Top Movers & Shakers to Watch in 2018
It is a massive undertaking to develop a list of only 50 individuals when there are perhaps 50,000 (or more) who are making and marketing incredible products and services.
Forward-thinking, innovative and influential individuals abound in the technology and marketing sector, and they are changing the world and propelling their companies, communities and careers forward. To kick off the new year, Website Magazine is featuring 50 tech movers and shakers who play pivotal roles (or are expected to) in critical areas like commerce, cryptocurrency, content and more.
Starting the list, for instance, is second-year CEO Adolfo Hernandez whose company, SDL, is one of the foremost authorities on language translation by using a combination of human expertise and machine learning to ensure organizations deliver accurate and compelling content relevant to global audiences.
Going down the list, there is SAP Hybris Co-Founder and President Carsten Thoma who is leaving his position at Hybris to reportedly focus on tech startups, which will certainly be worthy of industry attention based on his energy and experience.
Dotcom Distribution CEO Maria Haggerty’s role in tech is
equally intriguing, as her company is not only making shipment
packaging more attractive and more engaging for recipients, who
are more likely to share photos of their deliveries on social media
if they include gift-like elements, but also offers client services
to help fix this often broken part of the commerce experience.
Top Movers & Shakers to Watch in 2018
Hernandez joined SDL in spring 2016 and by fall of the same year, he revealed a new logo and a new unified approach to SDL's two main areas of business: content and language. With content fueling cross-channel experiences and the need to translate the content to global audiences, SDL is well positioned to accelerate organizations' globalization efforts.
Janel Laravie, Chacka Marketing
Laravie runs one of the most successful female-owned digital media agencies in the country, Chacka Marketing, working with top global brands, including Barnes & Noble, Shutterfly and Experian, and earning honors such as selection to Advertising Age’s 2016 Best Places to Work.
Johann Wrede, SAP Hybris
In his role leading strategic marketing for SAP Hybris, Wrede oversees management of the brand experience. He acts as a global spokesperson and thought leader, regularly speaking with media and delivering event keynotes on marketing and customer engagement topics. What sets Wrede apart is his passion for storytelling. He is an expert at humanizing a brand and has evolved the SAP content model from a product-based approach to telling stories that connect with audiences at an emotional level, fundamentally reframing their perspective on challenges they face.
As CEO of label and artwork management leader BLUE Software, Moosani guides 12,000-plus of the world’s top brands into the age of "Attribute Buying" to maintain a competitive advantage. Moosani ushered labels into e-commerce, meeting demands of online resellers and regulators and delivering consistent product information across consumer touchpoints.Andy Tryba, DNN
As part of DNN's acquisition by ESW Capital, Tryba joined DNN as its new CEO (a role he held for the past 15 years at multiple startups). Industry watchers are interested in seeing his vision of re-investing in DNN's opensource community come to life.
Brent Bellm, BigCommerce
A retail and e-commerce veteran of 20 years, Bellm is CEO of BigCommerce, a privately held technology company that develops e-commerce software for businesses. What is particularly noteworthy to watch about Bellm and his team in 2018 is BigCommerce's big lead in social commerce particularly with early and exclusive partnerships with Instagram and Facebook.
Olga Andrienko, SEMrush
Head of global marketing at SEMrush, Andrienko plays a pivotal role in the software company's impressive content strategy most notably its hyper-engaging Twitter Chats that encourage audiences to be active on the network versus passively observing. SEMrush reports Andrienko increased social engagement for the company by 400 percent in one year together with her team.
Carsten Thoma, SAP Hybris
Co-founder and president of Hybris, Thoma is leaving his role more than four years after SAP acquired the customer engagement and commerce solutions company. Thoma is particularly passionate about artificial intelligence's (AI) potential to change "everything" and what is on the marketing not being AI yet. With word Thoma is going to pursue the startup space, one has to wonder if this will be the focus. Whatever the venture, Thoma's next move(s) will be worthy of note.
Dan Schulman, PayPal
The online payments system Schulman heads as CEO is still one of the hottest companies in tech as merchants that accept PayPal often have higher conversions as a result and a better customer experience for it. PayPal is still very much a part of the financial tech movement with its ownership of millennial favorite Venmo, which is not only used to send money from peer to peer but can now also be used to pay online - particularly helpful for consumers with a bank of funds in their Venmo account.
David Aponovich, Acquia, Inc.
As senior director of digital experience, Aponovich and his peers are working on storing and making content accessible through voice activation as consumers move more and more toward screen-less devices such as Amazon Echo. A former analyst, Aponovich brings a unique perspective to this area of commerce and content (separate and combined).
