Fast Forward With Rishi Dave, CMO of Dun & Bradstreet
Welcome you to Fast Forward, where we have conversations about living in the future. If you're interested in digital marketing, the future of media, big data, and business transformation, read on for our interview with Rishi Dave, the Chief Marketing Officer of Dun & Bradstreet.
Rishi, I want to start with your official title, Chief Marketing Officer of Dun & Bradstreet. If you go to your personal website however, that is not what it says.
No, my personal website actually says Chief Madness Officer and the reason why I say Chief Madness Officer is that marketing and sales has just gone mad. What I mean by that is it used to be a beautiful world where marketing people would just do really creative advertising, they put it out there, the most creative advertising would win awards and that's kind of how you were rewarded. The world is totally different now for the marketer and sales person. First of all the explosion of data and analytics that's out there, just all the data out there in the digital space, in the offline space, every interaction that you have with your customer, the sheer explosion of technology.
There's this thing called marketing technology law, it's called Martec's Law, which basically says that the advancement of marketing technology is outpacing company's and people's ability to actually use it and comprehend it and get RI from it and then just the buyers are totally different now. They're more likely than not spending more time digitally than with a sales person or calling in and many times they don't even want to talk to a human so we have to be better at using that data and technology to create a great experience for them.
So Dun and Bradstreet, just explain a little bit about what they do for people that aren't familiar with the company, a company's that's been around for a very long time. Ziff Davis has a 35-year history; you blow both those numbers away.
We do, 176 years old, our company. There's something magical and this is why I joined Dun & Bradstreet, about companies that just last a long time and brands that last a long time. Their ability to ... there's something fundamental to their culture and DNA and their ability to reinvent themselves. Dun & Bradstreet is squarely in the data and analytic space. Dun & Bradstreet at it's core has the world's largest commercial database of commercial entities around the world, 250 million companies around the world, it's updated something like 3 million times a day from 50,000 sources. More important than that, we spend a lot of time building products and helping companies actually use the data.
So whether it's sales and marketers using the data to interact with their customers digitally, leveraging data, we're helping sales people sell, helping procurement people optimize their supply chain and manage risk, helping compliance professionals make sure that they're following every single law around the world and everywhere they operate or just companies who have so much data and are just trying to find truth and meaning from it. So, it's a really exciting space to be in today.
So when you got brought on board it was really kind of a new position for Dun & Bradstreet.
Explain why you were brought in with your skill set and what your approach has been. It's a different type of marketing than most people think of when they think about just traditional marketing.
Yeah, absolutely. The company was really focused on driving growth because as we talked about it's a 176 year old company but it's in a space that's growing faster than ever that we all talk about, you know, data and analytics. So I was brought in to really modernize how we go to market and how we grow, leveraging data, technology, digital and really modern methods to grow the topline of the company. I had a background previously working at Dell running digital marketing for Dell's B2B business globally. I really wanted to leverage that to help Dun & Bradstreet grow because I felt like there was an incredible asset there that we could really utilize.
One of the things I always deal with when I talk to marketers is they always break things down into personas like, who is our audience, what are the personas of our customers and then how do we create marketing messages for those personas? I've always found that to be very soft and kind of hazy.
You wind up with these sort of cartoon characters that are supposedly your customers. You've got a much more data-driven approach to establishing personas and then actually catering to them.
Absolutely. The traditional method that you allude to is we create this fictional persona where we say okay we're going to target a 23-year-old female who lives in this area and all that-
But they are usually given names.
They are usually given names.
It's like Fiona-
Yeah, it's never that exciting their names, you know. Well, actually as marketers people like to be the ones who come up with the clever names like that.
Yeah, so they're always given names. So we took a different approach and it's actually interesting. I mentioned that I came into really leverage data and analytics and technology to help the company grow and I had previously worked in digital marketing, focused on digital, analytics, technology and all that. What I found was when I came into Dun & Bradstreet my instinct was to jump right into that. Like say okay, what is the marketing technology look like? I'm an engineer by background. What does the data look like? What is the digital, what's the website look like? But what I found was that's actually a mistake that most CMOs make. I actually stepped back and I said, "You know what? We need to be clear as a company in this modern world, what our purpose is and how we go to market against that purpose before we actually invest in all this fancy new stuff because the world is crowded."
