Mike Bryer Zapper CEO Mike Bryer says his passion over the past 20 years has been in the delivery of digital and e-commerce experiences to end users. Many people are familiar with the Zapper brand – it offers contactless payment options in restaurants and at many other points of sale, along with loyalty and rewards programmes.“My role in the enablement of commerce through digital interfaces – by mobilising teams to efficiently deliver quality experiences – has been one of searching for the best formula to organise and motivate people to produce their best,” he says in this IT Leadership Series interview with TechCentral.“Driving a minimalist mindset to declutter the experience and simplify the technology stack is key to a successful digital product — and nothing beats talking to your customers for guidance and feedback on what they value.”TechCentral posed a few questions to Bryer. What does your company do? Zapper customers can perform contactless payments via QR codes, and receive loyalty and rewards digitally from Zapper merchants. Merchants can also accept tap-to-pay card payments from their Zapper merchant app. What do you see as the IT leader’s top priorities in 2023? Security remains the top priority to ensure customer data is protected and merchants receive their funds. Availability of services 24/7 is critical as customer and merchant expectations are that digital services will always be available. Customer experience is the next priority as this is key in our competitive industry. What do you most admire in business and why? Firstly, business models that allow a business to scale without needing a large staff compliment. Secondly, businesses that are able to execute at speed without compromising the integrity of the business or customer service. Finally, as a business grows, maintaining a healthy company culture is a tricky task, so is also something to admire when leaders get it right. How do you attract and retain talent? A business needs a strong vision and a sense of why it exists and the customer pain points it aims to solve in order to attract the best talent. Top staff want to be part of something they will be proud to discuss with their family and friends over the weekends. Retaining staff is about listening, engaging and investing in the talent so that your can apply their energy to the most relevant challenges that will stretch them and allow them to learn and grow. If you could go back and give your 18-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Make sure you understand where your passion lies and then find the best mentor you can to help you along the way. Set a goal, listen to your mentor, and work hard and smart. Rinse and repeat. What’s your favourite productivity hack? Do not multitask – focus and complete one thing at a time. Get really good at prioritising urgent vs important tasks. What occupation (other than your own) would you like to try? Professional sports – it seems like an awesome way to spend each day. Where do you see the technology industry heading in the next three to five years? We will see the prevalence of AI in products we consume and use every day and not even be surprised by the way in which companies implement AI to learn customers’ behaviours and respond. Blockchain will start delivering real business value. The debate over remote work will settle into a well-recognised hybrid pattern where management and staff no longer arm-wrestle over full remote vs office-bound environments. 5G data speeds will empower industries that previously would be unable to operate in a distributed manner, such as medical surgeries that could be performed by surgeons working from home. IT security will continue to be a running battle between attackers and defenders, where the humans remain the weak link in the chain. Larger premiums will be paid for those engineers with conceptual and execution skills. What is one book you’d recommend to our audience and why? Inspired: How to Create Products Customers Love, by Marty Cagan. There is nothing more wasteful than building something that customers do not like using, whether physical or digital. Marty is a Silicon Valley rock star who has codified how businesses should go about solving customer pains in a way that they are part of the co-creation process. This lowers business risk, improving the chances of success, and makes for a far more rewarding way of working. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media – https://techcentral-co-za.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/techcentral.co.za/it-leadership-series-zapper-ceo-mike-bryer-on-building-with-customers/217684/?amp=1 That’s my bro!!!