Dave Lemphers is the CEO of Code Pilot. Dave Lemphers is a thought leader, influencer, visionary, and successful entrepreneur. Dave provides the leadership and energy that has inspired the creation of Code Pilot. Dave Lemphers joins other leading CEOs and Founders taking part in our Leader Roundtable Interview Series. The DotCom Magazine editorial team has recently awarded Code Pilot our Impact Company of 2019 award, and we are delighted to have Dave join us for our Leader Round Table Interview.
The Code Pilot story is very interesting, and we are very excited to not only interview Dave about his very successful business and entrepreneurial spirit, but also put Dave through our popular speed round as well. Dave, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy day for this interview, and answering some questions about leadership, your vision, and your passion.
1. What is the “elevator pitch” for Code Pilot?
Our AI Accelerators help enterprise companies rapidly build and deploy AI solutions while also training and readying their teams to operate intelligent systems in production. We use a combination of out-of-box code and pre-trained models together with our industry-first interactive training platform.
2. Many of our readers are just starting to build a company. What advice can you give CEO’s just starting out regarding keeping a company moving forward, and please tell us the key to your company’s success?
Listen to your customers, they’ll lead you to success. When we started Code Pilot our vision was simple, make developers better. By constantly checking-in with our customers, we were able to refine and develop our offering to meet them where they were and join them on a journey.
3. For other entrepreneurs seeking to build a business as successful as yours, what advice can you give them when times get a little challenging?
Trust your intuition, and prepare for the long haul. No successful business happens over night, it’s lots of micro-adjustments and learning as you go. When the day is finished, tell yourself, I’m smarter now than I was this morning. You add those up and you start to realize success is just around the corner.
4. How important is the commitment to client satisfaction at Code Pilot, and how do you make sure your customers will become raving fans of your company?
We’re a leader in the AI space, but unfortunately there is a lot of hype and misinformation, so you have to focus on ROI for the customer, and that comes from making sure you advocate for their success, and measure their return, not simply look at your sales pipeline.
5. What is the one thing Code Pilot does to have great communication with their customers?
It’s old school compared to today’s method of multi-channel media selling, but we just talk. It could be in-person, it might be a quick 15 minute call to check-in, but talking to customers and partners is critical in understanding what they need and what challenges they’re dealing with. We also almost exclusively win business through word of mouth or by selling into existing customers. Value compounds, if you do right by the customer the first time round, subsequent selling becomes easier and easier. The converse is true, burn a customer just to make a quick sale, and you’re going to run out of doors to knock on and your reputation will proceed you in the worst possible way.
6. In today’s fast changing business environment, how do you stay abreast of things?
Learning is core to our DNA, and it’s a crucial part of our offering. You have to love learning, you have to love being challenged, you have to want to not be the smartest person in the room. That creates a gap, it keeps you hungry and motivated. That’s a huge part of the Code Pilot culture.
7. What is your “Why”? Why do you get up in the morning, and how do you keep yourself at peak performance to lead Code Pilot?
AI has the power to transform businesses in ways most can’t even imagine, I experienced that working as an AI Engineer at Microsoft. Code Pilot stems from that experience, to help companies achieve the same levels of transformation through AI, by giving them access to solutions and training not available outside companies like Microsoft and AWS. We’re democratizing AI by empowering the doers, that is incredibly fulfilling and definitely motivates me and the team every day.
8. Can you recommend a book that has had an influence in your career? How did it influence you?
Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife by John A. Nagl. As an AI startup, in a noisy over-hyped market, trying to win using conventional methods is a recipe for failure. You have to think differently, create innovation in new ways, reorganize and adapt constantly, and always be willing to listen to those closest to the coal face.
9. When communicating with your staff, can you tell us the most important thing you do so that they are able to carry out the objectives that you set forth at Code Pilot?
Be a coach, not a player. As CEO, you’re almost always the person with the least amount of real-time tactical knowledge. So setting objectives is actually about listening and asking questions that help the rest of the company define their own objectives and plan and making them feel empowered to execute. It’s about redefining what success and failure mean. At Code Pilot, the result doesn’t define success of failure, taking initiative and going for it does.
10. In one sentence, can you give some advice to fellow entrepreneurs wishing to build a company as exciting as Code Pilot?
I‘m paraphrasing Bertrand Russell here, but be foolish and fanatical, and back yourself and your team. Best case you reach the highest levels of success, worst case you don’t, but at least you will never wonder “what if?”.
We would like to have some fun and do a “Speed Round” with you! We will ask you ten more questions that we want you to answer in just one to three words only. Here you go!
1. In three words or less, What makes a successful CEO?
Hungry, passionate, human
2. Describe your business in one word?
3. Describe your customers in one word?
4. What one attribute do you look for when hiring an employee?
5. What is the one word you want your customers to say about your company?
6. In three words or less, describe your passion?
Make people better
7. In three words or less, describe what it takes to be successful?
Commitment, confidence, curiosity
8. In three words or less, describe your first year in business at Code Pilot?
Stressful, uncertain, thrilling
9. In three words or less, describe how running a successful company has changed you?
Humility, awareness, perspective
10. What is the one word that you believe has the most power in the English Language?
Dave Lemphers, Thank you so much for sitting down with us at our DotCom Magazine Leader Round Table. We very much appreciate the time you spent helping others learn more about what it takes to be a leader. We hope your interview helps our readers, and we wish you, your family, and of course Code Pilot, nothing but the best.
Dave Lemphers, CEO of Code Pilot, The Leader Roundtable Interview Series