At our recent (dev)day event, I had the pleasure of listening to Michael Cirillo, co-founder and CEO of Flex Dealer and host of The Dealer Playbook podcast. Cirillo’s presentation focused on how to disrupt the automotive technology industry and the importance of building relationships. Here are some of the key takeaways we learned from his talk.

Developing Technology for Generational Growth

Cultivating trusted relationships in your own organization is vital to building strong customer relationships. As Cirillo said, "60% of my podcast guests within the past seven years have directly referenced the importance of building relationships of trust.” It starts by creating a mission to focus on benefiting the end customer and aligning your employees with that goal. This mission can be the most important link to creating generational growth.

Michael Cirillo

So what is generational growth? Generational growth happens when you care as much about your customer's customer as you do about them. If you're building a solution for an auto dealership, focus on how it will impact the customer as much as how it will benefit the dealer.

"When building loyal customers, you need to focus on solving their problems, alleviating their skepticism and enhancing their experience." He continued, "These fundamental values will not only bridge the gap of what the market needs, they’ll also help your customer solve their operational needs and meet the needs of their customer." This is how to create a generational business.

Cirillo shared one of his favorite quotes by author John Bytheway: "Wise people learn from their own experience; super wise people learn from others' experiences." When evaluating your business model, it's a wise idea to study the methods of esteemed entrepreneurs who have paved the path ahead of you. In other words: work smarter, not harder.

Choose your own adventure when building APIs for the automotive industry

To build a successful business model, you must know how to accurately anticipate the needs of your market. First, you must identify a need worth solving and pave a path of direction for your business. Then you need to define a clear goal with benchmarks to measure your success. Once you’ve laid a purposeful foundation for your product, you can tackle the market with confidence. As innovators and developers, we must always remember that everything we do is based on the needs of the market.

If your business relationships are based on technology alone, then you should not have the technology

Cirillo closed his presentation with an interesting analogy from the movie "Spider-Man: Homecoming." Throughout the movie, Spider-Man is trying to prove his worth to his role models The Avengers by fighting battles that are out of his league. When Iron Man confronts him on his recklessness and asks for his superpower suit back, Spider-Man exclaims, "But I’m nothing without the suit!" This prompts an iconic response from Iron Man: "If you're nothing without the suit, then you shouldn't be wearing it."

Cirillo related this scene to business: "If your business relationships are based on the technology alone, then you should not have the technology." In the age of IT, it’s easy to be consumed by inventing the next best thing. But the danger of this narrow mindset is missing the bigger picture — whose problem are you solving? Are you developing a product just to compete in the market, or are you developing your product to specifically benefit your customers and enrich their relationships with their customers?

Our duty as entrepreneurs, developers and tech startups is to look at business with a keen eye on operational needs and find a way to streamline the customer experience so that everyone benefits.

Watch Michael's talk

Michael's talk helped (dev)day attendees gain a greater understanding on how to begin building trustworthy businesses from the ground up.


Authored on Tue, 06/22/2021 - 12:59