This week, we spoke to Guy Farley, CTO and cofounder of insurance startup Bought By Many about the central challenges and solutions he addresses, how to handle change, and where the real opportunities are in insurance…
Has the insurance industry changed much over time, and why is it such an interesting space to be working in right now?
Insurance has changed very little in decades, if not longer, and in no small part due to its technology legacy. We are in an amazing period where both the investment and the technology are available to challenge insurance from the ground up.
What would you say are the biggest challenges that Bought By Many – and other businesses – are facing today?
It’s challenging to find the right technology talent. All industries – taxis, takeouts, fashion, holiday accommodation, banking, and insurance – are being disrupted by tech business. All of these companies need technologists, and lots of them. It’s a great time to be a talented coder.
What opportunities are now arising in the insurance industry?
Insurance is a massive global marketplace and there are a few handfuls of startups and scaleups making a mark. We are fortunate enough to be one of those – opportunities don’t come much bigger than that.
Outside of insurance, what specific technologies or business models do you think it’s important to keep an eye on?
Of huge importance in the medium term is the overall level of unsustainable consumption by modern societies. We need to develop systems to massively reduce wasteful consumption. On a positive note though, I am a big fan of electric and autonomous vehicles. They will help significantly and I can’t wait to see the changes they bring… It will be sooner than everyone thinks.
What organisations do you see as particularly inspiring?
You can’t help but admire the big ambition of companies like Tesla. The customer experience of Uber’s app is exceptional when you think about how complex the problem is, although I think their business model is dubious (always tip your Uber driver). First Direct showed how to use tech and changing customer expectations to disrupt an industry over 20 years ago and set a benchmark for customer service. Disclaimer: I worked on their first version of internet banking.
We know that success often follows a string of failures… Can you share any significant failures which have helped your path to success?
I was involved in starting two software/consulting businesses that didn’t ever really take off. My biggest learning from those experiences is that to have a chance of success you need a mix of core skills: commercial, tech, marketing, and ops.
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