NASSCOM Product Conclave 2010 special
Peter Yorke has 22 years of experience in branding, corporate communications, content management, marketing, high-tech public relations, training and technical communication. And so he has been appointed head of marketing committee of the NASSCOM for its events like Product Conclave and EMERGEOUT.
As an entrepreneur, Peter is founder and CEO at Yorke Communications Private Limited, an organization that builds content marketing programs for both internal and external audiences. Peter strongly believes that the basis for generating leads, building market image or cementing relations with customers and employees is through good and sustained content programs.
Peter’s long stint at Oracle Financial Services (formerly i-flex solutions) as Vice President – Marketing and Communications enabled him to leverage his vision of marketing for corporate that resulted in tangible outcomes. Peter also has worked for TCS, Wipro Systems, as well as Symphony Services.
An itinerant speaker, Peter has been invited to speak at conferences in Washington, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Gaborone, Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore among other places and has evangelized the corporate communications function. Peter is also guest faculty at St. Joseph’s College of Business Administration in Bangalore and media institute COMMITS.
Once a music critic for The Daily in Bombay, Peter keeps his cool with his love for Western Classical music, and a sense of humor that diffuses the most difficult of situations.
In a brief email conversation with Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy, chief evangelist, YourStory, Peter traces his roots to his journey as an entrepreneur besides giving insight into the NASSCOM Product Conclave 2010.
YourStory: Thank you Peter for talking to YourStory. At the outset, can you briefly explain your entrepreneurial journey with a background on your corporate experience?
Peter Yorke: Thanks you. My life started as a journalist 22 years ago in Mumbai. In 1990, I chanced into the corporate world as an Assistant Editor in TCS and from then on have been involved with technical writing, editing, training, corporate communications and marketing across the top two technology companies in the country. However, my longest and most interesting stint was at i-flex where I spent a cumulative 9 years across different phases of the company’s evolution. It is interesting because i-flex was India’s first and largest product company and there was a very different message and story we had to tell our external stakeholders – that of seeking global markets, creating intellectual property and focusing on domain specialization – this mantra is key for any product developer even today.
For the last two years, I am spearheading my own marketing and technical writing firm and brand consultancy and am working on some very interesting projects for clients of all sizes. The key thing for most companies today is to get the write message out to stakeholders and I believe I am at the right place to help them do that.
YourStory: What is ailing product companies in terms of the communication and marketing? That seems to be the cause for failure of most product companies. Your views...
Peter: Product companies need to stay focused and package their offerings and market them. Let’s face facts, many of the key brains behind some of the largest global product companies are Indians. Our intellectual capacity, foresight, perception and intelligence is second to none but where we have fallen behind is in our ability to package this to the market and put our offerings as our customers would like to consume them. A lot of work that I do for companies today revolves around just turning around the message to make it more customer acceptable and meaningful.
YourStory: The Product Conclave has gone international this year with speakers and CIOs coming from outside India. Can you give your perspective on its impact?
Peter: The product conclave has grown from strength to strength over the years. We had a good line up of international speakers last year too but this year is a landmark conference because of the spread of speakers and the depth of the topics. There are also a range of speakers from India as well. The theme this year is also very focused – lean start-ups which is of great relevance to the hundreds of new companies that have emerged on the landscape. The other big impact will be from the technology aspect – cloud computing is a significant contributor to the product ecosystem and it will be interesting to hear what some of the speakers will have to say about it.
YourStory: The theme of the conclave revolves around lean startups and adopting Cloud. Who will significantly benefit from this conclave?
Peter: Undoubtedly all the emerging and new players in the market—if they are able to absorb lessons from the conference and work on their products.
Along with cloud computing, Internet connectivity is improving significantly especially on handheld devices. The advent of 3G and 4G technologies are enabling Indian software developers to operate on par with their Western counterparts.
The cost of devices is becoming significantly cheaper and therefore prolific.
Start-ups and product entrepreneurs are also faring well with better funding, incubation centers and cost-effective business models. Trends such as Software as a Service (Saas) and Software as an Appliance (SaaA) which offer ‘plug and play’ functionalities are improving flexibility and cost-effectiveness as there is no vendor lock-in.
In sum, entrepreneurs will be able to appreciate the context of these new trends with their own product initiatives and certainly profit from it.
YourStory: Can you spell out the general challenges of communication and marketing and what entrepreneurs are not using at present that is available?
Peter: I am very bullish about social media as one form of communication. If done well, it is about engaging an audience and building a community online. But before that, let’s start with some basics – how about customer focused collateral, website, whitepapers, emailers, thought leadership material – webinars and podcasts. There is a lot that can be done if only an entrepreneur devotes a little time to this and builds this expertise with the management team. The tools are out there. They need to be leveraged.
YourStory: Final word...
Peter: I am extremely excited about the Conclave because it is certainly bringing together some of the best minds in the industry – both from India and abroad. The opportunity is at hand. Our product community has only to reach out and grab it.