MATE 005 – Saul Flores on strategy, innovation and what he learned at Stanford Business School

Saul Flores—Chief Strategy Officer at DT—chats today about business strategy, the myths of innovation and what he’s learned through some of his crazy jobs in management. Saul has a Master’s Degree and is also a Stanford Business School graduate, and he shares his wealth of knowledge from these endeavours. We also talk about how he’s done so well in his short career, how to optimise for the best business outcomes and what it means to be a “highly trained logical-cynic with pragmatic-idealism”.

Saul Flores recording MATE 005
Saul Flores recording MATE 005

 

Links and resources:

Thomas A. Edison Laboratories (Image source: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.nj1222/photos.112609p)
Thomas A. Edison Laboratories (Image source: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/hhh.nj1222/photos.112609p)

 

Quotes:

  • “Getting the job a McMaster-Carr was turning point number one [in my career]. Stanford was [the second] big turning point for me.” ~ Saul Flores
  • MATE: “Do you experience impostor syndrome?” SF: “Constantly. I think that’s been a factor in every new job I’ve ever had.”
  • “I was 27 when [DT’s CEO] Brian reached out to me, 28 when I started at DT and still 28 when I started as Strategy Director.” ~ Saul Flores
  • MATE: “Looking back at your career, and education, do you have an ‘I made it’ moment?” SF: “Not really. I think the more I’ve worked the more I’ve realised there’s more to do.”
  • “You’re a highly trained logical-cynic, and a value you have is pragmatic-idealism. What the fuck does that mean?!” ~ Adam Jaffrey
  • “Innovation is solving a problem that hasn’t been solved before, or a different way of solving the same problem, in a way that you get value from it in a marketplace.” ~ Saul Flores
  • “Innovation is mostly iterative, it’s mostly collaborative, and it’s rarely some brand-new invention the world’s never seen before.” ~ Saul Flores
  • “The reality of it is, there’s no one silver bullet that makes you innovative. It’s an organisational design process. There’s culture, there’s resourcing, there’s structures, there’s technologies, there’s tools, and … there’s a commitment. The most important ingredient is failure. You just have to fail a bunch if you want to try something new.” ~ Saul Flores
  • “I think ‘fast-mover’ [instead of first-mover] is important. So, when you know a move is a good move to make, get there quickly. You don’t have to be the first one. If you’re optimising for first, you’re not optimising for a lot of other things, like: do it well, do it cheaply, server a real need, etc.” ~ Saul Flores
  • “I don’t like to predict the future, I really try not to. I hate writing a 3-year roadmap for a client because I’m just making it up at that point, and they’re never going to follow it anyway.” ~ Saul Flores

 

Special thanks:

 

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MATE podcast is a digital radio show about Marketing, Advertising, Technology and Entrepreneurship. Hosted by Adam Jaffrey: Digital Strategist and Entrepreneur. Made with love in Melbourne, Australia.

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