Breaking out of the DevRel bubble - our conversation with Joan Mulvihill, Digitalisation & Sustainability Lead at Siemens. We discuss the big company perspective and how large organisations need help innovating and dealing with developers. We also discuss the openness so valued by developers and embraced by Siemens to tackle sustainability and every other challenge and responsibility facing their customers. A breath of fresh air! This conversation is particularly relevant to CEOs and business leaders feeling under pressure to deliver a digital transformation in their organisations. Joan is brilliant on the "value outcome" and breaks down the three options - a faster horse, a car or something different! Sit back and feel reassured and motivated as you listen to our conversation on software development and how the right questions at the outset and the right culture throughout an organisation, are essential for success.
Richard Rodger: [0:00:00] Welcome to the Voxgig Podcast. We talk to people in the developer community about developer relations, public speaking and community events. For more details, visit voxgig.com/podcast. All right, let's get started.
This podcast is about all things dev rel, but sometimes it's important not to get stuck in our own little bubble. To that end, today I'm speaking to Joan Mulvihill, a digitalization and sustainability lead at Siemens, also a landscape artist and formerly head of the Irish Internet Association. We talk about the big company perspective and how big companies can engage with developers.
And in particular, we talk about her work helping other large organizations innovate. Do they want faster horses, actual cars, or perhaps rocket ships? We also talk about her years running the Irish Internet Association, and how in a strange way it was a great preparation, especially for non-technical businesses, for dealing with COVID. All right, let's get started. [0:01:17]
Richard Rodger: [0:01:19] Joan, it is great to have you here today on the Voxgig podcast. How are things? [0:01:23]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:01:24] Great, really good. Lovely sunny, but frosty morning here in Mullingar. [0:01:27]
Richard Rodger: [0:01:28] Yeah, it has been a bit cold, -2 this morning here in Waterford. [0:01:33]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:01:33] Well, I'm in the midlands; it's a lot colder here. [0:01:35]
Richard Rodger: [0:01:35] Yeah, you win. You work for Siemens, and working for big companies, they tend tor have thousands and thousands of roles. And sometimes it's hard to tell what people do. So, tell us the title of your role, and then take us gently and slowly into what it is you do and explain all the acronyms. [0:01:57]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:01:59] Okay. I am the digitalization and sustainability lead at Siemens in Ireland, for Ireland, and I also work a little bit in the UK. That is my job title. And I am very grateful for a taxi journey I had at the start of the summer, when a taxi driver asked me what I did. And I ended up describing it, and then he said, "Hmm, so you're a digitalization coach?" And I said, "Actually, yes. You're better at this than I am." He was spot on.
And the reason I call it a digitalization coach is that if anyone's been through a coaching process, you'll know that the job of the coach is not to have all of the answers. The job of the coach is to recognize that the individual has the answer within themselves and to coach that out of them. And so, that's really my job. We work – I work across so many different businesses and customer types, in different forms of industry and manufacturing, whether they're making food, beverage- [0:03:03]
Richard Rodger: [0:03:03] You are talking with the customers. [0:03:04]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:03:05] Yes. I do talk to customers; yes, I work in an external facing role. They're all so different. It would be wrong to assume there is one digitalization strategy for all of them; there isn't. It is my job to – and our role within Siemens is to listen to those customers' needs and work with them on their digitalization strategy. And likewise, since I've taken on responsibilities also for sustainability over the last year, to do that also.
But my job is not to have all of the answers. I am unusual in Siemens in that I am not an engineer, by any shape or make or form. But I have so many amazing colleagues who are deep subject matter experts in loads of different areas, and my job is to be the coach and facilitate the bridging of those relationships. [0:03:59]
Richard Rodger: [0:04:00] So, when you say digitalization, walk me through – let's say I'm a manufacturing enterprise or something like that. What does that actually mean? What is the process? Do they know themselves that they need to do it and they come to you, or does- [0:04:16]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:04:18.] That's a super loaded question. It's really interesting and it means different things to different people. For me, I always get caught up on this idea that people talk about their digitalization strategy, like digitalization is somehow an end game. It's not; it's an enabler to achieve a value outcome.