So I actually stepped back and I said, "Okay, what is our purpose? What is our values? What is our culture?", and I worked heavily with our Chief People Officer. Then with that I really focused on go to market strategy of which personas was one of them. Really there I did two things. One is, we first defined high level personas where we said, "Here are the type of people we graphed in." We didn't make it kind of cutesy and we said, "Okay, marketers, procurement professionals, compliance professionals." Then we said, "Okay, let's leverage data to not define a fake persona but one to one within those categories and create one to one experiences within those categories across offline and online." That's what we really focused on. When we talk about personas, it's one to one personas not a fictional high level one.
Yeah, and I want to get into that individual user experience-
In a bit. While we're on the topic of marketing technology, you mentioned marketing technology's moving faster-
Than companies abilities to take advantage of it.
Talk a little bit about the tools that you've got. The tools you market, the tools you use and how you stay on top of that.
Yeah, so there's so many tools out there. There's a few ways we try to stay on top of it. One is, pure paranoia. What I mean by that is my team, our team is voraciously trying to understand through digital, through talking to venture capitalists, through talking to experts and influencers, everything that's coming down the pipe. Secondly, we have to move into a mentality away from kind of that old IT mentality where you buy something and you implement it, to wind up thinking about, and this is what we do, think about the technology portfolio as a stock portfolio almost and saying, "You know what? We have this portfolio of technology and we're constantly bringing new technologies in, testing them, if they work we scale them. If they don't we put them aside and then try the next technology."
We keep and are constantly testing and learning and scaling because that's really the only way to really understand what works within your company, within your culture. In the modern world that's more possible than ever because you pay things on a subscription, things are in the Cloud, there's APIs to connect all that stuff in the back so you are able to do that. So that's really what we've been focused on.
I think there's the paranoia driven experimentation-
Which I think a lot of companies sort of take part in but I think where a lot of companies fall down is that they never take things out of their portfolio.
They never sell and they hold on to technologies when they're obviously on the way down and their employees suffer, their bottom line often suffers and their customers suffer.
Yeah, absolutely. If you're not paranoid about that then you've reached the point of no return, for lack of a better term. Where then you have to do a huge reset and that's not what you want to do. You want to be much more agile in realtime and that's really where culture comes into play. That's really where you have to create a culture where you're constantly testing and failing and experimenting and scaling and that's really what we focus a lot on.
Can you give us any examples of since you've been at the company things that you've doubled down on and said, "This is working, we're going to scale this.", and then an example of something that you've came in and said, "You know what? This is okay but it's not great, we're not going to grow with it, we're going to dump it."
Yeah, so one great example is we invested heavily in building and leveraging our website to drive pipeline. We actually doubled down on investing in very targeted advertising in the digital space in some of the new spaces that we were investing in, like sales and marketing, which is now our fastest growing space. What we found was that we were building pipeline but we weren't closing pipeline. Why is that? Because we did not spend enough time understanding the customer experience to the end and working with the sales team to actually enable them to use the data and help them in these new spaces to close. So we actually shifted our investments and we also shifted our technology to create more tools and imbed more data to the sales people so that they can close more effectively.
A great example is we built predictive models based on the data so that when our sales people looked at their CRM, looked at their Customer Relationship Management system like salesforce.com, they could see where the big opportunities were for them, for what product and whom they should target. That caused the close rates to increase tremendously. Also, what that taught me in that learning was that as a marketer it's not just about the funnel type stuff, which is always considered a marketing function, it's about working hand in hand with sales to close deals and close sales. Pipeline doesn't pay our bills.
To put that into concrete terms for people that aren't in the business, you've got a website, it's got all the information up there, describes your product, sales people can show it to people, you've got people that are interested in the product but you focused on taking it to that next level where you're using data to help close that sale.
