Jeff Sippel serves as Chief Technology Officer for edō and is responsible for the strategy, planning and execution for the systems that power the edō offer platforms. Prior to this role, Jeff held a series of key executive roles at Orbitz Worldwide.
1. Today, you hear a lot about ‘Big Data.’ What is an example of a company that has made the most intelligent use of the increasingly large, fragmented and valuable inputs of Big Data? Why has it been a success?
JS: Because the use of Big Data tools like Hadoop and Map/Reduce allow you to massively scale your ability to gain insight, it isn’t easy to understand who has made the most of these new technologies. Clearly, Google, Facebook and Twitter couldn’t have existed without solving these problems, but there are a host of smaller companies from my former employer Orbitz to dating siteokcupid. I am particularly interested in what Narrative Science is doing using algorithms to write news stories.
2. Technology is changing how people buy as Convergence of digital, personalization and mobile is shaping the Future of Shopping, if you had to choose 2 areas that will impact retail the most, what would they be & why?
JS: The combination of extremely efficient supply chains and mobile price comparison is making life very difficult for traditional retailers. I have friends who have walked into a store to buy a TV, pulled out their phone, and asked the sales person to match the price on the screen…and if they didn’t match, purchased the TV on the phone instead.
3. What will be the biggest challenges for Chief Technology Officers within the next few years?
JS: As more companies build the foundations of their businesses around technology, a CTO is no longer the smartest techie in the room. More and more, they are leading product management, weighing in on corporate strategic direction, and debating statistics with PhD’s. So being able to understand and be the leader in all those spaces is going to a real challenge.
4. What is your go-to ‘app’ for keeping current with news, marketing & the world?
JS: Its funny, but I don’t have a single place for news. Google News is probably the closest thing. But I read a bunch of blogs, including Rimm Kauffman Group’s marketing blog, Joel on Software, and probably a bunch more.
5. What was the best piece of advice someone gave you within your career?
JS: I forgot who gave this to me, but someone told me to focus on the hard challenges. You never know what you are capable of it you don’t try something difficult. I guess it’s a little like skiing – if you aren’t falling, you aren’t learning.