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Richard Potter, Chief executive officer, Peak

Path to power

 

Back in 2006, I worked for high-growth semiconductor company Wolfson Microelectronics (now Cirrus Logic), where I ran a product line that supplied chips to Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Sony and other tech giants. I also worked in investment banking for UBS, covering tech and semiconductor stocks through the 2008 crash. From there, I became commercial director for a leading software systems integrator called Cooper Software, specialising in transformational change, ERP software and business intelligence. I’m now CEO of data analytics firm Peak, a company I co-founded in 2014 with a mission to help our clients do great things with data.

 

What has been the highlight of your career in the industry to date?

 

Following Peak’s first data consulting project, I realised very quickly that a shake-up of the IT and data landscape was desperately needed. To put it simply, data-tech projects need be more accessible, realise benefits quickly and guarantee business outcomes. To this day, the often opaque nature of data science as a field and a limited pool of expertise makes it hard for businesses to take advantage of the opportunities that data and AI presents to them. The highlight for me so far, therefore, was taking the decision to completely shift Peak’s business model to focus on tackling these issues head on. This meant evolving Peak into a subscription business that’s commercially-focused and enables our customers to put data analytics, machine learning and AI at the core of their business.

 

If you could give your younger self some advice about how to progress in this industry, what would it be?

 

Move faster! Since starting Peak we’ve not looked back and I sometimes wish we’d done it sooner. As much as can be expected when scaling an early stage business! Some things surprised me, for example, how fast our reputation seems to have grown, which is great. Other things were harder to get going. Overall, we hit our plan and we’re in great place for 2019.

 

What do you expect 2019 to be like for the industry?

 

The data industry is becoming the machine learning and AI industry. The shift is happening and we are the start of a mainstream adoption period for those technologies. It’s massively exciting.

 

Talent and skills are always a challenge to find - how are you tackling this in your organisation?

 

Being a great place to work and doing something genuinely meaningful, hard and rewarding. We also invest a lot in training and developing our own team.

 

What aspect of data, analytics or their use are you most optimistic about and why?

 

It’s potential to change companies, industries and lives for the better. Data and analytics technology/service provider

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