I find thought leadership to be particularly important in tech. We constantly need to educate our customers and the market on new ways of doing things and why behavior change is important. To move an industry — that is often slow if not stagnant to adopting new technologies — forward, thought leadership is essential to driving business growth. Every eBook or white paper out there is an attempt at thought leadership. The brands that you look to for information about your chosen industry are often the ones you’ll end up using in the long run.
I had the pleasure to interview Logan Soya. Logan is the founder and CEO of Aquicore, a leading commercial real estate software company with an all-in-one asset operations and management platform. The only industry player to be built from the ground up as a portfolio-wide solution, Aquicore’s cloud-based platform tracks, analyzes and predicts key building performance factors in real time to unlock portfolio-grade insights, streamlining overall business operations and increasing property value and operating incomes. Soya currently resides in Washington, D.C. He earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in systems management from the Florida Institute of Technology, before attending both London Business School and Georgetown University where he received his MBA. With a background in physics, technology, systems management and business, Soya founded Aquicore in 2012 on a mission to create a global impact by helping clients connect to and understand their physical world. After completing his master’s degree in business administration at Georgetown University, Soya launched Aquicore as a vehicle to create a global impact on the built environment. By leveraging advanced IoT technology, combined with a cloud-based information platform, Aquicore enables property managers, asset managers and building engineers to cut operational costs, improve tenant relations, increase energy efficiency and boost asset value. The Aquicore platform is currently deployed at more than 700 office buildings nationwide, including the John Hancock Tower, Salesforce Tower, National Press Building, Promenade and NASCAR Plaza. Aquicore’s clients include Cushman & Wakefield, JBG Smith, Lincoln Property Company, MRP Realty, Under Armour, Facebook, The World Bank and Salesforce.
Thank you so much for joining us Logan. Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit more. Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
Aquicore’s founding story is pretty interesting. I was completing my MBA when I started the company and our first installation took place while I was studying abroad in London. I had to walk the team through it over the phone, which turned out to be a great exercise in spite of how stressful it was. Our device was being installed in a local Washington, DC bar called Little Miss Whiskey’s and they had to unplug the slushy machine to make room. Now that the entire industry has moved towards tracking and analyzing building data, it’s funny to think back to Little Miss Whiskey’s early decision between energy monitoring and slushies.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Aquicore’s first real office was a tiny space in Dupont Circle; it was so small that the bathroom was actually in one of the conference rooms. We had a very important meeting with the bank to negotiate our debt facility and, of course, an intern walked into the meeting unannounced to use the restroom. Hearing a toilet flush while you’re trying to get a bank to take you seriously as a small business is the last thing you want. Lesson learned: prepare your staff when you have important guests in the office. And — I think this goes without saying, don’t lease an office with a conference room/ bathroom combination.
Ok thank you for that. Let’s now move to the main part of our discussion. In a nutshell, how would you define what a ‘Thought Leader’ is. How is a thought leader different than a typical leader? How is a thought leader different than an influencer?
A thought leader is the trusted source of truth on a certain topic within an industry. Thought leaders are often driven by a larger purpose, policy initiative or mission rather than self-promotion.
Can you talk to our readers a bit about the benefits of becoming a thought leader. Why do you think it is worthwhile to invest resources and energy into this?
Thought leadership can help executives raise their company profile within an industry. Additionally, thought leadership offers elevated market visibility and brand awareness for companies.
Let’s talk about business opportunities specifically. Can you share a few examples of how thought leadership can help a business grow or create lucrative opportunities?
I find thought leadership to be particularly important in tech. We constantly need to educate our customers and the market on new ways of doing things and why behavior change is important. To move an industry — that is often slow if not stagnant to adopting new technologies — forward, thought leadership is essential to driving business growth.
Every eBook or white paper out there is an attempt at thought leadership. The brands that you look to for information about your chosen industry are often the ones you’ll end up using in the long run.
In your opinion, what are 5 strategies that a person should implement to become known as a thought leader in their industry.
- Hone your subject-matter expertise — To be an effective thought leader, you must know the “ins and outs” of your industry and be prepared to discuss anything in that universe.
- Build a digital presence — The internet makes it easy for an audience to find your company and learn about it with ease. The stronger your online presence, through social media (particularly LinkedIn) or bylines, the better.
- Be accessible — Twitter chats, Reddit AMA’s, town halls, interviews — people want to engage and ask questions.
- Be a resource — If I don’t know it, I can probably point you to someone who does or direct you to a resource that will provide more context and background.
- Be forward thinking — True thought leadership requires you to understand your industry well enough to foresee what’s on the horizon and share that with your audience.
I have seen some discussion that the term “thought leader” is trite, overused, and should be avoided. What is your feeling about this?
Thought leadership is an earned status, not a career. Unfortunately, in today’s social-media driven world, the term is often grouped with others, such as influencer, activist or blogger; all of which have nebulous meanings and dubious credibility. True thought leaders are still very much needed, regardless of the terminology.
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
The places we work, the places we live and the places we play can all be healthier, more comfortable, and more efficient. I founded Aquicore with the mission of doing just that. Spaces where we spend a lot of time, like office buildings, historically have not been optimized to benefit people or the planet most effectively. I would love to continue to grow a movement to improve the built environment and our relationship to it.
We are blessed that very prominent leaders in business and entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world with whom you would like to have a lunch or breakfast with? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you for all of these great insights!