What kind of data points are in there that are going to help you close those clients?
This is the area that I think is the biggest opportunity in the future for companies. It's an area that I call sales acceleration. This is an area that we at Dun & Bradstreet have been investing in heavily because our customers have been pulling for it. What we're trying to do increasingly is take all the data we're generating, so whether it's data we're generating in digital, as you said, looking at what our customers are doing, what they're interested in at a one to one level, it's areas in press releases, news releases, social data as well as analytics that we do ourselves on that data as well as third party data.
One of the things we focus a lot on is bringing that data together and integrating it and we of course use something that's called a D-U-N-S number, which is an identifier that we have within our data set that we also provide to customers. Then the big key here is surfacing that data in a user interface that sales and marketers and customer support people can actually take action on it and surfacing that data at the exact moment that they need it, so like triggers. That was a piece that was the game changer for us.
A real simple example is a sales person is looking at a certain set of accounts, she or he will see through a trigger in their interface or in their CRM system, hey this customer is investing heavily in infrastructure, here's a news article. The third party data is telling me, like banking data is telling me that they're seeking a lot more investment money. They're looking on your website about solutions for capital investments. We now bring all that together and surface that to the sales team with the appropriate context and say, "Call now." That's really the future.
Is that built on top of Sales Force or is it something you've developed yourself and it's custom?
Yeah it's a-
Or is it a mix of both?
It's a mix so you go back to that example of that portfolio approach to technology ... We have an application we call it D&B Hoovers, which really surfaces that data and begins to build those triggers in a very user friendly way. Now, some customers will just use that and the Cloud. Some customers will want that integrated into their CRM so it also integrates with CRM and marketing automation and the systems that a company may already use. So the key there is it's not just about the data, it's not just about the analytics, although that's the critical foundation but it's also about how do you present that to the right person in a simple way that they can actually action on it in the processes that they use every single day? Again, in some cases it's an existing system that they are already used to using, in some cases they might just use our interface.
It's fascinating because as you explain all the different pieces that are going in there, you're talking about marketing, you're talking about IT-
You've probably have got an analytics department that's actually crunching these numbers and making sense of it.
Designers who are going to have to make this simple because if it works for ... The IT department can read it but nobody in marketing can read it, it's not useful.
How do you manage ... Who's in charge, who's leading this initiative? Who does it roll up under?
What I found is everything you described requires deep expertise. So analytics and data requires deep expertise. Creative and UI development requires deep expertise. Technology integration requires deep expertise. So what I found is that you have to kind of find people who are T shape marketers as I call them. I call it T shape because they have to be deep in that one area but they have to have the ability to partner with other people to create one experience for the customers. What we ended up doing was, and again this is again another experiment that failed and then we adapted, is that what we found was that when we hire these individual experts they just work in the silo, right?
I mean if you're a data analytics person, you have more fun with other data analytics people. If you're a creative person, you have more fun with other creative people. So what we did was we kind of created these tiger teams where we had these people in all these silos actually work together in service of a single persona and worked across the functions and then they had joint metrics, whether it's sales or pipeline et cetera. So they create a single, personalized user experience for that category of customer. That was where the big learning came and that was where we had another breakthrough.
That makes a lot of sense because the analytics guy will hand over the analytics and he feels like his job is done-
And it in fact, he should continue ownership of that and see it through to the final product.
Absolutely and it's also a great motivation for individuals as well.
So let's talk about that final product. You've got your tiger team, it's got multiple disciplines on it, they've come up with a solution and they're identifying a specific persona who's going to have a specific solution, talk about that one on one level that you wind up getting to.
Yep and I think that one on one level, if I had to really simplify it to it's most essence, it involves two things. One is leveraging data and analytics to identify the most relevant customer for your solutions and focus on them. Second thing is, creating a great experience for them no matter where they go. So let me break that down. Obviously there's a lot of analytical models out there ... So at the basic level you have data, right, and I mentioned before digital data, third party data, social data et cetera. Bring that together in a way that's actually usable. You build analytics to get insights from that data. Use those insights to prioritize accounts, to identify what the accounts want, to look at what they've done to see what they want, then the fun part, which you are alluding to is how do you take that and just create a great experience for them?
