Talking tech since 2003

Capital One recently hosted a panel discussion at Boston’s Outside the Box, a performing arts festival designed to engage, educate, and entertain people, where the topic of conversation amongst the panelists revolved around reimagining perspectives and identifying gaps, challenges, and opportunities within their industries and creating new and unique solutions that affect how customers, and the population as a whole, live every day.

The panel was moderated by Mario Armstrong, Host of NeverSettle.TV & NBC TODAY Show Contributor and featured five panelists from several industries: Feng Chang, Director of Digital Marketing Strategy at Rue La La, Jim Kresge, Head of Digital Commerce Engineering at Capital One, Dave McLaughlin, General Manager of Eastern U.S. & Canada at WeWork, Pat Petitti, CEO & Co-Founder at HourlyNerd, and Wombi Rose, CEO & Co-Founder at Lovepop Cards.  

CapXTalk panel.

Armstrong started off the panel by asking what reimagining perspectives means to each of them.

It was interesting to hear each of their responses, especially since their industries and experience vary greatly, so each panelist provided a unique answer.

Wombi Rose, Lovepop Cards: To me, that means reimagining greeting cards. It means taking ideas that have been so prominent and taking a completely different look at them.

Pat Petitti, HourlyNerd: To HourlyNerd, that means changing the way companies get work done. Today, it is hard to access the most talented young people. Companies need to be structured and built for the world of technology, and we’re connected them with the right talent to get the work done.

Dave McLaughlin, WeWork: Work should be thought of in a completely different way. At WeWork, we want people to be able to start businesses and pursue their dreams in a more nimble way – to be part of a community locally, and also all over the world.

Jim Kresge, Capital One: To me, that means uncovering how we can work with technology every day and figuring out how technology is going to change the world. At Capital One, we’re reimagining what it means to be a banking institution.

Feng Chang, Rue La La: At our core, Rue La La is an online shopping destination, but we’re reimagining perspectives to connect with our customers wherever she is. It means finding out all of the places we can “touch her” and how her daily activities relate to fashion.

Question two zoomed in on the Boston area and how it has helped expand business.

I really liked Dave McLaughlin’s answer, “What I find amazing about Boston is that it is so mappable – it is big enough to have a critical mass, but small enough so that you’re always one introduction away from whoever you want to talk to.” Having recently been in Boston for business I can attest to this statement.

For question three, we zoomed out into a more macro view. Armstrong asked what are some of the challenges that you face and how have you reimagined your business to get around those problems?

Feng Chang’s response really rang true with me, especially as the publishing industry is facing a very similar shift. “Rue La La started as a desktop experience, but the industry has evolved and things have become increasingly mobile. Our challenge is thinking about where our customer is today – we know that she spends 2-3 hour surfing the Internet most likely on a mobile device. Our challenge is to be omnichannel and reach her wherever she is, but we also want to make it a differentiated experience.”

At the end, Armstrong posed the following question to the panel: what kind of food for thought or tips do you have for people trying to reimagine themselves?

The answers to this question were some of my favorite.

Wombi Rose, Lovepop: It’s becoming easier and easier to do what you love. It’s not necessarily about launching a platform/business for everybody. It’s about knowing who you are and what you get excited about and figuring out how to do that. Once you’ve identified what you care about, that’s what you should throw yourself into. It’s a purpose-driven philosophy.

Dave McLaughlin, WeWork: Even if the thing that you love failed, you wind up building knowledge and a skill set that makes you valuable to someone else.

Pat Petitti, HourlyNerd: You will never succeed if you don’t get really comfortable really fast with failing.

Feng Chang, Rue La La: Think big, but start small. Be bold with your ideas, but you don’t need the 100% solution immediately. 

You can find the full panel discussion here.

Thanks to Capital One for sponsoring this post.

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