What I would do as the coach with a business is explore what is the value outcome they are trying to achieve and then what is the appropriate digitalization strategy for them to help them reach that value outcome, to challenge them on what they think their value outcome really is. To my mind there are three types. Very happily, to Alex Osterwalder's mind – he of the Lean Canvas fame – also said there are three types. And his three types and my three types coincide completely. I call them Faster Horses, Cars and the Other Thing. So- [0:05:19]
Richard Rodger: [0:05:20] Okay. I like this. [0:05:22]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:05:23] So, if you ask the market what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse. Everybody knows- [0:05:28]
Richard Rodger: [0:05:28] Faster horses.
Joan Mulvihill: [0:05:28] -the story of Ford, and they said a faster horse. And a faster horse is a more efficient version of what you've currently gotten. So, it is a perfectly legitimate digitalization strategy to focus on a value outcome that is efficiency. A horse that runs faster, eats less hay, sleeps less, rarely gets injured.
Everybody wants that for their operation; let's just be more efficient. That is a legitimate value outcome: a faster horse. But then there's the other value outcome which is the car, which is understanding that all of my competitors are adopting technology and solving customers' needs with the latest and greatest of technology.
So, Alex Osterwalder calls faster horses Efficiency and he calls this one Sustaining, a sustaining strategy, not to be confused with sustainability, but sustaining one's position in the market. To stay relevant and competitive, we must adopt new technologies – the car, effectively – to satisfy our customers' needs. So, that is a completely legitimate digitalization strategy.
And then there's the third ones, the juicy ones. Alex Osterwalder calls it Disruptive Digitalization; I call it what the heck are you going there for? If you think about it, a faster horse and a car are both predicated on a customer's need to get from A to B as quickly as possible. Disruption is asking yourself: why are you going to B at all? Do we need to make this journey? Is there an entirely different way of satisfying this customer's needs?
This is the juicy stuff; this is the stuff that causes real disruption. This is often the thing that's done by small startups who don't have huge legacy things where they're trying to eke out efficiency. Or where they're got massive R&D departments to be running efficiency programs alongside the car program. So, disruption happens in the cracks and it's a really interesting, exciting space.
All three are legitimate digitalization strategies; all three deliver a value outcome for the end customer and – the end consumer and my customer, the intermediary, the person who's satisfying their needs. I like to work on all three. I personally, as with my artist mindset, love the disruption ones because they're really exciting.
But the others are brilliant in their own way. It's eking out those extra percentages in the efficiency one and it's looking at cool new ways of doing things in the car version. So, that's – and that's my role, is to help a customer understand what the value outcome is you're trying to achieve. And on that basis then match them to a roadmap. But you need to go – know where you're going before you'll put out a roadmap; otherwise there's loads of squiggles. [0:08:27]
Richard Rodger: [0:08:27] I love your metaphor. That is – that puts it very clearly. Most of the people you're dealing with, the clients or customers that are engaging with Siemens, they're larger enterprises, right? [0:08:37]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:08:40] Historically, Siemens have a very long track record in working with very large manufacturing organizations. That is a lot to do with our heritage, based in Germany and large automations multinationals there, whether it's the automotive industry or even our smart infrastructure background around trains and energy.
So, we do have all of that, but we recognize too that a lot of – as I mentioned before – that disruption, those opportunities to address big problems like sustainability, a lot of those are going to come from startups, from mid-size companies, scaling companies. And we want, and we do work with them already.
I was listening to – I was reading something recently from Larry Spink, and he said that a thousand of the next unicorns are going to come from climate tech. Now Siemens have a really long heritage in energy; we're very committed to sustainability. If these things are going to come out of climate tech, we want them to be powered by Siemens. We want to be on that journey with them, and I think that's really important.
