Dec 5, 2017
When it comes to technological innovation, no company has taken the bull by the horns better than Sony. Though Sony’s President and COO Mike Fasulo admits there have been seasons when the company did not do the best job at innovating, course corrections have been made and Sony is once again near the front of the pack.
My wide-ranging conversation with Mike on this episode demonstrates how Sony is continually working to stay ahead of the technological changes that are happening all around us and how their focus on user experience and entertainment keep them headed in the right direction - innovating as they go.
I find Mike to be a fascinating, humble, and very generous leader in the tech industry and trust you will too. I invite you to listen to this episode of Unconventional Genius.
Sales is an outcome. The focus needs to be on innovation
One of the concepts I like to explore in these conversations is the idea of focus. I’ve learned to ask the tech leaders I interview a question that gets to the heart of their beliefs on the subject. In this conversation, I asked Mike, “If you could only focus on one thing at Sony, what would it be?” His answer was very insightful.
“Sales is an outcome. I think the focus is really on innovation, and innovation through products. You know, our products are critically important, but also innovation through talent and people. How do we tap into the diversity and get the most out of our employees, which brings innovation to reality?”
That makes sense to me, and the balance Mike describes between product innovation and fostering the creativity and diversity of the people behind that innovation is crucial. Listen to our conversation to hear more of the insights Mike shares about how to lead a team toward technological innovations that can fuel a consumer tech company’s growth, on this episode.
If we can get a customer to say, “Wow!” - we’ve accomplished our goal
It’s important for leaders of consumer tech companies to understand that the customer’s experience is the final arbiter of what’s important. Mike says that at Sony, everything they do is tested against the customer’s experience. He cites Kaz Harai, Global CEO of Sony as saying, “If I’m the end user, explain to me why I should care,” and “It’s not the last mile or the last foot, it’s the last inch between Sony and someone’s emotional side. How do you get to that last inch?”
Mike says that in the end, it really comes down to entertainment experiences for the end user, and Sony is focused on making every technological innovation a direct path to that emotional connection the customer experiences while using the product. Find out how Mike is leading his team to accomplish that, on this episode.
13 roles over 33 years at the same company: it provides differentiation and confidence
When Mike told me he’s been with Sony for 33 years, I had to ask him to repeat himself. Spending more than three decades at one company in a volatile industry that is driven by fickle consumers and the constant development of new technologies is almost unheard of. He began his career in the finance department and has also worked in a number of other departments, including sales, marketing, and operations.
“I’ve had no less than 13 jobs at the company, so while the Sony name always stayed the same, it was almost like going to 13 different companies and learning different things,” he said. “Some say I just can't keep a job, but I look at it like I'm well-rounded.”
Mike's experience at Sony is a great demonstration of both the benefits of stability in a career trajectory and the opportunities that emerge along the way for those who are ready to seize them.
Career advice from Mike Fasulo of Sony: If you don’t enjoy what you do, look for something else to do
“You have to go where your passions are,” Mike insisted when I asked him for advice to young people who are considering their career path. “We're products, and I realize that sounds a bit cold, but we need differentiators to be successful and realize our potential. You get that through education and experience.”
That’s a statement that comes from Mike’s own experience, having filled 13 different roles within Sony during his 33 years there. He says it’s made him a different sort of “product” than other people, which is part of what sets him apart. But in his mind, all of that differentiation needs to be focused on finding fulfillment and a way to have a positive impact.
“We work a lot of our living hours and if you don't enjoy what you do and you're not learning and growing, look for something else to do. Life is too short.”
This conversation is well worth the time it will take you to listen, so I encourage you to set aside a portion of your day to hear what Mike has to share. Over 33 years at one company yields a lot of great insights.
If you are with a consumer technology company planning to launch a new product at CES, or are even looking ahead to CES 2019, the Max Borges Agency can help you succeed. To learn more, check out: www.maxborgesagency.com.
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