Dave Page of Actual Experience talks us through his role and discusses how the coronavirus pandemic has affected his day-to-day activity.
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Please describe your job: What do you do?
I’m CEO and Co-founder of Actual Experience, a Human Experience Management Company built on a fundamentally unique capability of our analytics cloud. We work in partnership with organisations such as Accenture, Verizon and Vodafone to build a digital world that works properly.
Aside from the usual responsibilities of a CEO, my main responsibility is to help the people at Actual. Business is about people. People set culture. Culture is about how we behave. Behaviour is set by example, and in any company example is set by leadership. Being aware and acting accordingly is a key part of my role.
I also help our partners to sell our product to customers, to sell our company to investors and pitch our vision to anyone who will listen!
Whereabouts do you sit within the organization? Who do you report to?
I work alongside my Co-founder, who is the clever guy; Professor Jonathan Pitts. We are a public company on the London Stock Exchange so I report to a Board of Directors.
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
Ten years ago our Company was a start up. What we do is still unique in the market today and therefore the ability to articulate our vision with conviction is a key skill.
Our vision, to make the digital world work properly through the lens of human experience, is an idea that is completely new to many Executives, so communication and active listening is an important skill.
But that needs to be built upon the entrepreneurial foundation of resilience and determination. The key challenge I face is convincing Executives to take ownership of human experience at the C-Suite.
How has your typical day been impacted in the short term by the pandemic?
Like most businesses we’ve had to rework our priorities, implement our business continuity plan and make it as easy as possible for our people to continue working from home. The biggest impact however is that we’ve helped our partners move quickly in assisting their own clients with their business continuity plans.
Just the other day (March 31st) our human experience analytics helped keep the home workers of a UK national organisation in charge of food standards up and running. Alongside our partner we were able to identify issues with one of their data centres that would have prevented their colleagues accessing the digital tools needed to do their jobs.
Which companies have impressed you since the outbreak?
We’ve been so busy helping our partners and their clients I haven’t had the chance to look up and see what others have been doing. So, I’d say our partners Vodafone and Verizon have been great in keeping their digital services available to businesses and consumers, as well as helping their clients implement their business continuity plans.
What are your favourite tools to get the job done at the moment?
It’s still my phone, but not for its apps or connection to the internet – I have come to realise that picking up a phone and talking to someone is becoming a lost art. A good telephone conversation has a greater impact than any other form of communication (bar a face to face meeting) and we should do more of it.
The digital world is amazing, but I’m finding people like to hide behind the safety of an email or Slack message. I like to encourage my teams to speak face to face or just pick up the phone and talk to someone, you’ll be surprised how effective it is at getting stuff done!
What do you love about your job? What sucks?
I have an opportunity to bring our vision one step closer. Every entrepreneur has a passion to make their vision a reality. When our clients understand what we do and the difference it can make to their business you see them light up with excitement and truly come on-board. I’m lucky I get to see that passion in my company every day, and it provides us with limitless energy.
What sucks? It never happens quick enough!
What kind of goals do you have? What are the most useful metrics and KPIs for measuring success?
We operate a channel partner model so for us the key goals and metrics we have are simply the number of deployments of our analytics. Aside from that we also track the number of qualified leads my sales team can deliver by assisting our partners.
Ultimately, the definition of a good idea is if someone buys it, so the most useful metric is revenue.
What does long term planning and strategy look like now at your brand?
Fundamentally nothing has changed. When we get through this pandemic, we’ll still be working with partners in creating the best human experiences for clients. In the meantime we’re focused on helping as many enterprise organisations scale their digital solutions to improve their employee and customer experience.
How did you end up at Actual Experience, and where might you go from here?
My Co-founder Professor Jonathan Pitts and I met 10 years ago. I worked for Cisco at the time and Prof would come to me with big research ideas looking for feasibility in the business world. One of these ideas caught my attention, the ability to look at data across digital supply chains and create an experience score as a proxy for how a person would feel interacting with a digital service. I suggested he change a small part of it and eight years later he phoned me up and said he had done it. So I guess I’d say it’s about keeping your eyes and ears open.
We’re in a crucial period right now and if we get it right, we will become a globally successful FTSE 100 company. So in the future, I want to be at the helm as we grow the company globally.
What advice would you give a marketer starting out?
Don’t be afraid to speak up and share your ideas. Actual Experience was founded on a collaboration between Prof and I, without speaking out and testing our ideas we wouldn’t have the business we have today.
Be brave and link metrics to revenue as its key to securing funding for marketing projects.