14:19 | 18.10.19 | Interviews | exclusive 230367

Brian Lillie: I will absolutely consider Armenia as a software development location

Brian Lillie is an experienced technology executive, with nearly 25 years of experience of leading innovative and diverse teams in challenging high-tech environments in Silicon Valley, including most recently serving as the Chief Product Officer, Chief Customer Officer and Chief Information Officer at Equinix.

Mr. Lillie currently serves as independent director on two public company boards - Lumentum, a market-leading, global manufacturer of innovative optical, photonic and 3D-sensing products and Talend, a leader in cloud data integration and data integrity with apps.

In the framework of WCIT 2019, Itel.am has talked to Brian Lillie.

You have more than 25 years of working experience, mainly with Silicon Valley startups. Based on this experience, what do you consider the best way to launch a product in a market like Silicon Valley?

I think the best way to think of a product is to think about how big the market is that you are trying to attack, how big the problem is in that market that you are trying to solve and the gap that you are trying to feel in, because that is what certainly gets attention of VC’s and Angel Investors, when you are talking about seed round and financing.

I always think it is important to do a couple of things - one is to really spend time with potential customers and understand what problems they have, what problems they are trying to solve. Try to be very empathetic.

To solve those problems, what you need to do is to gain this information not through one or two interviews but through many. Secondly, get started and try. Rapid prototyping is real. There is a program at Stanford University, where they have d.school, a design school. It’s a combination of industrial engineering and art, which by the way I think Armenia is very well suited for. I spent some time in Tumo studios and I connected it with Stanford d.school.

What kind products do you think will be trendy in the coming years?

I think business is going digital in every way, shape and form. Things are becoming interconnected. That trend is going to continue. I saw that trend for years and I helped build products to support that trend. The continued move to the cloud and what is called hybrid multi cloud architecture is a big trend too.

I also think that as the world is continuing to become globally connected, the security of data privacy is critical. Products like AI and machine learning are becoming more and more possible and data scientists, mathematicians from Armenia and other countries are really starting to think about this kind of products and making AI and ML really easy to use.

What advantages does Armenia have as a country with technological potential?

This is my first visit to Armenia. I see unique vibrancy and energy in Yerevan. Ideas are everywhere. Access to compute, to cloud, to tools is critical. But the ideas I saw at the WCIT lightning rounds from Armenian entrepreneurs say that the access is coming.

Intellectual power and ideas are here. What they need is access to capital. I think with government efforts the capital structure is coming.

One of the last things I did with Equinix as chief product officer was that I helped to build a development center in Warsaw. We started from zero and ended up having 90 engineers. We haven’t considered Armenia then, but after my trip here I will absolutely consider Armenia as a software development location.

Narine Daneghyan talked to Brian Lillie