Barry Kelly, CEO of Thought Industries, sat down with us at the end of 2019 for an “Ask Barry” video session to share some customer training successes and favorite learner engagement feature releases from 2019, including his vision and personal goals for 2020 and beyond.
Hey Barry, what was your favorite accomplishment in 2019?
Absolutely amazing year. A lot of growth, new offices, new space, more people, incredible business results as well. So incredibly proud of that and we know that it’s because of the people that work here and the customers that trust in us to help them with their businesses. So, so much to reflect on but incredibly proud overall of what we’ve been able to do.
What was your favorite feature we released in 2019?
I’m actually incredibly proud of the product team. 175 features released last year, which I think is an incredible feat. A lot of value in there. I have more than one favorite though. BI Connector allows you to embed your BI tools connecting to a database where you can build all sorts of reports and get insights on all of your learning engagement and other parts of your business. Communities, which allows you to build standalone communities inside the learning experience as well as a recommendation engine which will help our learners find what they need and the right content tailored to them at a specific time. Many others inside of the 175 but those are some of my personal favorites this year.
What’s up, Barry? What was the challenge you’re really proud of your team for overcoming?
There’s actually one pillar challenge and it’s growth. It affects organizations in so many different ways, from the product to the team, to people to culture. Everything along the way every week, every month is being challenged and the resilience of our staff and the organization to be able to meet each one of those head on. Some we did a really great job of, some are still a work in progress, but that’s part of sticking together as a group and making it happen.
What are you most excited about for customer training in 2020?
In terms of customer training, it’s an exciting time. Certainly, a lot of evolution and focus in that particular market. I think we were very pragmatic about how we solve the problems. We talk to customer training experts all the time. People who are working day in, day out to create learning products, deploy them at scale, and we’re just trying to solve those problems, one of those jobs to be done that we are able to help solve so they can:
- improve their business
- develop more margin
- develop more revenue
and overall, create a better experience for their customers. So, that’s what we’re going to continue to do. That vision is way more than just 2020 as an organization and we continue to learn a lot from folks in the market on that journey.
What are you most excited to see Thought Industries accomplish in 2020?
I think we set a pretty high bar for ourselves in lots of different areas and I think as an organization we understand we have to come together cross-functionally as teams to solve those problems. And it’s hard, but it’s actually the most exciting part of the work we do. And, for me, as I look forward, it’s those engagements and that part of the process that’s probably going to bring me maybe the most amount of joy and satisfaction from my work at the organization.
Hey, Barry. What goals do you have for 2020?
Evolve my job. So my job will change. It changes every year, every couple of years. So it’s going to change in terms of the areas of responsibility and the parts of the organization that I have responsibility for, which I’m really excited about. Like getting a whole new job. And a lot of travel with my family. My kids are older now and very mobile. So, that’s going to be pretty exciting. And then I want to spend more time playing music. And I’m particularly excited about learning to ski, in August.