David Thomas, Evident
Customer data is both an asset and a liability, and Thomas, CEO of Evident, and his team are providing a safer way to manage personal information. With cyberattacks on the rise and general data protection regulation (GDPR) impending, expect to hear more from Evident's cybersecurity solution available in 23 countries and counting.
Lila Snyder, Pitney Bowes
Cross-border commerce is bound to increase thanks to the ease at which consumers can buy items online. As the leader of Pitney Bowes' cross-border e-commerce and shipping businesses, Snyder plays a pivotal role in helping retailers reach global consumers.
EJ McGowan, Campaigner
Recently promoted from general manager to VP & managing director of Campaigner, McGowan is a thought leader on trends and technology in the email marketing space. From testing to targeting, McGowan leads a product that helps marketers optimize the email experience.
Evan Goldberg, Oracle NetSuite
Attendees of NetSuite's annual event, SuiteWorld, were often (if not always) told a story and shown a picture of the company's humble beginnings above a liquor store. NetSuite would go on to be a billion dollar software company later acquired by Oracle in a coming home narrative of sorts since Goldberg and the company's funding had ties there. Goldberg was retained after the acquisition, and it will be worthy of note to see how Oracle leverages both Goldberg and NetSuite going forward. Beyond the office walls, Goldberg is also facilitating cancer research with his BRCA Foundation.
Gary Allen, New Frontier Data
Allen solves complex business problems with technology: a market-first mobile banking app, top-rated digital marketing technology at Performics (now Google’s Dart Search), and more. In 2017, he began overhauling New Frontier Data’s Equio, now the leading source of real-time business intelligence for investors, businesses and government on today’s fastest growing U.S. industry, cannabis.
Katie Burke, HubSpot
Critical to the fostering of organizational culture at HubSpot (known for its transparency), Burke was named chief people officer for the inbound marketing and sales platform in Jan. 2017. Burke's "Because I'm a Girl" Medium post is a must read, detailing the many times she was told she couldn't do something or was only honored for something due to her gender. We have no doubt Burke will be a leading voice for women in tech "because she's a girl" with power, purpose and perspicacity.
James Norwood, Episerver
As chief marketing officer for Episerver, Norwood guides strategy for a platform that provides organizations the ability to elevate their customer experience through the delivery of contextual content and commerce. Norwood delivers brand messaging with ease and has helped position Episerver to be a leader among the "experience" providers.
Starting his career as a writer at eHarmony from its inception, Langston's trajectory through eHarmony has been through content - strategy that is proving quite important across industries. What makes Langston, CEO of eHarmony, one to watch on a tech list, however, is eHarmony's matchmaking algorithms that the company has sold to the job industry already and there is talk about going into other industries as well.
Katrina Lake, Stitch Fix
There is no greater story in tech than a startup disrupting an entire industry, but perhaps the tale is made even more compelling when it is co-founded by a female (a demographic under-served in tech). Harvard and Stanford educated Lake is Stitch Fix's CEO and co-founder and has been a driving force in companies like Gap and Amazon mimicking her company's service by offering apparel subscription boxes of their own, proving innovation can still win against giants like Amazon.
Horia Beschea, Dreamstime
Horia is an AI specialist working with Dreamstime to design, develop and implement large-scale Deep Learning projects that improve the user experience. After spending almost two decades working in software development, creating software that runs at the core of (almost) all big banks in Romania, Horia believes artificial intelligence is the next step in software development and that it will improve almost all aspects of human life in the next few years.
Eric Tholomé, 1&1
Although currently quiet on the details, global hosting and domains company 1&1 has reportedly appointed a new CEO in Stanford-educated Tholomé. 1&1 continues to be a company to watch for its early involvement in the new generic top level domains and global hosting environment (particularly with GDPR being a contender in 2018).
Sameer Patel, Kahuna
After leaving SAP, Patel went on to become the CEO of Kahuna, an AI-powered automation platform. Patel arrived to Kahuna in Aug. 2016 and has generated buzz for the company through keynotes and editorial interviews as well as Kahuna being named a winner of the 2017 Bay Area Best Places To Work, an awards program presented by the San Francisco Business Times and the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Ilir Sela, Slice
Founder and CEO of Slice, an online pizza ordering system helping local pizzerias get digital, Sela's family has been in the pizza business for three generations. With an increasing number of people expecting self-service in all aspects of their life, Sela is giving small businesses a fighting chance online.