And because we have 175 years of the – that really – I call it the elders of industry. You know the way in the UN they have the elders? I feel like we're the elders in tech. Because we have been through so much and we've been through the Industrial Revolution, the first one, never mind the fourth one. So, I think we're in a really well positioned place to do that.
And that's why. We're transforming; we have transformed as an organization ourselves, from that, as I say, large multinational, engineering, industrial automation organization, into this much more agile technology enterprise. Who is – I have this thing around perspective on problem; we talk about solving customers' problems and customers' pain points. And I'm going, "Gosh, who wants to start every conversation focused on pain. I would rather start conversations focused on opportunity." And so- [0:10:41]
Richard Rodger: [0:10:41] That's a useful one. [0:10:42]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:10:44] I think that there's so much positivity and opportunity that we can bring through digitalization, and that's how I want to look at problems. And that's how Siemens is doing that now, and creating this opportunity to work with customers in this very fresh way. [0:10:57]
Richard Rodger: [0:10:58] Looking back to that in a minute. But I want to ask you a difficult question, because the – suppose it's a terminology one. The usual term is digital transformation, but you're using the term digitalization, so can you relate those two for us? Are they – do you have a preference? Do they mean the same thing? Are they different? [0:11:20]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:11:23] I can take your hard question and say, "It's just semantics." For me, it's about understanding the digitalization, that we transform through digitalization, rather than transform to digitalization. Digitalization is not a destination. As I say, your value outcome is your destination and we transform through digital rather than transform to digital. And that's why I like to talk about digitalization rather than digital transformation. It gets a bit- [0:11:57]
Richard Rodger: [0:11:57] Are you able to give us any examples, even in a general sense, of what that process is like for a company? [0:12:06]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:12:11] The better way of looking at it is where industries have been transformed through digital, rather than looking at a company who has done a transformation. If you look at the obvious ones of the Ubers or the Airbnbs, these are disruptive technologies, disruptive business models that have transformed industries through the power of technology, by recognizing that from a disruption point of view, why are you going from A to B?
Why do you need to own – you don't need to own a hotel to provide an accommodation service, to satisfy a customer's needs, or is there another way of doing that? And that is looking at something from a completely fresh perspective. So, they are industries that have been transformed through the power of technology.
But if we look at really cool emerging technologies, if I was to look at healthcare and the opportunities that are arising now that are being empowered, enabled through digital, the adoption of digital, I think health is certainly one of them. When we look at how clinical trials will be done going forward; that remote patient monitoring, the idea that we're going to focus more on – and I don't want to talk about wellness.
But I want to talk about health and how we can manage our health rather than manage our sickness. And how some of our customers who are in the pharmaceutical sector or life sciences are looking at new ways of – their role in society, their role in sickness and health, if you know what I mean. Gosh, that swounds like a marriage: in sickness and in health.
If I was looking at drug company and saying, "Should we be focused – are we – our entire industry has been based on making drugs for the sick people. We need now, with all the power of all this data, to help people stay well." That's technology transforming industries to get better customer-patient outcome, and that's a neat example. [0:14:15]
Richard Rodger: [0:14:18] And then taking – I'm going to come at it from my perspective, which is the software developer tasked with the nuts and bolts of making all this stuff happen. And in my organization, we are engaging with Siemens to help build all the stuff that's 175 years, marvelous. But the developer world is – has moved towards valuing openness and access to the technology, and not having the technology behind garden walls.
So, where is Siemens in that particular trend? Or is Siemens embracing the fact that ultimately, on the ground there are these software developers who are going to have to do the digitalization? Is that something that Siemens as an entity is aware of or knows they need to engage with? [0:15:14]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:15:15] Not only aware of and engaging with – wholeheartedly embracing. And it has been phenomenal; I've seen the change. I've been in Siemens four years, which in Siemens terms makes me positively a baby, a rookie. But the change I've seen even in the last two years is phenomenal and it is all around that.
