Exeleon Magazine

Guillermo Salazar: At the Heart of Human Experience

Guillermo Salazar IrisCX Exeleon Magazine

This interview with Guillermo Salazar of IrisCX is part of Exeleon’s interview series of Transformational CEOs. Check out more interviews by clicking here.

What prompted your interest and subsequently your foray into the data and analytics space?

I’ve been lucky to be in the data space from the first day of my career. I was hired as an analyst at a fast-growing consulting company out of school and was given the opportunity to work directly for the founder. At an early age, my work mattered. It turned out I was pretty good at building spreadsheets, models, and plans. I remember when I got my first complex excel macro working at scale, it was like in those movie scenes where angels are singing. From there I had a 20+ year career in the data and analytics space.

Data has to be understood, and not in the sense that ‘you have to understand the data’. It’s important to comprehend how data works with other data, how structures are built, and how they connect and relate to one another.

To make it real, consider the data in nature. Mother Nature is the biggest data project in history. As an example, the way clouds are formed, how and when they release rain, how they stay collected in the sky is a system of interdependent data. Nature does it effortlessly because of the system, relationships & cause & effects in place.

When humans invent systems, like a sales process, driving a car, or a better cup of coffee, we want to invent similar causes and effects similar to the way they exist in nature. We want them to be effortless, reliable, and work without intervention. We design versus wait for things to evolve.

In the human world we are inventing and building upon data more than ever. When we depend on analytics, and decision systems. All of this removes the work that we don’t want to do, or are not great at, and lets us do the things we’re awesome at.

So, what keeps me driving about data and analytics is that the data we’re creating and consuming is growing by googles (a google is a number), and the type of data that is emerging is fascinating and overwhelmingly human.

I orient on the five senses: hearing, seeing, touching, smelling and tasting.

Our data for years was hearing type data, numbers, words, etc. Now, we see data with video, pictures, and depth. We have some touch with haptics, but it’s really primitive. It will be amazing to see how we digitize taste and smell. That is how human our data is. Data is about humans. We have to think about humans first.

It’s hard to believe, but our data world today is tiny compared to where we’ll be in 1 year, 2 years, 5 years.

Talk to us about IrisCX and what was the pain point that led to its inception in 2018.

In 2018, my car was locked in my garage because the door wouldn’t work. 3 days later the expert came out and banged the door with a hammer & said; “I see this all the time. if I could have seen it, I could have shown you how to do it”, then he charged me $300. My garage door has been working since.

In an instant, I felt the problem, urgency, and cost in one transaction. I brought it to my co-founder the next day, and we started building IrisCX.

As a CEO, what are the most significant challenges you face on a day-to-day basis, and how do you overcome them?

Being a CEO is a system job. Your job is to know or find out from your people, what needs to get done, by when. It’s top and bottom at the exact same time; you have to be strategic and close gaps that other people are unwilling or unable to do, while supporting your people so they are best set up to be successful. Zig Ziegler was right, build the people, the people build the company.

There is a point in a company size where you are leading and doing at the same time, and that is really hard. You need to have people around you that are inspired by the company’s mission and purpose because it isn’t always a picnic in the park. I’m actively working on getting better at trusting the incredible people around me to do their job – as a founder CEO, that is really hard, but if you don’t give people the air to breathe, everyone will suffer, and the company won’t grow.

The clock is also ticking in real time. It’s a daily, weekly, monthly, yearly growth. Pressure is a privilege. Leading is a privilege.

It’s a great question because I’m working hard on my transition. It’s not always natural, and I’m lucky to have an incredible team that is patient with me!

With the emergence of AI and its rapid-paced advancement, how do you think it will impact the CX space in the coming years?

We are at an amazing point in history. All the conditions that need to exist for innovation to thrive. We’ve gone from dial-up to fiber optics in a short period of time and it’s available to everyone!

CX has been strangled by legacy assumptions, processes, and tech for the last 10 years. How can the world be happy with a system that is expensive, full of work, and has unhappy people delivering and receiving service? There is a lot of pain and suffering in the system right now. It costs customers happiness, and it costs brands billions.

The consumer suffering from a problem is a pain point, and the customer isn’t qualified to solve their problem. The queue for consumer questions is a one-way door. So, we don’t know how serious or urgent consumer problems are. This is because we don’t know how to ask questions about our problems, know what question was important, or what the answer means.

For the first time, AI is now able to understand and create based on our language and how we explain things. This is the unlock. Recognize that the data AI is working on right now is largely verbal type data; numbers, words. IrisCX is solving the next problem, which is the visual context compounded with the verbal data. It’s going to change the world. (And then the world will change again!).

What advice would you give an emerging CEO on running a business?

Know your problem and the people you solve it for. Your solution is just a temporary market solution.

Understand the problems that people seek to solve. “Interesting” isn’t good enough to choose to change.

If you are lucky, you’ll survive, and you are going to learn more than you’ve ever imagined & work with some of the best people on the planet.

Looking ahead, what is your vision for IrisCX? What are you most excited about

We’re going to take out the effort, pain and confusion that creates unhappy brand experiences.

We are creating happiness for front line experts by empowering them with human connection that is centered on our humanness.

For consumers, we’re going to remove the work and effort that is assumed for brand engagement, so people can be happy with their purchase or service choices and be thrilled with the brands we partner with, because happy customers spend more, more often!

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