MDIS - A View from the Top - Greg Mittman
HeadHunt Issue 163 (2nd Oct)
In Conversation with
What is the biggest business challenge you see in your industry now?
fDisintermediation. As over-the-top players like Whatsapp, Skype and Google eat into the traditional revenue streams of telecommunication companies, the telecom industry needs to adjust to the new reality. Many traditional, reliable, and profitable revenue streams are gone or going. Naturally, many operators have not accepted this new reality and try to fight it.
Like other industries that have gone through similar evolutions – like retail and even recruitment – the biggest challenge for the telecommunication industry is to define how to stay relevant and profitable, given the emergence of Internet-based competitors.
What’s the most important thing you learned in school?
Learning how to learn. I went to university for a very long time—I have an undergraduate honours degree, a law degree and an MBA. Yet what always surprises me is how little I actually know, and how much I learn on the job at work.
School taught me how to learn, and made me curious to want to figure stuff out. It also made me productive. All the schools I went to were fun schools—there always seemed to be so much non-academic activities going on. So I learned to be super-productive when I was learning or working, so that I would not miss out on any of the non-academic activities.
“The customer is always right.” Thoughts?
This is such a cliché but it is absolutely correct. Every measure of business performance is academic except how your customers feel about you. At MyRepublic, everybody in the company (including myself) is a customer service agent. We do not have a customer service department which is air-tight. All of us across the company speak to customers all the time—whether on the phone or through online community engagement. I always want to know what customers think about the different things we are doing, and I love polling them for ideas. Half the products and services we have launched into the market were the ideas of customers. We think of ourselves as the best listeners in the industry.
Where would you like to be in your career five years from now?
I love my job. I would love to be doing exactly what I am doing. Don’t tell my wife, but I can’t wait for the weekend to end so I can go to work on Monday morning!
How do you upgrade yourself for your career progression?
I learn loads on the job. I am very lucky and grateful for that. So much so that I would say that every 12 months, my skill base is radically re-tooled. As silly as it sounds, I don’t think much about career progression. I hope my current job will be my last job.