|Name: Charles Speidel
Title: Vice President of Research and Innnovation
Birthplace: Decize, a small town in Central France
First job: Selling Advertising in BtB magazine
What was your big break: after 5 years in small publishing company in France I felt like playing in minor league, so started looking for new opportunity in major league, Sony came about and recruited me as sales reps in Paris region
Best business decision: My previous job at Sony before US was to manage consumer business in Scandinavia, I was looking after 5 countries (Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and the Baltics region) at that time this organization was managed country by country, very quickly I realized that we would gain efficiency and have better execution of our go to market strategies by changing the organization from a country approach to a channel approach thus centralizing the organization and eliminate many duplications. We had 5 advertising agencies we ended up with one, we had 5 sales team we ended with one, we had 5 marketing team we ended up with one, all the organization was focused on same goal… all this allowed us to gain significant share across the board and improved our bottom line.
Essential business philosophy: Have fun and make profit
Best way to keep a competitive edge: My belief is that business is about people, so hire and retain the best, it is also about leadership so as a leader you must create the environment where your people have fun and develop themselves to perform at their best.
Biggest missed opportunity: During my first job in publishing I had the opportunity to create my own magazine, after a few month of creating the business plan I gave up not taking the risk, I will never know if I could have been successful!!!
Biggest ongoing challenge: Focus and execution are probably the biggest challenge in large organization, we have many product lines and a rather large organization with many departments so to add value you must always focus your energy and efforts on high value added items that will make the difference and execute with perfection.
Significant business mistake(s): keeping information to yourself to exercise management power, this is probably a mistake that many of us has made when you get the opportunity to first manage someone or a small team and it happened to me as well.
Most important lesson learned: as a leader you must walk the talk, always be yourself follow your values and understand others values
Most proud of: Allegra my wife who always guides me and support me and my kids Fidelia and Leopoldo who reminds me always that life is not only about work.
Goals yet to be achieved: live and visit as many countries as possible that we have not visited or lived in yet with my family
What is the secret to your success: never giving up and always being passionate about what I do
What is the next big game changer in tech: I wish I had a crystal ball to tell you! But I don’t, I can foresee though, the emergence of mobile devices with more apps to come that will help people in their life, I can see also a clear trend in consumers who wants to consume content through devices on their terms where they want and when they want, and last but not least I believe there are big differences between my 11-year-old boy and my 16-year-old girl and tech will have to solve their different needs.
If you weren’t in high tech, you would be: in sports probably in Soccer, I am French and soccer over there is very popular, I love this sport as it brings a lot of emotion to me, it is very similar to business, you have to have the right skills, you have to have a strategy, you have to execute it and you have to play as a team to win and when you win it brings to you lots of happiness and positive emotions.
Most like to meet: Charles de Gaulle, unfortunately passed away. He was a great French president, he truly stuck to his values and never compromised.
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