What I mean by great experience is in digital, bringing that data together to create a personalized web experience. When they're in social, reaching out to them with the context as I mentioned before of who they are and what they want and what they are excited about based on what they've done in the past. When they go to a trade show or event, inviting them to your booth or dinner or whatever and giving them a personalized experience based on what their specific interest is and what's happening to their company. When they call into customer support, knowing that they're interested in X, they showed up at an event, they've bought this but actually the analytics say they should be buying these three other things and creating that great post sales experience in a very one to one personalized way. That's what I mean by you start with the data and then you create that great experience for that customer.
I think most people watching and listening are surprised that there is so much data available right now.
I mean everything from news articles to your company profile to your interests and all of that's being managed by some of your own tools but also off the shelf CRM solutions, which will also help smaller and mid sized businesses take advantage of these same things.
Is there anything that's available now in terms of what data's used that you think is really valuable that a lot of people don't know about?
Yeah, I think, the most interesting data ... So people know about social data, which is obviously very valuable. People know about data from news articles and news feeds and all that, which is very valuable. The other type of data that I think is really interesting and a little biased because this is our core business, is, you know Dun & Bradstreet has data on 250 million businesses around the world, all kinds of data on them. What's interesting is that data is now available in near realtime through the Cloud streaming. Why is that important? Because in the old world of marketing you used to build these models where you say, "Okay, here's what happened in the past, so therefore I'll apply that model to another set of data to predict what will happen to that data."
You get this data realtime now so for example, for Dun & Bradstreet if you see that a customer's credit rating is changing or that you see that they're increasing investments in realtime or you see that they're building new facilities or you see these kind of things and you see that changing in realtime, that's actually data that you can use to target that customer. So, a great example is, when we prioritize what customers we go after, we just don't look at history we look at what those customers are doing right now and how that's changing. So if we see a customer's investing a lot, building new facilities, getting funding, we actually ... Even if historically they haven't grown, we think they're going to grow and then we'll target them and that gives us a competitive differentiation. So it's both the kind of data you get but also the fact that you get it in realtime through the Cloud.
This is not a big company enterprise thing. It's all in the Cloud so small businesses can use this data all the time. One of our solutions, which is the D&B Hoovers solution is just a simple user interface, you set up a bunch of triggers and you can get that data in kind of near realtime as a small business. That never could happen before but it happens now because you have the Cloud and everything gets processed up there so small businesses don't need to do a huge amount of investments.
So all this reminds me of why I don't play the stock market.
This is how much data is available to people that are even marginally interested in tracking the companies.
You know I think Warren Buffet just put out his letter and he kind of said a similar thing about managed funds, right?
He said, "It's 10 people in the world or something who can actually make money in that."
They know what's going on, everybody else it's a race to the bottom-
Which is extraordinary. So that's the data that's available right now, where do you see ... What's next? What is going to be enabled by the Internet of Things, more Cloud based services, like, what comes next?
Yeah. IOT's a big one for sure. IOT's another huge data generation point that will help guide decision making for everyone, so that's a big one. The second thing is the advancement of the analytics. Whether it's moving towards machine learning, AI, all those kind of things. A lot of advancements going on there that I think is really in the future and that actually lends to a third thing, which is automation. How do you increasingly automate all these processes, leveraging AI and analytics? I mean, automation's the big one, it's almost like, if you took it to the extreme, the self-managing corporation where it's just happening through IOT and it's just happening through automation. That's really the future I think.
Yeah, it's interesting. We have access to all this data, a lot of us have dashboards for a variety of different purposes. We don't need more dashboards what we need is tools to tell us what to do.
Yeah, well it's a great point and I have this dream that for a sales person it's not about surfacing all this data to them, it's about just answering one question for them, here's what you do right now, right? Don't worry about all this noise, here's right now here's the optimal action that you should take at this moment because of these reasons and here's what you should say and here's who you should call. That would be great.
