Interview in Exposition Magazine Sri Lanka (forthcoming 2020)

From Forthcoming Interview in Exposition Magazine (2020):

How do you look at the way you do your research?

I’m technology marketing researcher, a combination of my research training in marketing science and background in computer and electronics engineering. All my research is conducted at the intersection of marketing with technology, with the aim that it is impactful not only to other researchers but also to professional marketers and technologists.

It’s a tricky balance as in academia there is pressure that we publish and especially in high impact journals, but the specific reason why I got into marketing in the first place is precisely because technology should be useful in the market. When studying for an MBA we were repeatedly taught and asked “what’s the value of this?”. I think this is the overall fundamental point for products, services and also research: “what is it about”, “why would anybody want to adopt it” or “what problem does this solve”. Although the disconnection between science and practice is enduring, technology is definitely changing this, and fast. What was very obvious to me when I started my research career is now increasingly being demanded by governments: they want “research with an impact” in order to gain competitive advantage.

Economies are moved by the gains made by trade and by providing solutions to problems that benefit society. Before my PhD I visited MIT and that’s what I saw. After the PhD I went to Stanford I saw the same there. Everyone has a startup there so instead of spending too much time teaching and marking exams I preferred stepping into the startup world with a problem-solving mindset, and do less teaching but of higher impact. So now I’m all about solving problems with science-based evidence.

When I do lecture I always discuss with my students real projects I’m dealing with first hand combined with the latest science in order to train them on how to make the best decisions possible based on the existing evidence. This is what opens students’ eyes and keep them motivated. It doesn’t make much sense to me that what is researched doesn’t even make it one way or another to practice, and if we’re dealing with science-based innovations they should produce a stronger impact. In education research the time between publishing and referencing a finding ranges between 2.5 and 6.5 years ! How on earth are you going to find a job in today’s world if the information you absorb is already outdated. That’s why I teach with real examples we are working on as of Now.

Hackers and Founders (H/F) in Silicon Valley gives me this opportunity to this type of job and accomplish my vision. Here we’ve dealt with well over 300.000 startups in 62 countries. At H/F as Director of Scientific Research I leverage the knowledge amassed in the H/F community worldwide and develop research which is then used by startups, ecosystems and policy makers.