is good at innovating and making changes or not, but what are you seeing in terms of the reactions of companies, you know, are, you know, are companies more innovative today than they were, let’s say 10 years ago, because everyone knows what happened to blockbuster. Everyone knows what happened to co Are you finding that there’s still plenty of companies that are not hiring a CDO, that are not being innovative enough, as the winds of change are affecting them?

David Mathison 10:12
Well, it’s been fun. It’s great question. It’s been fun tracking this since 2010. Because we’ve seen the adoption, let’s just stick with the Chief Digital Officer title, because that’s really more focused on transformation, whereas the data and the analytics are a little bit different. But on digital transformation, it really depended on sector as well as company and the companies in certain sectors that were hiring Chief Digital Officers in the beginning of this trend. You know, the first ever Chief Digital Officer hired was in 2003 was Jason Hirshhorn at MTV, and that kind of makes sense because you We both remember Napster 1999, completely disrupting the entire music industry. And then of course, entertainment companies following after that thought, oh my god, NBC Universal thought, Well, if music is first, you know, video is going to Next. So it wasn’t a surprise that MTV hired Jason in 2003, as really like a defensive posture against the peer to peer systems. And then in 2004, the next CDO ever hired was by NBC Universal, Jason, clear cop, George clear cop. And so in the very beginning of this 2003, I would say 2010. The sectors that were hiring Chief Digital Officers included media, entertainment, publishing, believe it or not even government, and a lot of studios in the advertising sector, because of course, in advertising, and we were all probably remember 1995 1996 the web it just kicked in, and clients at agencies no longer needed or wanted the print and the TV and the radio. They were all screaming at their agencies to create a website for them. Right, right. The very first step is creating a website right now it’s mobile app and etc, etc. So those sectors were hit first. So to answer your question, yeah, there were holdouts and there were sectors, not just companies, but Entire sectors that weren’t weren’t seeing the disruption firsthand. But now it’s everywhere. So the sectors that held out and so kind of successfully, or unsuccessfully navigated through disruption, were like oil and gas utilities, insurance, banking, pharmaceutical medical, but man wouldn’t you know it around 2012 2013 all of a sudden medical and pharma companies were hiring Chief Digital Officers like crazy and then insurance you know, you’ve seen just about every insurance company from nationwide to all state State Farm they all have Chief Digital Officers now. Same thing in oil and gas and utilities. My god, look at General Electric GE has a Chief Digital Officer in every one of their groups from you know, alternative to nuclear to oil and gas and software. They also had GE digital which imploded, but that’s for different reasons. But just about every sector now realizes, you know, you really need to have somebody in charge of transformation and transformation is like Golden Gate, you know, by the time you’re done, you got to start all over again. And what we’re seeing now is Chief Digital Officers actually scaling out right? A company will bring them in to get them from A to Zed, but they, they only have the skills to get the company from A to D or E or F and then blockchain comes along and that CTO may have no experience in blockchain. Well, they’re going to have to, even the startups and the incumbents are going to get hit by the train of blockchain. Because as we were discussing earlier, offline, you know, as you can track and get paid through micro payments and do intellectual property,

Unknown Speaker 13:34
you know,

David Mathison 13:37
investing investigations throughout the internet,

even the Pandora’s in the Spotify in the YouTube, you’re going to get affected by blockchain. So even the disruptors will be disrupted, and you’re going to need a whole new set of CEOs who have a whole new set of skills. So it’s kind of a constant refreshment, but I hope that answers your question and we’ve seen by it not only company by company, but sector by sector. So loli all those companies that thought they were immune to disruption, have now even found that they’re just being disrupted. By the way, recruitment is one of those places, especially at the sea level and the board level, executive recruitment has been somewhat immune. But LinkedIn was the first shot against across the bow. When I started at that company, that recruitment company, they thought I was crazy for using LinkedIn. And I thought they were crazy. They’re basically doing all their searches on their own internal candidates. So maybe your database is like 10,000 people? Well, when I joined that firm, I had more contacts on LinkedIn than they had in their entire database. I mean, I got 30,000 contacts, and like, I had three times more contacts in my LinkedIn than they had in their entire database. So to me, I was trying to say to them, hey, look, you know, the world is much bigger than your limited database, and the clients can see that the clients can go to LinkedIn right now and see maybe there are better candidates than you’re providing them because you’re only providing them the candidates in your own database. So now we’re seeing even executive search and recruitment and HR, you see a lot of HR Our tech investment going on right now that field is being disrupted radically, you know, by not just LinkedIn, but all kinds of other platforms that we could get into.