You've got a hundred potential clients, all the data's on the backend, and the AI system says, "These are the three that are most likely to spend money today."
"You've got eight hours of work to do today", just imagine if people only worked eight hour days.
"And these are the three people you have to call on today."
Absolutely and time matters, right, because we know every marketer will quote this statistic where if you ... Let's say a lead comes in, you have to answer that within an hour now otherwise the potential for that lead drops precipitously so this has to happen quickly in realtime. The sales people have to act very quickly. You're starting to see that, I mean we're starting to see it in that the analytics is getting much more sophisticated, what we're surfacing to ourselves and people is getting more sophisticated and sales people ... And you're seeing field sales people ... You still need them but you're seeing increasing investments in inside sales people versus field and you're seeing that proportion shift because more and more of the buying process is happening digitally and more and more is happening in realtime where there's not time to go out and visit the customer, you have to do it on the phone and customers like that too.
We actually have a question from our audience.
We have a commenter who runs his own business [crocheting 00:24:16] and he was just kind of looking to tap into your marketing expertise. He's trying to find out how does he figure out what people are interested in out there? What sort of product or something would someone who's just their own business going to use in order to find out where these customers are?
Product market fit.
Yes. I think the best thing if you're a small business and you're just starting out is just leverage the basic analytics that Google can give you. Do the searches, look for the information. We have a small business oriented application called D&B Hoovers or ... When we bought a company call [Invention 00:25:00] which is a very simple interface for you to find what customers make sense and see what they're doing in a very simple interface. Those are the kinds of things that you can do if you're just starting out just to see who's out there. The other thing is, if you have a product or solution just get it out there on the web and start to market it and see who starts using it and you'll learn a lot just by doing that even without doing market research.
Google AdWords is an amazing [crosstalk 00:25:29] of human intent.
In terms of figuring out what people are searching for, what they want.
For a local business is you can customize it down and actually do local searches because what people are interested in your town may be different than on the other coast.
Google has done a nice job of making that interface very simple for especially for small businesses.
It took awhile.
It took awhile but-
It's a lot better than it used to be.
Google's an engineering company, right?
It goes to show they have the data, they could deliver the data but your average small business person couldn't understand it.
That goes back to what I said before.
It's about the data, it's about the analytics and insights but it's also about how you surface it in a way that the actual person who needs to take action understands it.
How far away are we? We just published a review of IBM Watson and a variety of different business intelligence tools. How far are we away from you upload the dataset and the AI does all the thinking for you and actually delivers you that answer, even basic searches?
I think we're pretty close. I think that we already have the ability in the Cloud to integrate our data, I won't get too detailed on that, it's called massive data management if you want to look it up, and we already have the ability to do that. We already have Cloud based analytics platforms, there's a lot out there and so we ourselves do that and so I think that we're not that far. I think that the only barrier is the learning of those systems but those systems are learning very quickly. A great example is Watson, you know Watson and healthcare. They're trying to, it's a little be scary, they're trying to automate the process of deciding what diagnosis and how to solve a person's problem when they come into the doctor's office. They started feeding the Watson system every single medical report that's out there and the Watson system is learning and when it makes mistakes the doctors are correcting it and the speed at which it's learning is increasing incredibly. What we're seeing is a rapid speed up in that process of becoming smarter. So it's just a matter of continually feeding the machine.
One of the encouraging things about Watson's data is that they found that it's very good at diagnosing problems and identifying the issue. It does an even better job when it works in cooperation with a doctor.
You've got that combination of encyclopedic resource of computer driven AI plus a doctor that says, "No, this isn't quite right.", or "No we've got to adjust it this way." When you put the two together you get something that's even better than either one apart.
