The CTO story

In recent years it has come to the centre of attention that many are leaving big corporate firms to join startups and scale-up companies.  There is no disputing that with established companies like Amazon comes security and stability and leaving them might seem like a great risk. Nevertheless, it appears as though start-up culture has something better to offer. Chief Technology Officer of DFP, Geth Dunne, who formerly worked for Amazon, gives us a number of reasons for this current trend.


Key incentives driving experts away from established corporate organisations to smaller firms


“I found that in big companies especially like Amazon you are a very small fish in a rather big sea”, said Geth.


Whilst known for its constant innovation and high-class technologies, Amazon simply doesn’t afford a great deal of experimentation or involvement with many projects. “One of the reasons I decided to leave was because there was little room for manoeuvring in terms of my work in the company.”


At Amazon you are just one out of 613,300 and it is extremely hard to make yourself heard. “Even if you spot a little error, you are not able to change it”, said Geth. Consequently, if you are not on the advisory board your voice is practically mute and it can be rather frustrating when the mistake that you have identified goes unnoticed but can potentially have an impact on the company as well as your position in the company. Globally established companies can afford to dismiss minor mistakes for the effect on the profit is not going to be dramatic, yet it demonstrates an element of detachment from one’s work and perhaps a lack of attention or care.


“Start-up and scale-ups are more interesting and exciting.”


Company size allows proximity with others, hence, might be one of the main factors allowing you feel like a part of the team. “If you are working for a small company or a start-up you can impact a lot of people’s lives, both inside and outside of the company”, said Geth.


“If I see a problem in another department I can actually comment and change people’s lives, improve something, make a difference.”


In a big company you have a specific role and no room to try different things. Whilst being a Chief Officer of Technology at DFP, Geth is able to get involved in all areas of business including sales and marketing. Engaging with other departments allowed you to not only gain a broader perspective on how the company operates, but also makes you reflect on your own work and try out new approaches that you would not necessarily have considered before.


“In a smaller company there is opportunity to get involved in different things and test your skills outside of your comfort zone”, says Geth.


Going back to insurance


Whilst there are many incentives for people to migrate from big corporations to small business, for Geth, joining DFP was a move back to the industry of insurance. Geth has worked in insurance prior to DFP and when asked why he decided to come back to insurance, he said that he “understood insurance”.


Unlike rapidly advancing technology, insurance has not undergone massive transformation over decades. Yet, Geth realised the immense potential of technology in insurance. Over the past decade technology began to be employed in insurance to achieve more efficiency. And today the smart use of technology and ability to gain actionable data insights are what gives completive advantage to insurance companies.


“Even in 1990s it was obvious that technology was going to boom rapidly but insurance didn’t change so I saw there was an opportunity in insurance”, said Geth in retrospect. Perhaps even today, the word “Insurance” struggles to embrace an aura of excitement, but times are changing!  The vast amount of data that is accessible in the 21st century can no longer be analysed manually. Biggest insurance players are keen on making more use of technology in order to speed through tons of open data to provide better service for their customers.


Whether the colossal amount of open data that exists in the word is a good thing or not is a debate in itself, but it sure is a game changer for the world of insurance. And technology that can cut the noise and derive and validate meaningful insights for better decision making can help to modernise the insurance industry.


Written by Leyla Saatova

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