John Corcoran 15:09
Yeah. And you know, it brings up an interesting issue because you mentioned a few sectors and industries that I’m thinking in my head. Well, how does digital affect these industries? You mentioned oil and gas, you mentioned, you know, farmer, medical, I’m thinking, Okay, well, they need a website. But what are some of the ways that I’m not thinking of that these industries should be cognizant of the transformation, digital transformation that’s hitting all of us, and they are affected by it?

David Mathison 15:39
Well, it’s funny, we were in Madrid, we do our CTO summit in Madrid. And last year, we had the CDO from seebeck cmas. smet big, one of the world’s largest cement companies in the world. And, you know, he was telling us about not it’s not what you can do with cement, but you could certainly improve your supply chain. There. They’re getting supplies from hundreds of different vendors from San silicon to, you know, mixing materials and water and then they’ve got to get that out through the pipeline to trucks and trains and you know, all kinds of distribution so that with Cisco, you kind of look at Cisco and say, Well, why would that Cisco hire Kevin Bandy, you know, Chief Digital Officer for Cisco a few years back? Well, again, Cisco isn’t a b2c play, it’s a b2b play, but think about their supply chain, and all their vendors, you know, he, his real goal at Cisco is to reinvent the supply chain. Think about General Electric, why on earth with General Electric, you know, their big push with GE digital was a very sound vision, the execution wasn’t there. But the vision for GE was the consumer internet that we have today is great for what consumers want. And I hate to use the word consumers because you and I know from our background, I’m more participants than consumers, but be that as it may, G is basically saying that the consumer internet as we head into a world of every device, connected and IoT, and you know billions upon billions of devices and sensors and your refrigerator and your toaster being connected to the internet, what we need is a much more robust, reliable, secure, scalable, and I want to say it again secure system that looks like more like an industrial internet than a consumer internet. And I totally believe we’re seeing that take place play out. So Gee, why would they hire a Chief Digital Officer for nuclear or oil or gas? Well imagine in alternatives, you know, they’ve got turbans that have rotors, and one of those rotors goes out of whack or explodes or you know, or crashes. Instead of being reactive to a disaster or fault. They can predict now, when a rotor needs to be replaced, which saves time, it saves energy, it saves you know, if it’s not bringing profit to the organization, it’s still affecting the bottom line by saving on resources and expenses. So there and again, that The goal goes back to IoT and connecting every turban and every rotor to this, you know, industrial internet. So and, you know, so again, you think, wow, you know, why does Halliburton have a Chief Digital and the chief data officer, you know, there’s so much that can be done on digital transformation that goes beyond, you know, quote, unquote, website, right? That it’s imperative for them. And so it’s one of four fields, it could be using digital transformation to number one, increase revenues number to decrease costs, number three, and improve supply chain, however you determine that and that could also be internally with your own internal organization, as well as external partners. And then number four, I would say the bigger broader, you know, sort of communications issues about your company to the wider world through social media, and sometimes organizations, not so much corporations, but like nonprofits, museums, and higher ed will hire Chief Digital Officer specifically for that fourth task. The Chief Digital Officer at Harvard wasn’t reinventing the supply chain. She wasn’t like creating new lines of business, she wasn’t dragging an analog business to digital. Her real goal there was she felt her competitors at Harvard were like the new york times there are more published authors who are professors at Harvard than almost any other university. Her goal is will how do we get the word out about all these professors and their new books and the new articles, etc, etc. So, depending on the role in the sector in the company, you know, the, the role of digital transformation could be somewhat different, but Chief Digital Officer hot our officers are being hired to fulfill, I would say one of those for prerogatives. It’s not all for

John Corcoran 19:35
God. And you know, one of the industries that I think you mentioned you touched on was journalism. And I think you said the first CDO event that you had was at Reuters headquarters at Reuters. And, you know, journalism, the journalism industry, newspapers have had kind of a, you know, kind of a touchy relationship with digital, you know, with, you know, Craig’s This, of course coming along and and replacing a lot of the classified revenue, which, you know newspapers had dependent upon, what’s the state of that relationship now? Or how does the journalism industry view digital transformation today?

David Mathison 20:18
If they’re still struggling, I mean, we in our very first event in 2013, we had the the final keynote was by David Payne, pa y. And he, yeah, kind of famous guys well known in the industry, but he was Chief Digital Officer in that and his brief at Canet. He was there for I think, three or four years. His one of his real goals was completely revamped the website completely revamped their digital presence, get them a mobile presence, and he did a really good job. But there’s still the challenge of revenues lost revenues from classifieds being taken up by you know, hot jobs, everything from hot jobs to, you know, match.com all the way through keg Craigslist for classifieds. And, you know, there’s no more stock quotes in the newspaper who needs them when you can get Instant stock works instead of a day later, and you know, get your fingers black from reading the New York Times Nobody does that anymore. seems crazy. That’s what they did for so long. Exactly. So I think the real goal for most, but the print publications is how to how to how to improve their online presence and build their audience online. But the real challenge and one of the big reasons I wrote be the media is the death of long form journalist journalism, and how do we support you know, stories that go beyond Look, I, I’m from Long Island, New York, I get news day. And you know, my 86 year old mother, God bless her, she finally let go of the print version. It was so expensive, and there’s nothing in the newspaper anymore. It’s very few local journalists and the majority of content in their class is syndicated. You know, most stories are from AP and Reuters and the horoscopes and the cartoons. I mean, they’re all syndicated. There’s no local content anymore. Right, right. Of course, you build up an answer. It’s a real challenge.

