by Greg Lindsay
What separates the world’s best companies from those that are merely good? Great leadership? Innovative products? Strategic vision? Amazing execution? Every business thinker from Peter Drucker to Jim Collins has provided an answer, but the ingredients to constant, successful innovation are still recondite. Herewith, DigitAll declares these business executives leaders of the effort to redefine greatness in the digital era.

Scott Faber

// When we need an answer to something, time is the most important variable we have. So we did something that is very human and very immediate. People are tired of clicking through page after page on the Web. They just want it now. This was our way of making the Web alive—just click the button and the phone rings. We seamlessly combine the two. That’s the secret sauce of what we do.

// Rather than make you click around Web pages, we ask you to click a button that says “I’d like to talk someone right now.” Boom, your phone rings. One moment you’re floating in the Web medium, and in the next we reach out to you and your phone is ringing. You’re still in control, but you’re snapped out of your reverie. That’s service.

// I’m always astounded by how resourceful and creative my customers are. You tend to have a set idea of how they will use your product, but when they combine it with their own businesses, innovation results. And we plow it back into the company all the time. Here’s one example: while I might use Ether to charge you $75 an hour to talk to me, many people actually like to charge zero first as a sort of free consultation, then switch to a paid call. Their behavior completely contradicted what Ether is about, because the whole idea was to monetize that time. I was obsessed with giving people the tools to charge, but what they really wanted was the tool to charge zero. So we gave it to them. We listened.

// Achieving ubiquity is the draw for me. That’s not to say I’m against taking the money if we win at becoming the platform for combining phones and the Web to sell services. But the only way I’d walk away is if someone else gets there first, if Google were somehow to steamroll us. Internet models have a winner-take-all aspect to them—eBay is perhaps the best example of that. But that’s just the nature of the Network Effect. If we can be the eBay of services, then we won’t need to worry about who’s in second place.

1 2 3 4 5 >>

Scott Faber, Ingenio
Scott Faber is the co-creator of Ingenio, a “v-commerce” pioneer that offers “LiveAdvice.” See a product you want to know more about? Click on the Talk to a Representative button on your screen, enter your phone number at the prompt, and within seconds your phone is ringing, a representative waiting to meet your every command—or at least some fast customer service. Winner of the 2005 World Technology Award for marketing, Ingenio changes the entire way consumers relate to the Web by adding “presence” to digital marketing. Faber’s next project, code-named “Ether,” is an open marketplace to give anyone the tools to sell their time as a service, whether you’re a plumber, an editor, or a CEO. And to get started, all you need to do is click this button right over here…