First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID19 times?
Chris Ruff: I am very thankful for my health and for the health of my family and friends. Those around me are generally healthy, and I am hopeful this continues throughout the year. We are all trying to keep things in perspective by considering the families directly impacted by this virus who may be mourning the loss of loved ones, the front-line health care workers dealing with the pandemic, the workers keeping food and supplies in stores.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded or joined Glympse
Chris Ruff: I have spent the last 25 years in various executive leadership roles in the mobile software, IoT, and connected car industries. Before coming to Glympse in 2017, I spent 11 years as CEO & President of UIEvolution (now Xevo), a global leaderin connected car technology & automotive telematics.The company was recently acquired by Lear Corporation for $320M making it one of the largest acquisitions in the Pacific Northwest and ending my 19-year relationship with the company.
Today, I serve as CEO and President of Glympse, the pioneer of real-time location sharing technology. As a location-as-a-service software company, we are focused on improving communication, customer service, and last-mile commerce using the powerful context of location. I am responsible for leading the company’s growth and global strategy. I am also an investor in startups; passionate about mentoring new CEOs as they embark on their journey. I have an MBA from the University of Washington, Michael G. Foster School of Business and a BS from the University of Montana – College of Business.
How does Glympse innovate?
Chris Ruff: Innovation truly is essential for the growth of any company. So here at Glympse, we try to provide an innovative culture – one where everyone is allowed to think independently and has a sense of freedom. We allow a place for people to fail, which to some sounds terrible, right? But we know that failure is a part of the learning process. If we penalize our team members for making mistakes, we inject in them a fear of failure. Such an approach drastically affects their ability to come up with creative ideas. We want people to think independently without any constraints of fear – and thus have the ability to think beyond the boundaries of their job.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Chris Ruff: In the same way 9/11 brought about lasting changes to the travel industry, I believe COVID-19 will do the same for retail, with technology driving this evolution. That said, Glympse is in a unique position, as our location-based platform is able to assist businesses in and around much needed curbside solutions and help navigate the challenges of contactless delivery. We have seen a large increase in companies contacting us for guidance and solutions, so it has been a busy 2020.
With regard to our employees, we have all adapted to working from home. We have been fortunate to have our health and the tools we need to be successful with this shift.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Chris Ruff: We have learned quite a few lessons over the last couple of months. First, we have learned that remote work is doable. We were thrust into working from home, it’s working, for the most part. Second, we have learned that communication is key. Slack, Zoom, Email, Calls – we use them all. And third, we have learned to shift quickly and practice outside-the-box thinking. As 2020 continues, I’m sure the lessons will continue – and make us a stronger company because of them.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Glympse in the future?
Chris Ruff: As people around the world struggle on an individual level with the impact of COVID-19, the collective level of stress, anxiety, and uncertainty that we’re feeling can, and is, translating into the workplace. Unsurprisingly, COVID-19-related stress does have an impact on productivity. We work hard to provide our team members with the support they need. Frequent communication with each other has become the norm, and we try to provide the resources needed for all team members here at Glympse. We want them to know we are here to help in times of need and keep them focused as much as possible.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Chris Ruff: We plan to stay in the game just like we have the last 12 years – by staying true to our original convictions about what we believe in – that the correct nature of location sharing is private, safe, secure, temporary, and controlled. As a company, we’ve been exceptional at sticking to those core values while continuing to expand, refine and sometimes even push the boundaries of our business model to bring that same type of rich location sharing to new markets.
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