So, to tell this story of who we are – our experience, as you mentioned earlier on, is in – a lot of it is in large manufacturing industry, and we work very much in that physical world. We are very familiar with the nuts, bolts and every line of code that exist within the four walls of a manufacturing side, and that is operational technology.
But we recognize that to leverage the power of data, we're much more in that software space around information technology. And there's this huge convergence happening now between OT and IT. Developers will certainly be seeing that on the ground if they're in the manufacturing sector and space.
And again, Siemens have moved from this industrial engineering company to this technology company. And in recognizing that, people will see a real change in terms of Siemens and how brandkit agnostic we are and can be, and how we are now wholly committed to and embracing interoperability and open platforms.
Earlier this summer – and you did not know this – but earlier this summer, we launched Accelerator, which is exactly that. Siemens recognize – and again, it's very much this elders mindset that we have, is that we're not going to solve the big problems on our own. 175 years of experience and 350-80,000 employees: you still can't do it all on your own.
Because we now all, through globalization and through the kind of big problems that the world has to solve, we need to collaborate to do that; we need partners to do that. No-one can do all of it nor should anyone do all of it. So, we created this open platform so that we can pull together the ecosystem of the partners that we work with, so that people can use and leverage our technology in a way that works best for them.
And we are wholly committed to that – that's – we are putting our lives on the line on that. And when your line is 175 years long, you don't make those calls lightly. So, it's a really exciting time, but it's recognizing who we are as a technology company now and coming well out of our- [0:17:56]
Richard Rodger: [0:17:58] What is Accelerator?
Joan Mulvihill: [0:18:01] Accelerator is an open platform for – to allow companies to work and engage with Siemens in a different way, with all of our partners. You will be able to pull from that whatever – whoever partners you need to work with, we would have this open platform, so that you can solve problems using whatever technologies you want. And that if you're – it's not all about Siemens end to end. It's about a blended approach and providing this platform that you can work with us in whatever way you want to with what other partners that you want. We can't do all of it all of ourselves. [0:18:34]
Richard Rodger: [0:18:35] It's – again from the pure software development perspective, what we've seen ourselves is companies like Stripe, the payments platform, founded by Irish entrepreneurs of course. One of the reasons that they have been really successful – apart from all the Silicon Valley money. But one of the reasons that they saw massive adoption is, what they brought to the payment space was extremely well documented.
Extremely open APIs for integrating with their systems, as opposed to all of the other payment technologies – and I've been building these things for many years. And you know all about building websites, having done the – having run the Irish Internet Association for years. But setting up credit card payments in websites in the last 20 years has been awful, horrible experience, because a lot of it was quite closed.
What Stripe brought to the table, and part of the reason they're a success and a decacorn now, I think, 10 billion, is embracing openness. And seeing that with larger organizations like Siemens is a breath of fresh air. Having worked with large organizations who shall remain nameless, in previous lives, where it's like, "You need to pay 20 grand to be in our partner program and then we'll give you the documentation." The world has changed; you can't do that anymore. [0:20:07]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:20:08] The world has changed; you can't do that anymore. People want – they want greater flexibility. And what we want to recognize is that you may – historically, I look at a manufacturing site. It's a Siemens site; it's a – and I could name all our competitors and their sites. But we'll say, "That's no barrier. That's no barrier to working with us. It's no barrier to working with them."
If you've got a site that's got somebody else's kit in it, that doesn't mean that we cannot help you on your digitalization journey. It does not mean we cannot help you, because actually, we want to be interoperable. That's -- we recognize that the value outcome is more important than what piece of hardware you have necessarily in there.
And what's really interesting now – and I see this in manufacturing a lot – is that hardware/software. If you look at the really successful technology companies, there's always this – the Apples of this world. They recognize that hardware and software are completely interlinked. And we've got this hardware background, but we have also got this great expertise in software, and merging those two together and having the sensibility for that.