John Corcoran 21:59
Yeah, yeah. The funny thing is, and I say this having organized our own events for a number of years. The funny thing is, is that your business now is of course about data, digitization, computerization, all those things that are affecting us. And yet you organize live in person events, you get on a plane, you go to another city, and as do your attendees, and they pay to come so there’s value of course to gathering face to face and connecting with one another and sharing ideas. So just reflect on that a little bit. You know, the, the fact that even though even if we’re moving towards a world which is more and more digital, there’s still value to connecting face to face and being together even if it is once a year or a couple times a year.

David Mathison 22:47
There sure is and interestingly enough summit we did a some kind of a sizzle reel after our first event A sizzle video real, you know, two or three minutes of comments from attendees, and overwhelmingly even from David page gave the famous quote at the end. He felt that this was the first event this was in 2013. He felt it was the first event where he could really empathize with other people because he said it was the first event he ever been to where everyone there was sharing his challenges like, there were not that many, I basically made it my mandate or my mission to meet every Chief Digital Officer on the planet. And in 2012, you could do that nowadays, you just can’t, you certainly can’t do it physically. But it was amazing to me to hear people like Sri Srinivasan that was Chief Digital Officer at Columbia, share those same sentiments that, wow, this is great that we can actually get together in a room and you know, share our concerns, share our best practices and get to know each other. And by the way, the delegates and especially the sponsors really want that the sponsors want to meet face to face with people. But you’re absolutely right. This is a digital crowd and you’re seeing increasingly, the new products we’re launching like we’re about to launch, we’re relaunching CDO Academy, which basically is like see do in a day We’re giving courses on master classes for Chief Digital Officers, Chief Data officers, and it’s all virtual. But we got a real demand for the analytics one when we do the chief analytics officer masterclass, to actually do it in person. Because people want to actually meet the instructors and meet their peers, physically. And since we do our events every year at Columbia University, we’re now we’ve joined forces with the Columbia University School of Engineering, applied sciences to run the analytics course. So we’re, believe it or not, there’s still demand for people to meet and get together in physical locations. And I think a lot of it for the digital people is because they’re already so used to every day doing almost everything they do digital, that it is actually a nice break to actually get out of the office. Absolutely. Right. Yeah.

John Corcoran 24:50
Yeah, absolutely. Now, I know we’re running a little short on time here, but you know, you wrote the book be to be the media. So much has changed Of course. And in the time since you first started writing that book, and, you know today, you know, you’ve got social media, you’ve got podcasts, you’ve got blogs, you’ve got all kinds of different sources of independent media. I know that’s been very important to you and your careers is giving people the opportunity to essentially be their own media. What what sorts of trends are you watching today? And what sorts of opportunities do you see when it comes to specifically having to do with media and independent publishers?

David Mathison 25:32
Yeah, I think the real boon that we’re going to see for independent artists to actually make a living through their work is you know, where we fully flesh out blockchain or hashgraph, or whatever. The full version of that is that allows for micro payments and the tracking of an intellectual property. And taking it back to when I started writing be the media. The thing that frustrated me the most in around the 19, late 1990s, early 2000s. Was it independent artists are across every field, whether you’re a filmmaker, author, musician, they were all getting ripped off, like at some point or another. And if you if you scratch through the surface of those agreements, it was always put in front of these artists that when you sign that major label contract, and once you get that book publishing deal, or once you get that film distribution agreement, you know, it’s the rosy path to you know, living in bel air and Beverly Hills, when in fact, it was untrue. The majority of the royalties go to the publisher, the film distributor, and the record label. And and artists are lucky to control their if they if they get control over their copyrights and even their work in some points. So because I had seen sort of, I was a tech guy for my whole life, I was saying, Hey, you know, what, if an artist can build an audience, and they have a direct relationship with that audience, that audience what we call true fans, back in the day, would be able to support them they could actually make a living they could quit their day job, you know, have enough to have a decent living through their work. What the the, the the downside of all this So what the upside was, we were trying to prove chapter by chapter, hey, if you’re a musician, if you’re an author, if you’re a filmmaker, you don’t have to sign that contract. As matter of fact, it might be the worst thing you’ve ever do in your career. And you know, history is littered with artists who’ve been ripped off by, you know, we don’t have to go into all the detail gory details on that, where I see hope I don’t I think when I wrote the book, what I should have been doing was building a platform, instead of writing the book because I started writing the book around 2000 2002, my previous company had been acquired, so I had some free time. And I started to realize, wow, you know, Friendster was still hot, MySpace was still hot, you know, Facebook had just come out. By the way, YouTube just got acquired by Google around 2004. So everything was sort of exploding in this platform space. And if I were to do it all over again, a platform might have been a really good idea. But even so Facebook doesn’t get Facebook and Twitter and even LinkedIn may give an artist the opportunity to connect with their audience. But there’s still not really that automated payment mechanism that can give them micro payments and stuff to go through PayPal and whatever. And also, even worse is there’s no way to track the intellectual property once you get a PDF out there, or a music file, you know, or, or even a video file. There’s no good way or even for photograph photography, I put up photos all the time. And I’m never cease to amaze me how many people just download those photos and use them for their own use. So now finally, with blockchain,

