Amazon’s Jeff Bezos received a lion’s share of the votes in the IA 25 Technology category. Despite attempts by the U.S. president to muddy his company’s name, Bezos (owner of The Washington Post) still is the man to beat when it comes to the ability to meld the latest technology with a variety of businesses.
The tech giant has integrated itself into consumers’ purchasing and entertainment, with healthcare activities — though a venture with Berkshire Hathaway and JP Morgan — and perhaps even banking on the horizon. The entrepreneur has said that the ability to make quick decisions, have “obsessive customer focus” and embrace large trends are some of the ways he keeps Amazon moving forward.
Could financial advice be next? Never underestimate Bezos. “Your margin is my opportunity,” he often says. Although he may be focused on healthcare now, perhaps the allure of the investment advisory business, as it rapidly assimilates robo-advisors and other technology, will be the next endeavor that attracts him.
The man behind one of the most tech-advanced firms in the business, TD Ameritrade Chief Information Officer Vijay Sankaran cites a company mantra, “transforming investing and lives for the better,” as a guide to the development and adaption of technology. The firm has introduced a “chatbot” to its retail clients and added voice-enabled search for stock quotes through Alexa, Amazon’s virtual aid.
Adapting to change is key, says Sankaran, a former Ford Motor executive, as disruption in all businesses has become a constant. He recommends that firms stay away from outdated thinking, such as traditional market segmentation, and figure out how they can best use data to improve their operations and their clients’ lives in the future.
With a focus on customer delivery systems, he opts for mobile first and then self-service platforms. He also says firms should “embrace the robo [and] see what it does and how it can add value.”
Sankaran summed up a 2017 industry speech by stating what firms need to do to stay ahead: automate, use data analytics, work with technology partners to integrate tools and interfaces, and take cybersecurity seriously.
Few people could lose or gain billions of dollars of personal wealth while giving Congressional testimony, but that was the case for 33-year-old Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder and CEO of Facebook. The Harvard dropout turned billionaire is now in the crosshairs of politicians for a data scandal involving as many as 87 million Facebook profiles. The social-media platform has more than 2 billion users worldwide and a market valuation of $480 billion.