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As Chief Operating Officer of a global firm, I spend time meeting with clients to make sure our product innovation is keenly market-focused. Confluence has an iterative product development life cycle, and frequent client input increases both the agility of our development and the value we deliver to the market. I also spend time sourc- ing ideas with global market managers and developers. I meet daily with market managers to keep current with market needs and facilitate sharing of these needs with Confluence’s product development teams to create innovative new product solutions.


Chief Operating Officer, Confluence Typical day at the office?


Skip Smith


There is a tremendous start-up technology community in Pittsburgh that cultivates new ideas and drives the city forward. This is largely the result of our local access to great universities. Having worked in many places around the world—Europe, the Middle East, New York, and San Francisco—I can say that Pittsburgh reigns equal to those places. Its wealth of innovative, hardworking individuals keeps the city fresh and unique.


Why Pittsburgh?


At Confluence, agility is a key differentiator. It’s rooted in our size, culture and val- ues. We pivot quickly to solve problems, both large and small, for our clients. Tech- nology helps us stay ahead of our clients’ needs by capturing live feedback through product demos. Client input is vital to our product development process, and our developers and product teams are on site to engage clients every step of the way. The recent launch of our Unity®


How does your company leverage technology? NXT Expense Processing solution, a first-of-its-


kind SaaS-enabled solution, is evidence of how this approach accelerates time-to- market and market adoption.


“Never defend an indefensible position.” When you are wrong, admit it. At Conflu- ence, we nurture a “No fear of failure” mantra because experimentation leads to in- novation. Along these lines, my favorite quote is an excerpt from Teddy Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic” speech: “…the credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena…who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming…”


Best advice you’ve received?


Delegation. I surround myself with intelligent individuals and let them do what they do best. I encourage respectfully challenging one another, regardless of role or title. Ingrained in each Confluence employee are values of service and integrity. We are service-focused with the integrity to have the tough conversation. We face reality with honesty, accountability and courage. This approach has encouraged us to take manageable risks in a conservative industry.


Secret to success?


I am obsessed with my iPad. I use it to read the paper, video conference with clients and colleagues, and FaceTime with my family when I am traveling. In short, I could not live without it.


Technology you can’ t live without? continued on next page >> www.pghtech.org 23


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