Execs of the 2017: Digital Media Biz CEOs Talk Best Innovations of the Year

Execs of the 2017: Digital Media Biz CEOs Talk Best Innovations of the Year

The most demanding and responsible person in a company must not only oversee every aspect of an enterprise, but must also serve as its vision. The buck truly stops at the CEO’s desk.

As part of XBIZ World’s “Execs of the Year” special issue, these top decision-makers share their take on the most innovative developments of the year.

Encouraging the entire team to share their ideas for the future of Chaturbate gives everyone the confidence necessary to suggest innovative features that keep us ahead of the curve in what we can offer our site users. -Shirley Lara, Chaturbate

Each of the executives we spoke to below is among the finalist nominees for Chief Executive of the Year in the digital edition of the 2018 XBIZ Exec Awards.

How do you inspire your team to fulfill your company’s vision?

Cathy Beardsley

“At SegPay, we understand that employees are a company’s No. 1 asset. I try to communicate a clear plan and vision to our team members so that they are engaged and excited and understand their role in our company’s success. Clear and consistent communication is essential for running a top-notch organization. I hold quarterly team meetings to chart our progress, highlight success stories and discuss what we need to do to keep the organization moving forward. When the entire team is invested in our mission, SegPay wins — and so do our merchants.”

Mitch Farber

“My team is extremely self-motivated as am I. I truly believe that because of the passion and excitement that I work with, those qualities rub off on my staff and their team members as well. When that doesn’t work, we order them pizza.”

Cristina Vasile
Rich Girls Studio

“I always like to lead by example! I work side by side with Rich Girls’ team on our new projects and ideas. I always have an ear open for them. I get their feedback and I make them feel exactly as they are: important and respected! I like to think that we, at Rich Girls Studios, are a big happy, family, we work hard together and also we party a lot together. I am a strong believer in our company’s vision and I always talk passionately about it. Definitely, this is obvious for my staff and it’s also contagious.”

Jon Buckheit
Adult FriendFinder

“At FriendFinder, we have a significant record of accomplishments to live up to. We created the first online dating site, the first large-scale affiliate program, and many of the techniques for measuring various internet business metrics such as ad performance and rotation were developed as internal tools here long before they were commercially available. We’re all inspired to continue innovating on top of this track record, and most importantly, delivering the best experience possible for all of our customers.”

Zsolt Theiss-Balazs

“I know everyone on my team personally and I always assign tasks based on people’s skill set. Another very important factor is giving clear goals and setting the direction the team is moving in. Only together are we able to make 35 million users happy every day, and to reach the successes that inspire us.”

Shirley Lara

“Encouraging the entire team to share their ideas for the future of Chaturbate gives everyone the confidence necessary to suggest innovative features that keep us ahead of the curve in what we can offer our site users. I always show respect for their individual talents, hard work, and dedication and let them know I genuinely care about them, so they know they are valued. Mutual respect is the key to achieving Chaturbate’s continued growth and further success.”

Mitch Platt

“One of my key roles is to set my team(s) up for success and make sure they are in the right environment to fulfill their potential. Over the last year, I’ve been thinking a lot about teams that work well and how they get the most out of each member. And I’ve been gathering data. Vendo is really a data-driven company. I also have a friend at Google (another team!) who is trying to do the same thing. We recently completed a one year course together on social/emotional intelligence, human potential, and transformational leadership. She’s got a lot more data. Here’s a question we both asked: ‘What makes teams perform really well?’ Together we pooled our knowledge and went to work on answering this question. What we discovered and what I am applying at Vendo with growing success today is that you need three components to inspire teams and individuals: a clear vision, psychological security, and shared norms.

Clear Vision. A vision has to be memorable. It needs to orientate people in the right direction when they are in doubt or have a question. And it should inspire. Our vision is ‘To Create Experiences That Will Improve People’s Lives.’ Empowering!

Psychological Security. I want my teams and team members to take risks, to debate, to responsibly share their emotions like fear and anger, and above all trust each other. Having psychological security in the workplace fosters engagement and empowers teams to fulfill their potential. One of the ways that we do that is right at the start of a meeting. Before we do anything else we begin by creating trust and talking about what we want. We ask someone to share three things. It’s highly structured. Each person has two minutes to share a success, a failure and a risk they recently took. Then there’s one minute for each person to give feedback to the group. Doing this at the beginning of the meeting creates a different environment for the team. How so? Well, we are all primed to talk about risks, failures, and successes. (We were already OK with the success part). It instantly creates the kind of trust teams need to outperform. It’s a sort of little magic tool for high-performing teams. It also helps you understand what your team members want. Their successes remind you of their goals. So do their failures to reach their goals.

Norms. The final piece we use to help inspire our individuals and teams is to provide a list of norms to guide behavior. We are all different, with different backgrounds, rules, and beliefs. By providing a shared list of norms it empowers team members to come together. It tells you how to be engaged and when you are not engaged it guides you back to engagement. My favorite norm is number four: Be 100 percent responsible for your own satisfaction. We have eight. The other seven are really cool too. If all else fails I find our terrace with the cold beer on tap and a view of one of Gaudi’s most famous buildings will also do the trick!”