So, I always talk about, as I say, a digital twin. Siemens have been leading the way on digital twin for years. But what we bring to the table is this phenomenal expertise and knowledge of the original. If you're going to make a twin, you've got to know the DNA of the original; map it. And because we have such a grounding in the physical world, our capacity to build for the meta world, the metaverse, the digital version, the virtual version, is unparalleled, because we have this deep understanding of the physical. So, we're uniquely positioned in that way.
Now I know you don't want this and I don't want this to be a broadcast sponsored by Siemens; it's not. But it's more about how the world recognizes problems. And also, you've raised a really important point: the critical role of the developer community in all of this. In the end, they have phenomenal power. They have phenomenal power to wield within their organizations and influence, in terms of: these are the tolls that we want to work with. This is how we can best achieve an outcome.
And I saw that back in the early days, pre-Stripe. Realex Payments built their entire payments business on building out that relationship with the developer community. Because they intuitively, tacit understanding of their power within organizations, that these people genuinely know and understand their businesses really well, and we should listen to them. And that's even – for Siemens that really important, and that we're recognizing that. Is that we need, all of us need, to make our tools really useful and accessible to the people who are building in them.
And I keep talking about a human centered metaverse, and I chaired a panel on the future of technology at a big conference during the summer, and I interviewed our CIO of Siemens globally and – Peter Koerte. And he talked – I was so thrilled. He was talking about design thinking and he was talking about human centered design. I was going, "Thanks be to goodness." This is really important. We need to have tools that real humans are very happy to work with; real developers are very happy to build on. That's really important.
And user experience in the consumer IT world is phenomenal. In the industrial world, it's always been a little bit more clunky, and we recognize that. And we want to – we are now, through Accelerator, and a huge amount of work has been done. And we're still – a lot of people don't know this. We're one of the biggest software companies, in the world, industrial software; we've been building software for years. But people don't recognize us as a software company, and we are.
It is hardcore in our DNA as well. Yes, we have built for the physical world, but we've been around for a long time, and we have been building software for a long time too. So, we understand that, and now we need to – we're working on this – those same core principles but actually opening it out and recognizing that we don't solve all problems by ourselves. And also that convergence of IT and OT and our role in that is really important. [0:24:18]
Richard Rodger: [0:24:19] I'm pretty sure there's going to be quite a few developer relations roles opening up in Siemens pretty soon on the back of that. I want to – just to close out. So, that, it's all super interesting, and sometimes in the mainstream developer world, which is all ecommerce and websites and all that sort of stuff, you tend to forget that software controls real world stuff, that people die if you don't get it right. The quality has to be quite high. [0:24:44]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:24:46] And I think particularly because of our experience in the physical world, that is really embedded in the mindset of all of our developers. Because we're – whatever about social media or other platforms where the customer – you're pretty much buyer beware and you use it at your own risk. So, you use social media at your own risk. You may-
But – and if – but you don't use physical world engineering at your own risk. When you're building, an engineer for an airplane or a bridge, it's not optional that the bridge might – the plane might fall out of the sky. This is not like – get on the plane. It should be okay, but I hope your seat was comfortable. This is not about your comfort and your user – this is safety first. And our experience in that physical world and our safety first is – oh my goodness. That is so heavy in the culture of Siemens, in everything we do, down to how I sit in my chair. [0:25:48]
Richard Rodger: [0:25:49] That's a little bit of – yeah, it's a little bit of culture we could use on this side. I do remember talking to a client a couple of years ago, and their developers were building a system that used Amazon. And they pressed the wrong button or deployed the wrong thing and used far too many resources. Came in on Monday morning, 20 grand bill. Whoopsie! At the same time, nobody died. [0:26:15]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:26:16] Well, this is the thing I've been saying. Hey, nobody died. We work in high-risk environments, where we take the possibility of someone dying so – this is serious stuff. And so, everything we do is anchored in security, safety. And that is everything from – all the cyber security elements, that's in our DNA, but also the physical safety of people wandering around floors. We're putting large scale robotics into industrial automation and then the digitalization element on top of this. No-one better get hurt; this is serious stuff.
