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The Future of Communication Technology: Wayne Walls Of Newswire On How Their Technological Innovation Will Shake Up How We Connect and Communicate With Each Other

An Interview With David Liu

Newswire is well positioned to bring business, the media, and news consumers together all in one place. As a company, we’ll continue to evolve and make the sharing economy real and effective through elegant design and ease of use.

The telephone totally revolutionized the way we could communicate with people all over the world. But then came email and took it to the next level. And then came text messaging. And then came video calls. And so on…What’s next? What’s just around the corner?

In this interview series, called ‘The Future Of Communication Technology’ we are interviewing leaders of tech or telecom companies who are helping to develop emerging communication technologies and the next generation of how we communicate and connect with each other.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Wayne Walls.

Wayne Walls is the Chief Product Officer at Newswire. Prior to Newswire, Wayne was the Chief Operating Office at Inspired eLearning; a Security Awareness and Training company where he led the Product, Engineering and Content Development functions. While at Inspired, Wayne launched a state-of-the-art SaaS platform that helped propel IEL into coveted Leader positions in both the Gartner Magic Quadrant and the inaugural Forrester Wave for Security Awareness and Training. Wayne was a key contributor of the deal team which successfully sold IEL to J2 Global in November of 2020 where he was retained as the Vice President of Product Strategy. Prior to Inspired, Wayne served as Chief Technology Office at Filestack, a content intelligence platform for marketing professionals where he led machine learning integrations and helped establish product market fit. Lastly, Wayne spent nine years at Rackspace where he held various roles in Support, Product Management, Sales and Corporate Strategy where he was involved in numerous strategic programs and acquisitions, the largest being the launch of the Rackspace OpenStack cloud which grew to be a $150M business with over 1,000 employees. Wayne is involved in mentoring young professionals, enjoys getting out on the links and studying exercise science and technology.

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 tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

I fell in love with technology at a very early age because of my dad. He formally introduced me to computers and programming when I was five. I started going with him to local technology meetups and I took that love of technology with me all the way through college where I graduated with an Information Systems and Economics degrees from the University of Oklahoma.

My first 10 years were spent in tech dominant roles, such as systems engineering and development and enterprise architecture. I had an opportunity to join a tiger team early in my career and bring a new product to market. It was in that process I fell in love with product management. I found it to be a perfect blend where I could use my technology acumen to help bring a new revenue stream to the business and capture an untapped market.

After that first product launched, I leaned heavily into product management and I’ve spent the last 10 years honing my skills in all aspects of product management and development, which has led me to where I am today.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Looking back, one event that shaped the trajectory of my career was when I was able to join a Tiger Team to develop a new product, later launched as RackConnect. This was a new product which connected traditionally hosted servers to cloud infrastructure in a first of its kind way to handle evolving workloads as web applications became more dynamic and scalable. During this time I was able to get exposure to product management, sales, go-to-market and marketing. Previously, I was knee deep in the technical aspects of product, but seeing the whole picture come together struck an interest in me that led me down the path of wanting to learn more and ultimately pursue a career in product management. RackConnect was one of the most quickly adopted products in Rackspace history and was a new revenue stream that generated millions of dollars during its lifetime. Looking back at this team, it was an incredible group of individuals that have gone on to found their own companies and moveinto some larger enterprises such as Salesforce and Apple. To this day, I still keep in touch with many of those folks as it was a joint mission we all bought into and executed from day one.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“More of the same gets you more of the same”

This one always stuck with me as it’s been a staple in many organizations I’ve worked in. The wording may change a bit from company to company, but the idea remains the same — you always have to be changing and adapting to stay relevant. If you get complacent, you become irrelevant. New challengers are always entering the market and you have to make the right moves, continuously test, and be agile to stay ahead.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

As I mentioned in my background, I give my father 100% of the credit for getting me into technology. At the young age of five, I had no idea what it meant, but now that I’ve made a career out of it, I can’t thank him enough for sharing his passion with me and bringing me along for the ride.