Absolutely and that's not unique to healthcare. What Watson essentially does is it presents the doctor with a set of options and then the doctor kind of tells more and more to the machine about like, "I'm seeing this symptom but not this symptom.", and then the options narrow to a set of options and then the doctor uses the qualitative skill. That happens in business too. We deal with that everyday so I'll give you an example from the business world is that we leverage data analytics to prioritize the opportunities that the sales people should go after. We don't just shove that to the sales people and say, "You have to go after these accounts." We sit down with the sales people and say, "Here's what our analytics and machines have told us, now bring your qualitative perspective on what we're missing or intelligence that we're not thinking about." When you put those two together and you come up with a set of accounts, they're much more effective, much more robust and by the way everyone's on the same page on the opportunities. You have to do that in everything.
Let's get another question in from the audience.
What's your opinion on Facebook as a marketing platform for startups?
I think Facebook's great. I think Facebook has been very effective for startups and Facebook's ability to target very specifically has become very powerful. The challenge is that creative piece, right? Is that how do you create something that's truly engaging on Facebook so that customers want to interact with it, they want to like it, they want to see the videos and all those kind of things? That's the big challenge because those news feeds go by quickly. Also, it's increasingly hard to have your information just show up without paying unless it's really compelling and really interesting and so that combination of paying as well as coming up with interesting content, both those together are important to succeed in Facebook.
Yeah, it's almost impossible for a startup business unless you've got incredible content-
To just get a nice organic lift on Facebook-
You're going to have to pay Facebook in order to get any exposure.
Yeah, well in any social platform.
You know Twitter, all these social platforms, pay for play as they say.
It's becoming increasingly harder.
I've actually seen the best advertisements on Instagram. Not for very high end stuff-
Or Snapchat, I mean Snapchat's very interesting.
Perhaps, yeah, like, really compelling and like, yeah I do want to engage with that. That's something that's appropriate to me.
It's appealing and it's visually well done, that's a booming business. I bet a lot of those Instagram ads are going to wind up getting ported over to Facebook just because they work so well.
Yeah, absolutely and look, this is a great example of every company should experiment. Snapchat is also very interesting, they're about the IPO but they're very interesting from a marketing perspective-
Are the interesting to you at Dun & Bradstreet? Would you use Snapchat?
We are testing it.
You know why we are testing it is it's actually really interesting because you know it's easy to say, "Oh, it's for kids.", right? But events, right? Realtime interaction with a large number of people at an event where you want your brand and you want people to come to your part of the show and come to your booth or whatever, Snapchat could be interesting. Snapchat, and we've been testing that and seeing some interesting results. It also is a very creative medium and it's also more whimsical and fun and less ... People don't dislike it as much as some of the other platforms.
It comes with less baggage.
It comes with much less baggage, yeah.
In terms of looking at the technology space, the media space, the marketing space, where do you see opportunities? Where do you think there's going to be some really interesting things happening in the next five years?
The biggest thing is two things, automation, leveraging data analytics and technology as well as distributing the action around that. As I mentioned before where it's not just going to be about sales and marketing, leveraging the data, it's the entire company is going to be leveraging the same data set and the same kind of user interface and the system's going to tell the right person whether it's the customer support person, the sales person, the product marketer, whoever, what they should do next. That whole concept of the automation of the corporation and the surfacing of that content is going to be the real future and that's where we're investing a lot in as well.
Who do you think some of the leaders in that space will be? Will they be the traditional enterprise resource management companies? Will they be Sales Force? Who provides that solution or do companies sort of have to build it themselves?
A lot of companies will provide different aspects of that solution. So for example, what we have done is that we have integrated our solution into Sales Force, if that's the preferred mechanism or into other CRM systems, or marketing automation systems. What's actually happening is that there's no single mega stack or mega set of applications in the marketing space or sales space that is going to win because the innovation on each layer of that stack is happening so quickly. What we're seeing is marketers first understanding the strategy, understanding their customers, understanding how to differentiate themselves and then architecting using APIs and the Cloud, the right set of tools to create that right experience for the customer. It's actually better that you have different people innovating at different levels and then you as a marketer bring it together in service of your customer. I think the marketers who are able to do that are the ones who are going to win.
Yeah, it's too complicated a thing for one company to do and they keep the evolution going as long as it all stays open and if you're going to make investments and picks you should pick solutions that are going to have that flexibility and be able plug it down with other tools.