Mary Ellen Dugan, WP Engine
As chief marketing officer for WP Engine, which provides managed WordPress hosting for sites around the world, Dugan brings 20 years’ experience in strategic marketing, brand building, business development and advertising.
Jake Weatherly, SheerID
Discounts for special groups - such as military, teachers or first responders - are great for the end-user and for brand loyalty, but can come at a greater cost to companies when people who do not qualify are using the promotions too. As CEO and co-founder of SheerID, Weatherly's company protects those discounts by verifying a person's eligibility for the brand offering the promotion. Weatherly has grown this company impressively even signing Target recently to verify military status for a Veteran's Day campaign.
Lucinda Duncalfe, Monetate
CEO and longtime board member of the company, Duncalfe has helped shape Monetate over the past nine years into a leading personalization provider. She holds an MBA from the Wharton School in Entrepreneurial Management.
Jamie Anderson, Marketo
Anderson stepped down from CMO at SAP Hybris to join Marketo in October 2017 as its EMEA president. Anderson, known for his vibrant presence and sense of humor, will bring a keen eye for customer engagement/experience and the tech that fuels them to the popular marketing automation company.
Justin Hartzman, needls
With organic reach on Facebook dwindling for many businesses, the need to advertise to receive visibility is at an all-time high. Advertising is not enough, however, to connect with people one on one. Hartzman started needls to automate contextual advertising on the network for small businesses by serving up ads in the moment someone needs them (i.e., someone posted about a plumbing emergency) versus serving ads based on expressed interests alone (i.e., a plumbing ad to someone who has "liked" a plumbing page).
Jason Small, Verizon
Storytelling for as large of an organization as Verizon is critical for connecting people to the brand and evoking emotion for its stories as well. Small is a veteran in digital marketing and communication, and we are intrigued by the stories he has written and the ones he will write for Verizon.
Jim Kaskade, Janrain
As CEO of Janrain, Kaskade is passionate about customer identity management and security. To Janrain, he brings more than 30 years of experience in enterprise software as well as a unique level of transparency. Kaskade will lead Janrain into what is bound to be one of the more exciting times for customer identity management with the impending general data protection regulation as well as the company's main competitor, Gigya, being bought by SAP.
Sam Kim, KR8OS
KR8OS is poised to revolutionize the adtech industry under Kim's leadership. When the large players in the ad network industry like Facebook and Google make and enforce the rules for determining attributions and determining payments, advertisers are finding that those rules don’t favor their interests. KR8OS will be positioning itself to disrupt the digital advertising ecosystem by eliminating the role of third parties in determining attributions for networks. KR8OS will allow advertisers and performance marketers to track attributions with unprecedented reliability and precision - on a massive scale. Since the register is accessible to all users, they can also audit attributions to make sure they are being fairly administered. An open attribution system allows for full transparency and eliminates fraud.
Bates was recently promoted to director, tasked with developing the software-product roadmap for Adobe Experience Cloud’s analytics and data science capabilities. Bates undertook a passion project of uncovering the impact of blockchain on the analytics community for 2018, alongside his work in emerging tech like machine learning and predictive modeling.
Krishna Menon, WeVideo
If there is one trend that needs to be repeated time and again, it is that of video but some marketers are still timid about producing this wildly engaging format. As CEO of WeVideo, Menon is helping make video more accessible to more people with advanced video editing features that are easy to use.
Kristin Naragon, Adobe Campaign
Naragon is responsible for driving business growth for Adobe Campaign globally, as a result of successfully managing the company’s email marketing business. She’s focused on empowering brands to deliver personalized campaigns across all channels, harnessing the power of data and creativity for customers like Travelocity, Sephora and Heathrow Airport.Kyle York, Oracle Dyn
In charge of company growth and corporate strategy, York's work helped put Dyn on the map and later acquired by Oracle. York made the move to Oracle with Dyn and brings many years of experience including one of the darkest days on the Web in recent history when many of the most popular sites in the U.S. (Dyn customers) were hit by multiple DDoS attacks. York handled the crisis like a pro and Oracle is better off for having York's experience.
Manny Medina, Outreach
Co-founder and CEO of Outreach, Medina boasts an impressive resume including being employee number three on Amazon's Web Services team. Wearing second-hand clothes to do his part to consume less, he leads Outreach with transparency and communication. Outreach recently raised $30 million in funding to bring its funding total to $60 million.
Maria Haggerty, Dotcom Distribution
As one of the original founders of Dotcom Distribution, Haggerty has helped retail brands turn boring brown boxes that their products get shipped in to an experience worthy of being shared on social media through gift-like details. To improve loyalty and return sales, brands will need to recognize that the customer journey does not end when an online sale gets delivered.