Can you tell us about the cutting edge communication tech that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

In 2006, Clive Humby famously said, “Data is the new oil.” In 2021, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data was created every day, and 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years alone. How does Newswire tie into that exactly? Through multiple facets:

  1. The proliferation of news through targeted mediums such as PR Wire services, email campaigns, and social media. These mediums help us distribute the right message to the right audience at the right time.
  2. Helping companies break through the noise and capture the attention of relevant media. With these firehoses of data being created, we help the media identify stories, products, people, companies, etc. that are making big splashes in their industries.
  3. Manage brand reputation in a growing sea of data. Companies must continue to monitor how the general public perceives their product and/or services. User-generated content is growing at unprecedented levels, so social media monitoring and sentiment analysis on digital coverage is becoming increasingly important for communication departments.

How do you think this might change the world?

The transitory effects of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has created entirely new industries. What’s more is we’re squarely in-line to transmit, store, access and manipulate information. Digital communication is undergoing a major transformation and Newswire is planted directly in the middle of it, acting as an information broker so to speak.

Perfection can be the enemy of progress.

At Newswire, we’re creating a groundbreaking resource that’s helping companies craft and distribute compelling messaging that’ll reach millions of eyeballs in a matter of minutes.

But, it doesn’t stop at putting the message in the ether. It’s ensuring it’s being seen at the right time by the right people who can then amplify the message, followed by measuring the amplification via the network effect. The press release has traditionally been a “check box” item for corporate communications, but being able to repurpose a press release into a marketing resource that can be curated for audiences who have amplification means is a tool any company can get behind. In a world where media is largely paid and owned, earned media is the nirvana that can make a story go viral, drive major sales, and build brand awareness.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind, can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

As with any emerging technology, there will be skeptics. But, the market will ultimately determine how much tolerance they have for automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Once communications become more automated and there is a less human intervention for sharing commercial communications, the potential for false and/or misleading information will increase. We must train models day and night to pick up on the nuances a human editor could find. There will be a tradeoff between getting to market fastest versus being the most reliable.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

A struggle many product managers and/or communications managers experience is measuring a press release’s return on investment. In the past, it took days and sometimes weeks to distribute a press release. Solving that sticking point and taking lead time down to days with a mix of artificial intelligence and in-house editors was our first major breakthrough. The next step was then seeing the market response to “repurposed” press releases that could be used for on-going marketing campaigns. Finally, we found a way to tie press release materials to revenue. This combination of short-circuiting the time to distribution in addition to seamless tie-ins with marketing made our approach one of a kind.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

It’s imperative we continue to refine the current processes and systems the world’s been using for the past 20 years.

We’re in the Digital Revolution and with Web 3.0 gaining steam, the proliferation of data will continue to compound. As the user experience with legacy tech begins to diminish in favor of skillfully crafted interfaces which drive better results at a faster rate, the adoption will come in droves.

We’ve seen mass advancements in hardware technology over the past 10 years by way of Moore’s Law, a shift towards a mobile-first experience as well as new dynamic programming languages that changed the way the masses interface with the web.

I believe it’s only a matter of time for new entrants, like Newswire, to come to the market and disrupt the incumbents with the next wave of technological advancements.

The pandemic has changed so many things about the way we behave. One of them of course, is how we work and how we communicate in our work. How do you think your innovation might be able to address the new needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic?

I feel the pandemic has forced companies to change their approaches and refine their business strategies. The Digital Revolution was already underway and the pandemic accelerated it. From digital menus to virtual conferences, we’ve already begun a seismic shift to remote-first workforces. This adjustment means less automobiles on the road which leads to a shift in how marketing spend is used to reach audiences.

This is just one of the many examples of how the world operates has changed as a result of the pandemic.

But, perhaps the most apparent is the uptick in digital consumption. The mixture of a media blitz on social media, native news apps on smartphones, and more has made consuming content a convenient endeavor.

Newswire is well positioned to bring business, the media, and news consumers together all in one place. As a company, we’ll continue to evolve and make the sharing economy real and effective through elegant design and ease of use.

Thank you so much for the time you spent doing this interview. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success.

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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David Liu

David Liu

David is the founder and CEO of Deltapath, a unified communications company that liberates organizations from the barriers of effective communication

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