Matthew Kushner of STANLEY Security On How 5G Technology May Improve and Impact Our Lives
An Interview With David Liu
…Take the security industry, for example. There’s a tremendous opportunity to pair the widescale connectivity and accessibility that 5G offers with the power of security solutions to unlock benefits with far-reaching effects. RTLS technology, for instance, can have unlimited potential, especially when the deployment of 5G increases the use and adoption of this technology. This can drastically expand the sharing economy, allowing people to search, find, and access virtually any item they need.
5G infrastructure is being installed around the world. At the same time, most people have not yet seen what 5G can offer. What exactly is 5G? How will it improve our lives? What are the concerns that need to be addressed before it is widely adopted?
In our series, called, How 5G Technology May Improve and Impact Our Lives, we are talking to tech and telecom leaders who can share how 5G can impact and enhance our lives.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Matthew Kushner.
Matt Kushner has been the President of STANLEY Security for the last three years and is responsible for driving transformative and innovative solutions into the electronic security industry. Matt has both board and senior executive experience leading businesses in Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America and North America across a range of business structures and complex business challenges. Matt consistently delivers profitable top-line and bottom-line growth, while building organizations and platforms for superior, sustainable performance.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
I can pinpoint a pivotal moment in my past that I believe kickstarted my entire career. In my early 20s, I started a business inside an established defense technology company that I would eventually help take public. Long before that, though, the company experienced a product issue with a customer — one that we were working to solve during an all-hands meeting on a Saturday morning.
As we discussed the challenge with the project team of 150 employees in our cafeteria (the only room large enough to fit all of us), the president and CEO of the company said that someone would need to go on-site to talk to the customer. I knew nothing about the product and was relatively unknown throughout the company, but I found myself raising my hand to volunteer. The chief of the company looked at me and said, “OK, pack your bags and get a plane ticket,” then told everyone to get back to work.
It was that moment that changed the course of my career forever. The president and CEO — who before that point didn’t know my name — saw my potential and began mentoring me from that day forward. His support and guidance undoubtedly advanced my career by 10–15 years, giving me opportunities that set me on the path to where I am today. What I learned from this experience is to be bold and take risks. You can’t expect to be seen if you remain invisible.
Can you please give us your favorite “life lessons” quote? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
One of my early mentors said something that has always stuck with me: “Don’t fall in love with a product; fall in love with a business plan.” In other words, establish a clear vision, process, and strategy for success, then develop products that align with those goals.
If you love the business plan over the product, you will be willing to scrap the product if it isn’t successful and avoid long-term cost implications, instead of persevering due to tunnel vision.
This has not only guided me in my career, but it’s also something I’ve passed down to my own teams. This philosophy empowers people to experiment with new products and solutions and accept the fact that the initiative might fail. It turns the saying “fail and fail fast” into “fail and fail cheaply”.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character-traits do you think were most instrumental to your success?
Consistency and authenticity go hand in hand; these two character traits are critical in instilling confidence and trust in employees, and ultimately achieving success as a leader. I always consider the saying, “Do what you say and say what you do.” I’ve learned over the years that it’s all about how you present yourself, follow through on your commitments, and communicate the results of your actions. Be who you are all the time — whether you’re communicating at the C-suite level or with new employees.
Another key trait that helps me as a leader is serving as what I call a “creative catalyst” — or someone who sparks creativity among others. It’s the ability to inspire employees and create a culture of innovation within an organization. In practice, it means leading an initiative in its infancy stages, then as the idea begins to proliferate, stepping back and supporting employees as they champion the project. As a leader who has driven the transformation and growth of several businesses, my success is due in large part to this strategy.
Are you working on any new or exciting projects? How do you think that will help people?
The world is now driven by data, and we recognized a tremendous opportunity at STANLEY Security to better serve our customers by changing the way we operate. Nearly two years ago, we began our transformation into a modern tech and SaaS-enabled business that leverages data-powered insights to drive value and efficiencies for organizations worldwide.