Mark Hurd, Oracle
As the battle for the cloud rages, Oracle CEO Hurd is making some bold predictions about his company's future. Hurd also takes his talk to Twitter, which is still somewhat of a under-utilized channel for CEOs to have personal accounts on and even more so for such a powerful organization like Oracle.
Matthew Prince, CloudFlare
Co-founder and CEO, Prince is doing his part in one of the most critical areas of online business today: security. CloudFlare provides a content delivery network, distributed domain name server services, DDoS protection and security
Mehdi Daoudi, Catchpoint
The Web performance industry is not the hottest of tech topics, but those who truly understand customer experience know how critical it is to a website's operations. As co-founder and CEO of Catchpoint, Daoudi shares his expertise about performance optimization with audiences in an informative and entertaining manner.
Michelle Huff, Act-On
Huff brings more than 17 years' of experience to Act-On in her role as chief marketing officer. She is quick on her feet proved by her participating in her first AMA earlier this year when she supplied a ton of information helpful to marketing peers, showcasing her incredible depth of knowledge about the marketing automation space.
Nilay Banker, Inspyrus, Inc.
A Stanford computer scientist, Banker is a revolutionary in an area craving transformation – enterprise finance – leveraging patent-pending SaaS technologies to deliver triple the cost savings of traditional invoice automation solutions and millions saved in early-pay discounts.
Pamela Webber, 99designs
Chief marketing officer of crowdsourced platform 99designs, Webber is passionate about using data to derive customer insights and to find 'aha moments' that impact strategic direction like the company's own rebranding. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Richard Stevenson, Pipedrive
With admirable enthusiasm and energy, Stevenson is now head of global communications for Pipedrive, a cloud-driven sales management software for SMBs. Stevenson joined the company this month, and was formerly with ePages and 1&1. Stevenson is mega passionate about how U.S. SMBs can leverage the cloud and often shares his expertise in industry publications.
Rob May, Talla
May, the co-founder, and CEO of Talla, which builds intelligent blockchain based assistants to help knowledge workers better do their jobs. As artificial intelligence makes agents and bots more autonomous, and reinforcement learning makes them more unpredictable, the need to constrain and capture their actions for training, auditing, and compliance becomes more urgent. Talla's BotChain works by creating digital certificates with every bot action and storing those certificates on a blockchain for creating an identity for each bot. Companies with decryption keys can then audit or inspect those certificates and this will help to monitor bots’ activities.Sam Saltis, Coredna
Saltis is CEO and founder of Coredna, a cloud CMS and e-commerce software. Coredna has seen rapid adoption of its disruptive technology which enables companies to scale and enter markets faster. His vision for cloud software from day one was to have each website running the exact same backend code, with the ability to be visualized via a unique frontend UI/UX.
Tara Sporrer, Moxie
Contextual is the new personalization and Sporrer flawlessly explains Moxie's role in this arena as SVP of marketing for the customer engagement software. Moxie helps brands intelligently engage customers throughout their journey based on who they are, what they have already engaged with and how to best serve them in their moment of need.
As people ring in the New Year, GoDaddy will be welcoming a new CEO as the current one, Blake Irving will retire on Dec. 31. It will be interesting to see how Wagner, currently chief operating officer, will align GoDaddy's product map with business needs as the company has expanded past domains and hosting with offerings such as WordPress help through the acquisition of WP Curve.
Steve Rayson, BuzzSumo
One of the most talked about companies of 2017, BuzzSumo helps content marketers identify influencers and topics to improve strategy. Rayson is director of BuzzSumo and helps the company increase its exposure even more through his informative content.
Zachary Peer, One North
Peer works around the clock to ensure the availability, security and performance of more than 600 digital solutions, collectively earning more than 245 million page views per month. Among his accomplishments: an average page load time of 0.6 seconds and 8.5 million blocked malicious or unwanted requests to One North client websites.
Nominate a DIGITAL Maven
An upcoming issue of Website Magazine will feature PR professionals and Internet consultants. Make a nomination at wsm.co/2018noms.
++ A note about our process: Our editors discuss and dissect technology and accompanying trends daily with access to software and spokespersons that fuel this vibrant industry. While some members of this list were nominated, others were selected by our editorial staff for their tremendous contributions, insightful interviews with us and tireless work for their companies (all at the top of their game). Using qualitative data like this, mixed with quantitative information such as a company's market penetration or the person's social following, we were able to compile a list we're proud of and we hope the honorees are too. ++