“Start the ‘be your authentic self’ movement.”, with Mitch Russo & Michael O’Sullivan

The key thing I would point to in how we have been able to build this community is that we’ve tapped into the global innovation wave to spread the word about LexX globally — that’s really the main thing. As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a […]

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The key thing I would point to in how we have been able to build this community is that we’ve tapped into the global innovation wave to spread the word about LexX globally — that’s really the main thing.

As part of my series about the “5 Things You Need To Know To Create a Successful App or SAAS”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michael O’Sullivan, Commercial Director of LexX Technologies.

Michael has qualifications in finance and law (B Comm. LLB) gained from the University of NSW. He has an extensive background in building businesses including a key role as Commercial Director of KAZ Group Ltd, where he led the company’s growth and oversaw it’s acquisition by Telstra for $330M in 2005. He has also served as the CFO at both Imagine Group Entertainment and AllRites.

Michael has, in recent years, held roles advising a number of Technology based businesses, including Anittel Group (Director) & Artis Group (Co-Founder /Director), now a leading Microsoft partner within Australia. Michael is currently the Commercial Director of LexX Technologies.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I worked in the technology sector for around 35 years after doing a BComm/LLB at university; I went to the University of New South Wales. I have always been fascinated by ongoing developments in the tech sector and, in particular, the more recent emergence of Artificial Intelligence technologies. I believe the emergence of AI will have more impact than any other breakthrough technologies I experienced over my time in the sector.

What was the “Aha Moment” that led you to think of the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?

I’m currently the Commercial Director of LexX Technologies. The story that our CEO, Anant Sahay, originally shared with me when I joined LexX was that he thought of the idea when he was consulting with a major aviation company. He saw that they were overwhelmed by the amount of data they had to process; they needed to deal with this data to make proper decisions within their maintenance practices. Anant saw first-hand the issues in making informed decisions around vast amounts of data. This, in conjunction with the advent of hugely enhanced computing power and the emergence of open source algorithms, is what enabled the concept of LexX to be formulated.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

On a personal level, like anyone there have been plenty of ups and downs, however I believe there’s usually a solution to every problem. Some of the greater challenges have centered around organisational politics, but again, there’s always solution to every problem, such that I’ve never really considered giving up.

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

Things are on a significantly upward path, particularly with LexX. We have some strong global brand clients now committing to the LexX platform. However, you learn over the years that everything takes longer than what you initially think it will take and, as such, patience and adaptability are prerequisites.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?

Some years back, after a particularly gushy email from a high profile business associate to a CEO at the time, I hurriedly replied “Gag” and… inadvertently hit the ‘reply all’ button. After receiving quite an adverse email back from the unintended recipient, I could not see how I would recover from that position. Thankfully, my daughter very cleverly looked up acronyms for the word ‘gag’ and found one — ‘Good as Gold’, which I then passed on to the unintended recipient as what my intended meaning was!

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

Our company stands out with the uniqueness of our AI-based product and also via our extensive domain knowledge. A story that always reminds me how unique we are is that one of our global brand clients were searching for a technology like ours for 2 whole years without success before we connected with them. It’s always encouraging to hear directly from the client when you have addressed a problem they face.

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

Stay active and keep a balanced perspective.

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?

We’ve been able to achieve significant headway through the development of our marketing collateral, to that end I am very appreciative of our Marketing Executive at LexX and what we’ve been able to achieve together.

I’m also grateful to a prior connection, who I previously worked with, who introduced me to the brains behind LexX. This originated from them meeting in their local dog park, obviously walking their dogs, and discussing business elements that lead to my introduction!

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. Approximately how many users or subscribers does your app or software currently have? Can you share with our readers three of the main steps you’ve taken to build such a large community?

Our primary sectors are Aviation, Transit, and Energy, with clients in ANZ, USA, and Europe. Some of our significant current engagements include: Schneider Electric, EnergyAustralia, EDP, and Jetstar.

The key thing I would point to in how we have been able to build this community is that we’ve tapped into the global innovation wave to spread the word about LexX globally — that’s really the main thing.

What is your monetization model? How do you monetize your community of users? Have you considered other monetization options? Why did you not use those?

We operate a subscription based model which is based on a per asset/per month pricing. We have considered other monetization options and, in due course once we have a deeper global footprint, we will likely action those.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful app or a SAAS? Please share a story or an example for each.

I would say the 5 most important things are as follows:

Investigate the market opportunity

  1. Research other potent competitive products
  2. Where is your competitive advantage and how pervasive is this?
  3. Model the financials around the opportunity
  4. Find out potential market size and capture
  5. Estimate pricing per user per app
  6. Determine minimum success levels for viability

Get advice on the best technologies to use in building the app

  1. Consider the needs for integration to other apps
  2. Consider economics of building and supporting
  3. Consider availability of tech staff around particular technologies
  4. Consider the appropriate cloud platform (AWS, Azure, etc.)

Determine how you will finance the build and subsequent commercialisation

  1. Consider potential grants
  2. Other sources of capital
  3. Develop a high level marketing plan
  4. How will you attract clients/users?
  5. Do you potentially have an anchor client who will guide your development (and maybe assist with finance)
  6. If it’s a B2C app (ie. market place type app), determine how you will gain enough buy and sell side participants when launching

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Start the ‘be your authentic self’ movement.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

We’re always posting some of the latest LexX news updates and interesting pieces on the technology space from our LexX socials. You can find them at:

Twitter — @lexxtec

LinkedIn — https://www.linkedin.com/company/lexxtechnologies/

Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/lexxtechnologies/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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