And even into everything that we do in terms of smart cities and things running on time and mobility, and as I say, our energy business, all of this keep people safe. All of our users have to be safe al of the time. That is – there is no waiver; there's no grey areas at the edge of that. It is all of our users, all of our people, all of our customers, all of the time.
It's a zero-sum game; there is no – we have a whole program called Zero Harm. And that is everything to do with the environment, to people, to customers, every single piece of it. And so, that has not necessarily been - the pressure. It's not their fault, but the pressure is not the same when you're developing - making software- [0:27:36]
Richard Rodger: [0:27:36] No, it isn't.
Joan Mulvihill: [0:27:37] -for an enterprise solution. Because no-one's going to die if it goes wrong. You might lose money, but it's not life or death. [0:27:41]
Richard Rodger: [0:27:42] But at the same time, we could do with a little bit more emphasis on quality and all that sort of stuff. Let's close out. I wanted to briefly talk about something that's close to my heart, because I remember quite fondly from my early days in the internet industry in Ireland.
My old boss was part of – Fred Crowe – was part of setting it all up, the Irish Internet Association, which you led a couple of years back and did all sorts of wonderful stuff. Tell us briefly about that and what did you guys achieve there and everything? Because it's unsung, I think. [0:28:18]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:28:21] I love to sing about it. It was truly a joyful seven years of my life. I loved every moment of that. I was terrified for the first half of it and then I found my flow. But I was CEO of the Irish Internet Association from November 2009 until October 2016. Is that seven years? Yes. And that was a lovely time. We did cool stuff, I hope.
But if I was to sum it up, I'm going to give credit to Dermot Casey. I don't know if you know Dermot; he's CEO of the IRDG now. But I remember at the start of lockdown, he sent me a text message, and it was the nicest thing, more than any award or anything you could ever want. He sent me a text message and he said, "Joanie, in case anyone forgets to tell you, the work you did in the IIA was important. Because there are businesses now, through lockdown, who are still functioning as retailers because of all the work you guys did on getting businesses to embrace ecommerce."
And he said, "And the people who are successfully working from home now is in no small part due to the fact that you guys spent years telling people to move to the cloud." And then he said – and the best bit was the grandparents who are now FaceTime-ing their grandchildren or using smartphones or whatever, to stay in touch. And that was because all of the work you guys did in Digitizination."
So, for me, that was the defining moment. It happened three years after I left. I get a lump of my throat even talking about it. It was one of the nicest messages I've ever received. And when I look back, that was the best bit. And I made myself redundant from that role, and that's really important. And I think of why I did that or how that came about, but in my mind, our mission was to make Ireland a leading web-enabled economy.
And when I look then at Dermot's summation of how web-enabled we were, which was a real test during COVID, I said, "Yeah, because our job was done." And as a non-profit with that kind of mission, your job is to make yourself redundant; that is success. And now maybe this is the rose-tinted hindsight that I'm looking at things through, but that was a measure of success is the fact that I had to make myself redundant. Because the job was done, and – [0:30:59]
Richard Rodger: [0:30:59] I think you're right. I remember the early days of the Irish internet, trying to sell websites to people. And they'd look at you going – like you have two heads. It's like, "Why on earth"- [0:31:10]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:31:10] Why would you want one of those? [0:31:11]
Richard Rodger: [0:31:12] People can phone me. I don't know why; why do I need a website? And it's easy to assume now that of course you're going to be online. Of course, you're going to have social media engagement. Of course, you're going to have a digitalization strategy and all this type of stuff. But we were only very recently at this point. Even in- [0:31:35]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:31:37] It seems like just a few years ago for me, but then I realize I'm 50 in May, and I was in my 30s then. And I never worked in tech before, which was ridiculous; I even get the job was still an astonishment to me. But careers are made of strange and unusual choices: courage by ourselves to take different paths and courage by employers, I always think, to hire the leftfield candidate. And I encourage; always find the leftfield candidate. It's amazing what the imposter will bring to a scenario, because they look at everything. [0:32:07]
Richard Rodger: [0:32:07] That's so true. We find that a lot in the developer relations community as well, that it's not just people who are traditionally developers that end up doing it. People come into it from marketing and all sorts of stuff. So, it's good to have a role model for somebody who completely blags their way in, which is great. [0:32:07]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:32:07 I – the term I have been introduced to by a colleague in Siemens has been the term of flaneuring; je suis une flaneuse. And it's – to flaneur is to wander without an apparent sense of direction, while secretly attuned to the streets that you walk in covert search of the adventure and the aesthetic. And I like to think of myself as a flaneur and I embrace all of the other flaneurs out there who are wandering maybe without a linear sense of direction on their CV, but are always attuned to opportunity.
