CMO role evolution

Originally published May 6th, 2014

Marketing System

An interesting discussion this morning with Kathleen Schuab, VP IDC CMO advisory Service about how the CMO role is changing and CMOs are evolving from just branding and communications to general managers of the business.

My biggest insight was how CMO needs to think Systems instead of silos. Leverage, paid, owned and earned channels both inbound and outbound. Leverage internally and externally created content to provide relevant content through those interaction channels to keep customers engaged. Listen externally, gather all data and analyze it to find the insights and respond quickly to customers.

Microsoft’s new CEO

Original published February 4th, 2014

Today Microsoft announced Satya Nadella as its new CEO. This is a very important moment for Microsoft, as this is only the 3rd CEO for the company in its 39 years, replacing Steve Ballmer who has been with the company for 34 years and CEO for 14.

More information about Satya, including his first partners and customers’ webcast, is available on the Microsoft official CEO page

There are hundreds of articles already online about Satya, who he is, the challenges he will be facing and what people want him to do. So I will not add to those articles but there are a couple of points that touched me personally that I would like to talk about.

First, the fact that after searching for 5 months, both internally and externally, the board chose to promote from within. It is a great testament to the talents and calibers inside the company but also a great message about how this company grows leaders capable of managing a company that large and that complex that there were very few candidates to the role globally.

Second, this decision sets an excellent example in diversity and inclusion. Microsoft has always been a diverse and inclusive company, it is part of its culture. Individuals were promoted based on their skills and not based on their race, color or gender. Choosing Satya as a CEO is another testament to Microsoft and the Board.

Third, I am very excited about the fact that Satya is only 46 years old. Even though he is not as young as Mark Zuckerberg, he is still very young when compared to CEOs of large companies the size of Microsoft. It is great to have a young, technology Savvy CEO leading Microsoft during this transformation.

Finally, Satya’s first email and message to employees are very encouraging as they show a very humble, smart and curious individual. Very good way to start this journey.

Data is the new oil

Originally published September 7th, 2013

I spent more than 15 years of my life working with data. Data has always intrigued me. I love it. Cleansing data, analyzing it and finding insights are very stimulating activities. I remember when I first started working on business intelligence in Egypt, one of my dreams was to have access to the mainframe system that stores the ID database and be able to analyze it.

In the past 2 years, I took a more senior role that required that I spend more time on strategy and less time hands on. But I keep noticing that I captured very chance I had to explore and analyze data.

At the same time, the decline in storage cost and the Cloud made it possible to store a lot more data. All types of data, Structured, non Structured and semi Structured data. Big Data made database jobs and Business Intelligence hot again. Right now every company is thinking about or investing in Big Data. There is so much data that the new challenge now is how to analyze it and how to visualize it.

Lately I have been very interested in data visualization. As I was researching, I stumbled upon a very nice TED talk from which i took the title of the blog post. It is very true; Data is the new oil and data visualization is the way to extract it.

Check David McCandless talk about data visualization @