Barry Napier’s open and engaging style had the audience at today’s Tech Form enrapt from the get-go. He openly shared how his story is fundamental to his Leadership style today. Barry shared how his mum’s death when he was aged just 11, his move to Dublin from his birthplace Limerick at 7 and the subsequent move to Chicago all contributed to the leader he is today. Fiercely independent and tenacious, the word “no” is not in his dictionary.
“I barely passed my Leaving Cert - I got an F in honours physics - awkward when your physics teacher lives down the road.”
The fact that by Barry’s education finished with senior school has become a consideration for him, now that he is building a team of PhDs and advanced technologists. He has had to figure out a way of building a framework through which he can communicate clearly with them and foster a culture that allows Cubic to get the best from his people.
Since acquiring Cubic Telecom in 2008, Barry has significantly grown the business. Under Napier’s direction, Cubic became a fully licensed GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) carrier, and has since closed agreements with more than 40 mobile operators including AT&T, China Unicom, Digicel, Orange, Sprint, PCCW and Vodafone. Since 2005 Cubic Telecom has raised approximately €75 million in funding.
Cubic Telecom today is collaborating with Microsoft as well as Volkswagen to develop the Microsoft Connected Vehicle Platform (MCVP). Through Cubic Telecom’s advanced eSIM technology, applications and technologies will be embedded into vehicles at the manufacturing stage, enabling simple logistics and over-the-air software updates, and giving automakers the power to collect data on cars’ performance.
Cubic has recently invested in a new Chief People Officer, Gillian French, formerly of Car Trawler and also the first female member of their Senior Leadership Team. They have a really robust hiring process in order to assess what a person wants to achieve at Cubic as well as what they can bring to the table. Cultural fit is key and trumps technical ability which is a given. Barry describes the team as “Ninjas” who work at breakneck pace. He tells new joiners:
“If you think you are cool now, you will be way cooler by the time you leave here”.
This is because their engineering teams get to work at the coal-face, designing products and technologies with and for the top teams at Microsoft, Audi etc.
They favour DiSC personality assessments that allow them both evaluate candidates for cultural fit and support effective communication once the talent has been on-boarded. Barry repeatedly referred to the fact that his biggest investment in the company today is in the people. Mirrored in their corporate communications they state:
“At the centre of Cubic’s innovation is a heart of gold. We love what we do, and want our partners and customers to feel invested in what we build together”
The team at Cubic are the enablers. They say that applications for their technology are limited solely by the imagination. Barry referred to the fact that their “product” four years ago was effectively anything their customer wanted it to be, proving a challenge for their Platform Development team. When Barry and the team would return from client meetings, the Platform team would say:
“You keep selling s**t we don’t have!”
Connectivity is what Cubic offers its customers and their customer communities. Barry describes connectivity as the new oxygen - we can no longer imagine living without it. The automotive industry is experiencing a transformational period and connectivity has a vital role to play in its evolution.
Ireland Plc is uniquely positioned to ride the wave of disruption in the automotive industry with the talent clusters that have developed over years across the skill sets of cybersecurity; data management; video analytics; infotainment; autonomy systems; communications and networks; one of the reasons why another Accreate client Aptiv has chosen Dublin as its Global Head Quarters and Jaguar Land Rover is expanding rapidly at its R&D site in Shannon.