And people ask me, "Why did you go and work for Siemens?" It seems like you (inaudible, 0.33.00) the IIA. And I said, "Good people solving exciting problems and embracing big challenges." And that's all you want in life, to be attuned to that, to be attuned to the good people trying to do the good things. And that's why I chose Siemens; that's why I'm here.
And – but I do think the – and actually – and I love the fact that they were courageous enough to hire the person who's not an engineer, who's an artist in her spare time, and the mindsets that you bring to that. But I can't – I want to be really careful, to say something. I can't leave the bit – the reference to the IIA without saying there were two of us.
There was myself and [Elva Lee?] 0:33:41 was the other half of the Irish Internet Association. And also, there were these amazing volunteers through the working groups, who made things like the NSAI SWiFT 10 a reality; who made Eight Ways to Sell More Stuff, our ecommerce program that we ran for years and years. And the sponsors we had for Digitizination and our training partners in those.
I was literally steering a ship, but there were so many people in the pulling and the rowing of all of that, and we were all in it together. And I took a lot of direction from them; that's the role and it's to listen. And to be a good CEO is to understand what's going on with your customers, and our customers were our constituents as well. So, it was a massive team effort and just a real- [0:34:27]
Richard Rodger: [0:34:27] Fair play to them at the time. [0:34:28]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:34:29] -a real privilege to have done it. [0:34:30]
Richard Rodger: [0:34:31[ Wonderful stuff. Joan, thank you so much. It's been super interesting. A really good perspective, especially how the – this openness, which we as developers value so much, is starting to seep into other things. That's – just to take forward in your work in Siemens. The openness stuff is the thing that gets the developers going, because we want to get in there and play with stuff straight away. And the more that that happens, the better, the more engagement you get. [0:35:00]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:35:01] We do a lot of collaboration with universities and research centers and we'd like to do more, certainly in Ireland; I would like us to do a lot more here. But I do think it is; it's really important that we – when you hear things like the next 1,000 unicorns are going to come from climate tech, they're not – mostly, those are not going to come from existing businesses.
They're scaling businesses that we may not even have heard of now or disruptive startups. So, there's a massive opportunity. And because we're so rooted in keeping people safe – and I think of sustainability and I think of the challenges the world is facing and the global sustainability goals, we're well positioned to help people with that. [0:35:45]
Richard Rodger: [0:35:46] It's going to be super interesting to watch. Thank you so much, it has been wonderful. [0:35:50]
Joan Mulvihill: [0:35:51] Thank you.
Richard Rodger: [0:35:52] Bye-ye.
Joan Mulvihill: [0:35:53] Bye-bye.
Richard Rodger: [0:35:54] You can find the transcript of this podcast and any links mentioned on our podcast page at Voxgig.com/podcast. Subscribe for weekly editions, where we talk to the people who make the developer community work. For even more, read our newsletter. You can subscribe at Voxgig.com/newsletter, or follow our Twitter @voxgig. Thanks for listening. Catch you next time. [0:36:21]