Forum on World Class IT - 363 Interviews and Podcasts

Welcome to the Forum on World Class IT podcast series, a collection of exclusive interviews with Chief Information Officers and other IT industry thought leaders. Learn from the experts on how best to establish a truly World Class IT organization.

Podcast tags Archives: Education

Sebastian Thrun, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Udacity

In this interview, Sebastian Thrun, CEO of Udacity, a for-profit education company offering MOOCs, discusses World Class IT principle one, People, principle four, IT & Business Partnerships, principle five, External Partnership, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The motivations and influences in launching the Udacity project
  • How Udacity aims to solve the real problem of “access” to higher education
  • The competitive landscape and business strategy for Udacity and other MOOCs
  • The metrics used to assess Udacity’s performance
  • Eye on the Trends: MOOCs will complement as opposed to replace the traditional university learning, which provides a fundamentally different experience to students

Mike Feerick, CEO and Founder of ALISON

In this interview, Mike Feerick, Founder and CEO of ALISON, discusses World Class IT principle four, IT & Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The strategy behind ALISON’s focus on corporate and vocational training content online
  • ALISON’s revenue model and and key performance indicators used
  • How ALISON functions as a filter for the content that exists online in the vocational space
  • The promise that education technology and MOOCs have in transforming education around the world
  • Eye on the Trends: There will be great emphasis on skills-based hiring in the future, a departure from the traditional route that heavily weights an applicant’s college or university name, and ALISON is positioning itself to provide employers with such candidates

Salman Khan, Executive Director and Founder of Khan Academy

In this interview, Salman Khan, Executive Director and Founder of Khan Academy, a leader in online education, discusses World Class IT principle four, IT-Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The genesis of the idea behind Khan Academy
  • Khan Academy’s aim to fill skill and knowledge gaps but not to compete with or replace the physical classroom
  • Khan Academy’s revenue model and examples of performance metrics used
  • How Khan Academy scales and develops its team
  • Eye on the Trends: Khan Academy, like other MOOCs, will further enable access to the best education and push for a competency based education and hiring system – a departure from the current setup that give excessive importance to an institute’s brand name

Simon Nelson, Chief Executive Officer of FutureLearn

In this interview, Simon Nelson, CEO of FutureLearn, a prominent MOOC, discusses World Class IT principle four, IT-Business Partnerships, with Metis Strategy. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • Simon’s vision for FutureLearn, and how he started the company
  • How he has leveraged his non-academic background to run a MOOC
  • FutureLearn’s revenue model, and what Simon thinks about his company’s position vis-à-vis traditional educational institutions and other MOOCs
  • How FutureLearn engages cultural institutions to enhance its product
  • Eye on the Trends: Mobile learning, changing technology to make MOOC learning more conducive to non-STEM subjects

Scott Phoenix, Co-Founder of Vicarious

In this interview, Scott Phoenix, Co-Founder of Vicarious discusses World Class IT Principle One, People, and Principle Two, Infrastructure. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The Artificial General Intelligence differs from Artificial Narrow Intelligence
  • How Vicarious is applying cognitive science to build next generation general intelligence algorithms
  • How AI may replace more jobs than it creates, and new economic and social constructs that could ease the societal shift
  • Vicarious’s decision to prioritize social good over investor returns, and why more companies should do the same
  • How Vicarious assembled an all-star group of investors including Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, and more
  • Education and if entrepreneurship can be taught in the classroom
  • The balance between the promise and peril of AI
  • World’s Fair style demonstrations of AI, including the recent AlphaGo win and Vicarious’s 2013 cracking of CAPTCHA
  • How Scott thinks about staffing, and how Vicarious’s bold mission acts as a magnet for top talent

Nick Bostrom, Author of Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies

In this interview, Nick Bostrom, Author of Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies discusses World Class IT Principle One, People, and Principle Four, IT & Business Partnerships. Some of the topics discussed include:

  • The increasing need for a focus on ethical behavior in a technology-driven world
  • The role of existential risks in the field of research
  • Current trends that are fueling the advancement of artificial intelligence
  • The inherent implications that artificial intelligence has on the human civilization
  • The complication that artificial intelligence presents as it is introduced to the business landscape
  • The Future of Humanity Institute that he oversees
  • People of influence on Nick’s personal development and the work he conducts

Sunil Gupta, Edward W. Carter Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School

In this interview, Peter High speaks with Sunil Gupta, the Edward W. Carter Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Among the topics they discuss include:

  • The four parts of an organization that should be the focus on any digital transformation effort, including business strategy and business model, internal operations, customer touchpoints, and skills and operating model.
  • Gupta believes that transformation should begin with an examination of customer pain points, rather than bigger technology changes.
  • How the blurring of industrial boundaries is forcing companies to ask, “What business am I in,” and develop competitive advantages by creating compliments and network effects.
  • How Best Buy redefined its business to successfully compete with Amazon by changing its cost structure with the store-within-a-store model, and then used that revenue to build out service and subscription offerings.
  • How the New York Times successfully moved to a profitable subscription model, despite traditional media facing challenges in realizing significant online advertising revenue.
  • How John Deere changed its business model and began hiring data scientists after realizing it wasn’t in the business of selling farm equipment, but rather, was in the business of farm management and making farmers more productive.
  • How the nature of competition has shifted from across products to across ecosystems and platforms, and why companies should look to partner externally to succeed here.
  • Why innovation labs alone are not effective, and companies instead need to focus on transforming the core of their business proposition and not just the sides.
  • The responsibility senior management has to retrain employees in order to stay competitive, and how Unilever has done so by pairing junior and senior employees to create a diverse mentorship platform.
  • Advice on how to pitch a multi-year digital transformation to a skeptical management team or board