*Below is a summary of the video interview with Mike Capone. Please watch the video to see the entire interview.
Hey readers, welcome back to Qlik Luminary Life! This is episode 6 and we have a very special surprise guest for you today…Mike Capone, CEO of Qlik! We caught up with Mike for this special episode to learn more about his thoughts on data vs intuition, the legacy he hopes to leave behind, and how he used to have rockstar hair and play in a band. Keep reading to learn more about the man behind Qlik.
What question do you wish most interviewers would ask you?
My favorite question is always, what makes you excited to come to work everyday? That to me is the ultimate question because the reality in life is that you spend more time at work than you do with your family, in particular when you’re a CEO. With Qlik, and with the Luminary program, my enthusiasm is completely unbridled. I am the luckiest man in the world in terms of the fortune I have of working for Qlik and with all the Qlik community customers, luminaries, etc.
What is the company culture like at Qlik and what sort of changes to it did you spearhead when you became CEO?
Well, the culture at Qlik is what drew me to the company. Social responsibility is sort of baked into our soul and you know, the one thing I wanted to do when I joined was, don’t mess that up. When you stop people in the hallway at Qlik, they don’t talk about Qlik as a job. They talk about it as a commitment. It’s like a way of life. So the first thing I wanted to do was make sure people understood that I believed in that.
What’s your opinion on data versus feeling and intuition? With access to so much data, do you still feel the need to rely on intuition or feeling?
We at Qlik don’t believe artificial intelligence is going to replace people. That would be a leap too far ahead. In the spirit of really big decision making, ultimately good judgement is going to be involved and experience is helpful in shaping judgment. I am very data-driven. I have the Qlik dashboards up on my screen all the time as you would imagine and I always look for the most data that I can, but I can give you an example. We did the largest acquisition in company history last year with Attunity. That was a great deal. If I looked at all of the data I wouldn’t have been able to to draw a conclusion because it was a line of business that we’d never been in before and there had to be some judgment on my part that, as a company, we could absorb it. So, yes I collected all the data but in the end I had to leap and that leap was based on my experience and my judgment.
How has this pandemic inspired you with Qlik and the role that data analytics has in fighting the virus?
My background prior to Qlik, I was at a company that was developing technology for clinical trials. All the vaccine work that you’re hearing about is being tested on this software that I used to actually build and manage. I was really connected to that mission and one of the things that enabled me to actually move away from that even though I really loved healthcare was that I found out Qlik is deeply involved in healthcare as well. We have really great relationships with really big customers who are doing meaningful things to combat coronavirus from a medical, clinical, healthcare and drug development standpoint. We also work with nursing homes to help predict outbreaks and get them prepared. People are running analytics right now on our technology to see how you can distribute a vaccine to the billions of people worldwide.
Qlik has a keen interest in serving the IT community as well as end users and department heads for the ease of getting data, and your company has contributed to a major increase in data literacy. Are there any type of remarks you’d like to make to these audiences about Qlik that they might have missed, or maybe something they don’t realize about Qlik?
You always want partners and vendors who go on the journey with you, and companies that drive an outcome for you. Understand my strategy, understand where I’m trying to get to, don’t just show up at the end of the quarter and try to sell me software. The culture I try to build at Qlik is that you have to do it with our customers, not to them. We have to bridge that gap between business analytics users and IT. IT needs to secure this stuff, they need to do data integration. We try to be very collaborative across our customers in going on a journey with them and driving an outcome. What our customers value the most about Qlik is that we are true partners, not trying to sell around anybody but trying to sell a cohesive solution.
Your father was a huge source of inspiration to you. As a father yourself, what lessons or words of advice do you actively try to pass on to your daughter and even the upcoming generation of kids?
My father led me to believe that I could be whatever I wanted to be and unfortunately he didn’t live long enough to see me become a CEO, but I know he’d be super proud of me. The thing he always gave me was that belief and I try to pass that on to my daughter. She wants to be an oncologist and I’ll support her anyway that I can in that dream. I don’t talk to her about “well it’s eight years of school etc.” because it’s all about believing. I’m so grateful for that inspiration in my life and my dad, he grew up on welfare and his mother raised him as a single mom. He didn’t have anything. He worked his way up, he lied about his age to get into the military and eventually went on to become CIO of the third largest retail company in the world at that time. He did that by himself. He was determined and that is the moral of the story. Determination.
Name a song you have completely memorized.
I’ve probably memorized every James Taylor song and every Rolling Stones song. Well, you know, every well-known Rolling Stones song. If I had to name one I could sing you Gimme Shelter right now from the Rolling Stones. I won’t. But I could. (stay tuned for Mike Capone in concert at a future date)
Follow up question. Do you think you’re a better air drummer or air guitarist?
Well, things people don’t know about me, thank God there was no social media back at that time but I was in a band in college. I played bass guitar, so definitely a better guitar player. My hair was really long, and I’m not talking about Covid long, I’m talking about really, really long. I was a semi-serious musician until I couldn’t make any money at it and that, you know, led me to learn how to program I guess.
At the end of the day, what would you most like to be remembered for?
You know what I always tell people is, most of what you do isn’t going to matter 50 years from now. If you can leave the world a better place than when you came into it, that’s what I would be remembered for. For me it’s my wife and daughter, and the not for profit work that I do as well. I’m on the board of a large public university here in New Jersey and I’m on the board of the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, which is helping to fight blood cancers. From a corporate world, it’s not unabashed capitalism to say I believe that my company is changing the world and how people use data and analytics to make the world a better place and to drive good business outcomes.
If you’re a Qlik Luminary and are interested in being interviewed for Qlik Luminary Life, be sure to contact Michael Daughters at firstname.lastname@example.org. Make sure to stay tuned for episode 7 with Angelika Klidas of 2Foqus coming soon!
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