#85 - Product Innovation: The difference AI can add in making our meetings worthwhile

An interview with Omar Tawakol, CEO of Voicea

This podcast interview focuses on product innovation that has the power to democratize the skills of great leaders and make every one of us more productive. My guest is Omar Tawakol.

Product InnovationOmar Tawakol is Chief Executive Officer of Voicea which was recently acquired by Cisco.

Prior to Voicea, Omar Tawakol was the founder and CEO of BlueKai which was the leading Data Exchange and Data Management Platform company in the marketing industry.  Oracle acquired BlueKai in 2014.  At Oracle, Omar was the SVP & GM of the Oracle Data Cloud (ODC).  The ODC pioneered the Data-as-a-Service category and was used by 97 of the top 100 US brands to create a 360o view of their customers across all channels.

Omar earned an MS in CS from Stanford (BS, MIT) where he researched and published work on AI agents.

Their promise: “Voicea transforms your meetings into time well spent”. This inspired me, hence I invited Omar to my podcast. We explore what’s broken in our busy business life that are increasingly loaded with meetings, and what can be if technology and people blend in the right way.

Here are some of his quotes:

I was running the Oracle Data Cloud after Oracle acquired my company BlueKai.

I’d meet with some great leaders like Satya at Microsoft, of course, Larry Ellison, sir Martin Sorrell, just great business leaders.

What struck me when I’d meet them is that they’d be in a meeting with me completely focused on our conversation. They didn’t have their laptop open so that they could take notes and then get distracted. They weren’t looking at their phone, they were looking at me.

And when they left the meeting, there was an email with a follow up, and you realize, of course, they have a staff around them. That’s helping them, but they also had some excellent skills themselves. And so, given how much time we spend in meetings, it’s one of the largest time sinks of all knowledge workers, I saw that there was an opportunity really to help democratize the skills of these great executives.

During this interview, you will learn four things:

  1. That a new generation of applications is arising around the concept of a Voice First UI – and that this could open up a wealth of innovation opportunities for you
  2. Why the best way to solve a problem is often to do the very opposite of peoples’ natural reaction. Voicea for example transforms habits such as the fear of missing out to the joy of missing out.
  3. How big impact is created by looking for areas where you can have a position of  data advantage or ideally data dominance.
  4. Why you should aim to embed elements of virality in your solution – elements that people talk about, and create desire amongst others.


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