Absolutely. You see that in the history of technology every time people have tried to create these monolithic systems it never works because every aspect of the system or every different layer innovates at different rates, so I think that you continue to see that. Again the great marketers are able to architect that integrated experience for the customer. Things get more complicated for the marketer and the company but things get much more beautiful and simplified for the customer and that's all that matters.
Excellent. Let's get to our closing questions. Looking at the technological landscape, what trends concern you the most? What keeps you up at night?
Clearly as data explodes and as we get more sophisticated with our artificial intelligence, there's a question around privacy globally, around what is okay to do and what is not and how do we manage that and how do we manage those trade offs? As the new generation comes up with a more ... Okay with sharing data and lack of privacy, it's easy for a marketer to take advantage of that but I don't think we should. I think we should be very judicious and cautious about how we leverage the data and how we leverage the models to help the customer. I think where that line is and how we do it well is going to be actually a big differentiator for companies and customers.
You think it'll be up to marketers themselves and the marketing industry to sort of create those best practices? If not there, I don't know where else that would come from.
I do, I mean there will obviously be standards bodies and they are out there and marketers participate in those but I think ultimately you have to have the right set of values. That's why when I came to Dun & Bradstreet as CMO, we focus on values first because the CEO was very clear and said, "We get those right, then everything else will fall into place."
Very cool. On the optimistic side, what are you most excited about? What trend do you think is really going to change the world?
I think this trend towards this intense focus on customer experience. Customers have been conditioned in a good way to expect great experiences. So even though I'm in a kind of a geeky B2B industry that's complex, that's not simple to understand, our customers don't compare our company to our competitors. They compare our company to Uber or Amazon and what I hear from customers is why isn't this as easy as Uber, right? It's easy to say, "Well they're B2C and we're B2B", but in reality that's a cop out. We can actually in the most complex industry create those experiences that are Uber like. Sometimes it involves analytics and personalization, sometimes it just involves simplifying the content and information that you provide.
A great example is when I first joined Dun & Bradstreet we were trying to modernize our brand. We are a B2B company, through and through. We actually hired an agency that had only done B2C and had never worked in B2B, had never worked in technology because we saw that trend and we said that, "You know what? It's more important to simplify what we do and have somebody who's an expert in doing that for consumers.", and that's been very successful. I think all companies will be increasingly focusing on that no matter how complex what they do it.
That's a great point. In terms of products, services or gadgets that you use everyday that just transform your life, do you have any favorites?
I do but it's not going to be what you expect. I mentioned earlier that we are very paranoid and we are very paranoid of losing the edge and not knowing what's coming up. One of my passions is I'm a voracious reader and so I love Good Reads. Good Reads is a social network for books and it does a wonderful job of letting you connect with people you think are smart, who have good book recommendations as well as recommending what book you should read next. It's just been amazing because I'm always paranoid and so I've really enjoyed using that. Also, secondly I enjoy things like Feedly where it allows me to very quickly read great content and great blogs on the web to again stay abreast of what's going on. I think that's the real key nowadays.
Feedly is the fire hose for everything that's happening.
I think Good Reads is when you've got time to actually read at night.
You've got quality, long form stuff you can dig into-
From people you trust.
Absolutely and then Medium's in the middle.
And Medium's, right, it's very tough to be in the middle.
Which is what we're discovering I think.
Rishi, thanks so much for coming by today.
Thank you. Thank you for having me I really appreciate it.
How can people follow you, catch up with what you're doing? Then obviously they can follow Dun & Bradstreet but how do they find out what you're doing on a regular basis?
Yes, two ways. One is please follow me on Twitter. I'm very passionate about putting the content, putting great content that I've read and great books that I've read on my Twitter feed so that the whole world knows things to read and things I've learned a lot from, and so my Twitter is rishipdave. Secondly my blog, which is just rishidave.com. Both those places are great places to contact me personally and then obviously the Dun & Bradstreet website has a plethora of content in all these things we talked about.
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This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.