15 March 2010

MEF Executive Questionnaire #5: Dominic Pride, The Sound Horizon

MEF continues to seek new ways to profile its members and promote the thought-leadership of the senior executives within these companies. We are pleased to launch the MEF Executive Questionnaire to reveal the real people behind the industry in an informal and entertaining manner.

This will be a regular feature of the MEF blog, so make sure you subscribe via email or RSS. If you are a senior executive from one of our member companies and would like to be featured then please contact MEF Marketing Director, Stephen Jenkins.

The fifth in the series is from Dominic Pride, CEO of The Sound Horizon.

1. Please describe briefly your main company activities and your role within that organisation
I’m the founder and CEO of The Sound Horizon, a consultancy which helps our customers create product strategies, manage innovation and come up with new services. When our customers need extra knowledge, brainpower and execution at the same time we’re there for them.

2. Without necessarily revealing any confidential information, please outline the principal business models your company uses.
We’re extremely flexible – as external consultants we have standard day rates - but we also like to have incentives for success, so we’ll also share the risk and upside in concepts we believe in. Our philosophy is to remain nimble, networked and neutral, bringing teams together for specific projects.

3. What has been your company’s greatest achievement to-date?
Going from a blank sheet of paper to getting the product in the hands of the customer in four weeks.

4. What is your company currently working on that is going to move the industry forward?
We’re bringing Agile techniques to the whole of the innovation process – strategy, business modelling, definition and marketing - and not just the build.

5. What is exciting you most in 2010 (either personally or professionally)?
Two things – the idea of the magazine and books industries suddenly “getting” mobile
-location-based services working properly and creating a whole slew of new services

6. What is the most important piece of technology in your life?
I love Douglas Adams’s definition of Technology as “a word that describes something that doesn't work yet." I can’t put my MacBook Pro in that category, but I’m very attached to it.

My favourite service is Dropbox- your documents anywhere. It’s what the cloud was invented for.

Anyone who had one of the first cassette Walkmans will marvel at wearing an iPod shuffle when running or in the gym.

7. What mobile device(s) do you use?
I have a Nokia N97 and an 8GB ipod touch. With a Vodafone 3G dongle I’m also as connected as I need to be when onsite with clients.

8. What’s your favourite application?
Tweetie on the iPhone and Gravity on the N97 are both very clever and robust Twitter clients which keep me on top of my inbound and outbound (@thesoundhorizon) tweets

9. What’s your ringtone?
“Born Slippy” by Underworld. Those first chords take me right back.

10. Which mobile industry blogs do you regularly read and why?
I get quite a few. Tomi Ahonen www.tomiahonen.com always has something insightful to say. Ewan McLeod’s Mobile Industry Review is always trenchant. Strategy Eye and Fierce Mobile Content are great for their take on the daily news.

11. What is the biggest mobile content issue that is likely to affect the industry within the next 12 months?
There’s the high-level issue of fragmentation of OS and platform. We can’t address this soon enough. Innovation and development talent and time are limited and will go where the usage and numbers are greatest.

Then there’s billing. Quite frankly we can’t monetise as a business unless we have painless and cost-effective cross-platform micro-billing.

Oh, and battery life.

12. Which other MEF member organisation do you most admire?
Shazam has had a great ride over the past couple of years and continues to thrive. It’s the app that defined a category and others are now following.

I also met the guys from Layar at the MEF party in Barcelona and glad they’re members. I think they’re on to something great with augmented reality.

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