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Jack Kennedy of Platform Science: “Look in the mirror on a daily basis and reflect: “Am I doing all that I hoped to achieve today? If not, why? How can I solve for x?”

Ask people to look in the mirror on a daily basis and reflect: “Am I doing all that I hoped to achieve today? If not, why? How can I solve for x?” I had the pleasure to interview Jack Kennedy, CEO and Founder of Platform Science. Jack is the founder and CEO of Platform Science, Inc., […]


Ask people to look in the mirror on a daily basis and reflect: “Am I doing all that I hoped to achieve today? If not, why? How can I solve for x?”


I had the pleasure to interview Jack Kennedy, CEO and Founder of Platform Science. Jack is the founder and CEO of Platform Science, Inc., an emerging company in the connected vehicle and transportation technology space. Previously, he was the President of Qualcomm Enterprise Services, and the President of Omnitracs, Inc., the leader in vehicle telematics, through its sale for $800m to Vista Equity Partners in 2014. He is a veteran of News Corp., where he served as Executive Vice President of Operations — Digital Media, from 2009–2012. From 2007–2008 he served as Executive Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development at Fox Interactive Media, where he led its Operations, Strategy, and M&A activity. He began his career at Fox as a Senior Vice President of Corporate Development at Fox Networks Group, where he was part of the joint Fox/NBC Universal team that created the joint venture now known as “Hulu”. His background includes multiple leadership and strategic roles with technology start-ups, including Craig McCaw and Bill Gates-backed satellite broadband start-up Teledesic; pioneering online video site Load Media Network, where Mr. Kennedy served as Chief Executive Officer; Leap Wireless, and Wireless Facilities International. He began his business career as a venture capital associate with Idanta Partners. He serves as an Advisory to The Rubicon Project (RUBI). Jack retired as a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserves in 2016, after serving as a founding team member of DiUX, the Department of Defense recently established Silicon Valley presence. He deployed most to Iraq in 2006 and 1990, and Panama in 1991. He served tours in Washington D.C., , serving on the staff of U.S. Senator John McCain; the Aide de Camp to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and was a naval aviator in the first Gulf War. Mr. Kennedy holds a BS in Economics and Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and an MBA from the Harvard Business School, and was a Legis Fellow of the Brookings Institution


Thank you so much for joining us Jack! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Before Platform Science, my focus was on digital media, most notably as part of the joint Fox/NBC Universal team that created the joint venture now known as “Hulu.” I witnessed the transformation of traditional media into the digital, mobile, social media and app world.

When I moved to Qualcomm and Omnitracs, working there exposed me not only to transportation and telematics but illuminated how traditional the trucking industry was. I realized that no one was applying a digital mindset to telematics and after leading Omnitracs through its sale in 2014, I decided it needed to happen.

Can you share your story of grit and success? First can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey?

When we first started, Uber was top of mind for all the VCs in regards to transportation. There was definitely no appetite for the trucking sector. One year later, the VC appetite shifted to autonomy and self-driving cars. Trucking was still not on the radar. And then one year after that, the interest was in the long tail of the industry, focused on customers who had never used this type of product before. It was three long years of pitching before anyone was remotely interested in enterprise telematics.

Where did you get the drive to continue even when things got hard?

Sometimes “drive” is propelled by the fact that there is no choice but to go forward.

In the beginning, it may be difficult to convince yourself that your idea is unique and worthy enough to pursue. If you get past that point, then you question if your intuition is right or wrong. At some point, you’re too far into the idea to go in reverse. That is when drive inserts itself. Usually if you’re wrong, you’ll find out immediately. But if you’re right, you won’t find out until later. Knowing that you may not find out if you will be successful until further down the line, gives me the drive to keep going until I am proven wrong.

So, how are things going today? How did grit lead to your eventual success?

So far, we’re on the right path. Just at the end of 2018, transportation startups have accelerated past other SaaS companies In VC funding frequency metrics. The three years it took to show the VCs that our type of product was the right focus proved that the only invaluable rule an entrepreneur must follow is that you must keep going. You’ll either be proven right or you’ll disappear.

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?

Even though I had come specifically from trucking telematics, I thought it would make more sense to focus on the automobile sector since the market there was just bigger. Ironically, I knew enough about trucking to know better, but I still spent the first year trying to sell to an industry that had no use for the product. It was a real “aha!” moment when I finally realized that the size of the market did not outrank the value created for people.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

They say it takes a village but, in our case, we had the right village. From day one, we had a group of individuals uniquely experienced with the technical capabilities to invent, design, engineer, operate, and communicate all the complexities of a disruptive product. That let those of us who had experience with telematics to spend time with customers and truly understand what they needed and wanted. We really had a rare opportunity to turn our products into something they loved before it even hit the public.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my company” and why? (Please share a story or example for each)

I actually only have one key piece of advice for anyone leading their own company.

Imagine that you have launched your company. Now imagine yourself several years down the line in a time and place where everything you might find important — reputation, friends, family, wealth, success — is gone because of what you have decided to pursue.

If you still feel like you must keep doing what you’re doing: keep going.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I am the wrong person to ask. 🙂

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

There are too numerous to count.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

If you have never worked in trucking and transportation, it may seem like a very foreign industry. But take a moment to think about what would happen if there were no more truck drivers in the world. All-important deliveries would cease — food, water, gas, medical supplies. In the United States alone, $700.4 billion worth of goods are moved by trucks on a daily basis.

None of it could happen without drivers. Our company defines success based on how much easier and better we make truck drivers’ lives. In a world of increasing complexity and the increasing volume of drivers, anything we can do to improve their lives really does make the world better for everyone.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the most amount of people, what would that be?

Ask people to look in the mirror on a daily basis and reflect: “Am I doing all that I hoped to achieve today? If not, why? How can I solve for x?”

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Jack Kennedy – Independant Director – ATN International | LinkedIn

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