In an interview with CIO Look, Dr. Mauricio Jose Moura, CEO of IDEIA USA LLC, illustrates how he combined technology and public opinion in data analysis. Through this, he bridged the gap of deep and real-time analysis all the while staying true to the users’ privacy. He also highlights how he surpassed all the challenges and abides by the rule that that clients are the ultimate source of enhancing your services.
Here are the excerpts from the interview.
Kindly take us through your journey on becoming an entrepreneur and proficient leader.
First, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to tell our story. Second, I was actually an accidental entrepreneur. During my final years of PhD was the time when data analytics were becoming more sophisticated. Then, I saw an open market space to combine technology and public opinion analysis, especially in Latin America.
At the time, clients were demanding deep and real-time analysis; therefore, we began to fulfill such gap and were successful, first in my home country Brazil. Over the years, we were able to incorporate new ways to analyze data, run public opinion surveys through different technologies, and anticipate trends with much more accuracy. On top of that, we were pioneers to do all that respecting individuals’ data privacy. Such unique ability to keep innovating made our growth viable. Furthermore, this is also making our financial survival during difficult Covid-19 times possible.
How do you diversify your organization’s services to entice the target audience?
Our core business is to listen and understand the public opinion movements and trends. Hence, we strongly believe that clients are the key source of improvement of services and products. I always say that they have shaped our services and innovation culture. From such humble listening process, our company has been changing products and services almost every year.
Take, for example, the current thought moment of the pandemic in 2020. After the crisis hit hard, we had to re-invent ourselves and, in some cases, go back to the basics to keep the minimum cash flow.
What roadblocks or challenges were faced by you in a corporate business? And how did you overcome them?
Roadblocks and challenges are a constant part of running a business: unfair competition, regular sources of funding, economic conditions, government regulations and lack of top data scientists and developers (in our case). On top of that, Covid-19 came to show us that even greater and unpredictable challenges can be part of the entrepreneur journey.
Having said that, I believe in some key pillar to overcome those: First one is human capital; hire, train, and motivate people are real issues, especially working in different countries and now remotely (from home). Sounds obvious but spend time recruiting, coaching, and training people is tough but really the only road to success.
As a core value, we have always pushed to have a company with diversity (different people from completely different backgrounds) as part of our culture. Secondly, innovation requires accepting mistakes and learning from those. The key to innovate is to have perseverance.
Third, learn to say ‘no’ to projects, ideas, and clients that do not bring economic or reputational value; that’s not easy at all, but must be exercised. Last but not least (especially in uncertain times such as the current one) communicate honestly, timely and clearly to all stakeholders.
According to you, what are the vital traits that every entrepreneur should possess?
In my personal opinion, basically two traits: above of all is perseverance. It is all about keep pushing forward, keep trying, keep learning and keep working hard. Remember that, as an entrepreneur, you control the process, not the outcome. And secondly, I believe in leading by example. Be yourself what you expect from the people of your company.
How do you sustain in the current unpredictable markets and hectic competition?
I believe in building a solid reputation overtime. It’s not an easy task under the public opinion arena, but the only sustainable path to growth and profitability. Our company is recognized mainly by innovation, professional diversity, international expertise, the track record of anticipating trends, and seriousness. Our biggest asset is to keep reinventing ourselves throughout the years.
How do you cope up with capricious technological trends to boost your personal growth?
I personally have an academic DNA which means that I keep studying, learning, and seeking to understand new trends and technologies. I believe that is an essential part of keeping relevant to clients and the market.
How do you maintain balance between your professional & personal life?
I try to be disciplined, to be able to enjoy both. Sometimes it is really doable, but most of the times being an entrepreneur means 24/7 dedication and attention. That’s part of the game.
How do you sustain your creative leadership spirit in this crucial time?
First of all, I try to be positive and focus on what we can do. Secondly, as mentioned earlier, I try to communicate openly, honestly, and constantly with my team. This is a time that cooperation is super important to overcome the challenges brought by the pandemic.
What are your future endeavors/objectives and where do you see yourself in the near future?
I have a mantra: as a CEO and founder, I hope the company does not need me anymore in the near future. For the company, I hope the future brings us more innovation, learning, and opportunities to keep reinventing ourselves. I believe we will be stronger after the coronavirus period. For me, I will always work with research, social science, and human behavior. That’s my passion.
About Dr. Mauricio Jose Moura
Dr. Mauricio Jose Moura, Founder, serves as the Chief Executive Officer of IDEIA USA LLC and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of São Paulo, a Master’s degree in Social Sciences from the University of Chicago, a Master’s degree in Political Management from George Washington University, and a Ph.D. in Public Sector Economics from the Fundação Getúlio Vargas. He also graduated from the OPM (Owners and Presidents Management Program) at Harvard Business School.