combined with smart contracts, you know, embedded smart contracts, not only can you an artist put up a photo, and then get paid through micro payments through a number of different, you know, scenarios through the smart contract, but also track the intellectual property of that photograph once it gets up and through the system. So maybe it was okay to write the book first. But I do believe that sort of my destiny here on earth is to continue in what I was doing To help independent artists, musicians, filmmakers, and authors, and photographers to really fully realize the vision of allowing them to make a living from their creativity, because we all know right now, even though Pandora and Spotify came out, and artists are no longer bound to those ridiculous one sided agreements, they’re still not making money, john, I mean, you know, you got to get a billion plays on Spotify to get a couple of bucks. I mean, that’s not a living, that’s still, you know, you got to work for a living and then do this stuff part time. So I’m hoping that this is the full realization of the vision of be the media, which is to allow independent artists to use their skills and also their base their their true fabs to help support them. It certainly seems like we’re heading towards that. Well, we’re short on time here. So on wrap things up with the question that I always ask, I want to thank you, David, for being here. Wonderful. And let’s pretend we’re an awards banquet, much like the Oscars and the enemies and you are receiving an award for lifetime achievement for everything you’ve done. Up until this point. We know what we all want. It was, do you think in addition to family and friends, of course, but you know, who are the mentors? Who are the peers? Who are the colleagues who are the the business partners, who do you would acknowledge in your remarks? Yeah, absolutely. It’s it’s mostly a tech and artists based group. You know, certainly friends and family. As you mentioned, my employees, I’ve had some really dedicated employees like Michelle Auster, who was managing director of the CDO summit been with me since the be the media days over a decade. She’s been working with me, but people like Kevin Kelly, you know, was co founder of Wired Magazine and publisher the whole earth review and folks like

Unknown Speaker 30:37
I would say,

David Mathison 30:40
Peter Broderick, who’s been one of the pioneers in independent film and digital movie production. Folks like Douglas Rushkoff, who’s been one of the visionaries for me and who contributed to be the media did some best selling books like coersion, professor at New York University, a Craig Newmark although he has disrupted in Trees, we’ve certainly seen that he’s given back as well. And he’s certainly

John Corcoran 31:04
become quite the philanthropist.

David Mathison 31:06
And all the local folks. I mean, those local folks who are out there every day, you know, doing the right battling the right battles. And, you know, I think I mentioned earlier, nobody wants to get into the details on you know, cable franchise negotiations. But you I was friends with some folks in Moran, the media action were in folks. And we successfully battled Comcast, to get millions of dollars out of them when they were renegotiating their cable franchise agreement. And those millions of dollars were spent on creating a Community Media Center from our end, which just celebrated its 10th anniversary. So you know, when you’re in the middle of this stuff, and you’re in the middle of these battles, you don’t always see the bigger picture. But those guys and gals that worked with us to create that Community Media Center, you know, thanks to all of you. It’s great to see that it’s thriving, and again, it gets Community Media Center in Marin County. It is huge fan of

John Corcoran 32:00
Great CDO club. com is one of the websites you probably have multiple. So what are all the different places where people can check out and learn more about you, David?

David Mathison 32:11
Yeah, the two big ones, CDO club, calm and CEO Summit calm for our events. The good news is we’re doing events in 2020 and televi, Dubai, New York, Madrid, Tokyo, Singapore, Mumbai, Zurich. So maybe we’ll see you somewhere. And of course, LinkedIn. I’m LinkedIn comm slash in slash david Matheson,

John Corcoran 32:30
all over the globe. Well, David, thanks so much.

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