The pandemic, however, accelerated our transformation, as it proved just how critical it is for organizations to leverage data, remote capabilities, and enhanced business intelligence to drive health, safety, security, and efficiencies.
As a result, we’re developing what we call STANLEY UNA™, an ecosystem of hardware and software solutions that integrate to help organizations proactively solve problems. This ecosystem — a new vision within the security industry — is designed to enable organizations to extract invaluable insights from their security infrastructure that can lead to significant time and cost savings.
Insights like how external factors such as weather and time of day could impact retail revenue; or how a business could optimize workspaces based on facility occupancy levels; or how additional training could improve employee satisfaction and reduce attrition. These insights and more are locked within security systems, but with AI and machine learning, combined with the power and connectivity of 5G, they can be extracted to create a safer, healthier, and ultimately more efficient environment. That’s what UNA can help organizations achieve.
Can you share a way that 5G might improve our lives?
5G will have an undeniable impact on our society. Take an inventory of your life and put your work, education, hobbies, and necessities into categories: communication, transportation, entertainment, health, food, etc. Every single one of these categories will be impacted in some way by 5G.
Now, take the security industry, for example. There’s a tremendous opportunity to pair the widescale connectivity and accessibility that 5G offers with the power of security solutions to unlock benefits with far-reaching effects. RTLS technology, for instance, can have unlimited potential, especially when the deployment of 5G increases the use and adoption of this technology. This can drastically expand the sharing economy, allowing people to search, find, and access virtually any item they need.
Not only does this offer convenience and cost savings, but it can dramatically reduce waste produced by manufacturers, while creating new lines of commerce. This is just one example of the power of 5G.
Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this 5G technology that people should think more deeply about?
Increased connectivity inherently creates risks; chief among them are cybersecurity threats. 5G is the catalyst to the next industrial revolution, but if — or perhaps when — our world is built on 5G, cyber attacks become even more destructive. As such, both consumers and organizations must make sure to strengthen their cybersecurity measures accordingly.
Some have raised the question that 5G might widen the digital divide and leave poor people or marginalized people behind. From your perspective, what can be done to address and correct this concern?
I think 5G has the potential to help bridge this divide. With increased connectivity and a digital commodification of services, you’re going to see costs decrease. If we look at healthcare, for example: I could speak to a medical expert from across the world while sitting in my living room. Geographical divides, made exclusive by the cost of travel, may narrow with widescale deployment and adoption of 5G. It can open up access to high-quality healthcare, education, jobs, and more, wherever people are in the world. However optimistic that may sound, I believe 5G has the potential to level some of the social divides in our society.
Based on your experience and success, what are the 5 things you need to create a highly successful career in the tech industry?
First, you need to have steadfast resiliency and the ability to handle failure. Second, you must be a world-class collaborator. Third, you need a network of support — for instance, personal and professional mentors. Fourth, you must have an unmatched work ethic. Finally, you must have unbelievable tenacity; your commitment to the mission must be second to none.
A former colleague of mine once gave me fantastic advice that has helped me throughout my career: “Nothing is ever as bad as it seems, and nothing is ever as good as it seems.” Remember that when you’re up against it, but more importantly, apply it when things are going well. If you stay calm and neutral, you will always be able to keep at it. You have to weather the storms, but also temper your celebration. Stay level and grounded regardless of your achievements or failures.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I call it “viral-mentoring”. When I meet people, I look for ways we can serve each other: How can I support you, and how can you support me? The best way to wield your influence as a leader is by spotting someone’s “superpowers” and helping to nurture them. It happened to me when the president and CEO from the defense technology company identified my potential and nurtured it. Now I, in turn, pay it forward by mentoring my own employees.
If this movement were applied on a large scale, consider the impact each leader and employee could have within — and beyond — an organization. Imagine what the world would look like if we all had the chance to develop our superpowers. That movement could change the world.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.