Interview With Michael Krigsman: Industry Analyst & Host at CXOTALK


Michael Krigsman is an industry analyst and founder of CXOTALK. As a columnist for ZDNet, he has written over 1,000 articles on topics related to innovation, digital transformation, and innovation. He has been playing his responsibilities as a judge in various contests such as CIO magazine and CRM idol. His work has been mentioned more than 1000 times in various publications, blogs, television, and newspapers. In 2016, he was among 13,000 influencers on Klout in IT industry. His article was published in Wall street journal. He has been a speaker at global conferences like CIO mobility innovation summit, SaaStr conference, Roundtable, Cloud CIO, etc.

Q1: First of all, tell us our audience how you started your career? How you came in this field? Who has been your real inspiration?

Michael Krigsman: As an industry analyst, I have the privilege of meeting interesting business leaders and technology buyers.  About four and a half years ago, I had the idea to interview these people on video over the web. Today, this interview format is fairly common but, at that time, video was less pervasive than it is today.

The format of the show is simple — invite a well-known leader for a live conversation that lasts about 45 minutes. The live part is challenging for a few reasons. First, live video is complex and doing well requires a great deal of preparation. Second, at the beginning, public relations people were rightfully concerned about putting their execs on a live show. It took a long time to build the credibility and trust needed to convince top leaders to appear on a live, video show.

The live show also includes a tweetchat, so audience members can ask questions of the guest directly. This is important because one of my goals, since the start, was to break down barriers between the audience and guest. Humanizing the guests and making them available to the audience without a filter is an important goal.

I am absolutely fortunate to be involved with CXOTALK. I spend my time figuring out who would be a great guest and then developing concepts for shows. It’s an amazing job!

TaskQue: You have conducted 100’s of panel interviews. Would you like to share one of your best interviewing experience? With whom it was? What was the best part of that interview?

Michael Krigsman: At this moment, CXOTALK has released about 250 episodes, but of course that number grows all the time. Many shows include more than one guests, so I have probably interviewed close to 500 people altogether so far.

I cannot choose a “best” show because so many of the guests are incredible. These are extraordinary people!

However, I am particularly happy with a recent show, in which I spoke with four female, C-level executives from the software company Workday. They were together in Workday’s video studio, seated around a brown table with orange coffee mugs and a pure white background. Visually, it was stunning.

Of course, these amazing women are the stars of this show. They were brilliant and articulate and really shared their experience and insight. For me, it’s truly an honor to conduct such an interview.

TaskQue: In an interview, you said that it is very difficult to get the clear picture of perceptions of all stakeholders, how do you think a project manager can keep himself aligned with all stakeholders?

Michael Krigsman: In the past, I was one of the most prolific writers in the world on the topic of IT project failures and I studied these failures extensively. Based on this research, it is clear that mismatched expectations are one of the primary causes of failed projects.

For example, a software vendor (especially in the on-premise world) may overstate the fit between his or her product and the customer’s business. The customer then buys, expecting the implementation to be straightforward. If problems arise, you can see that the conflict has its roots early in the sales cycle, with a sales person more concerned with his or her commission than doing right by the customer.

However, let me also be clear, that many times the customer is inexperienced yet blames the vendor when problems arise. This also happens all the time.

To directly answer your question, perception is the reality — people act based on what they think and believe. A project manager’s best tool, therefore, is communication and collaboration. You need to stay on the same page with stakeholders, and that means constant discussion.

Breaking the project down into small pieces is also important. Use iterative approaches to project manager to ensure buy-in from stakeholders. That’s a key point!

TaskQue: It is always said that Work Life balance is important for living a happy life. What are your hobbies and interests? How do you keep your work life balance?

Michael Krigsman: Work-life balance is an interesting issue. The phrase itself implies a disconnect between activities one’s work and home. On a practical level, of course, that distinction is real.

However, I believe the ideal situation is to enjoy the work for its own sake — doing things because you inherently enjoy the act of creation and innovation. For most of us, myself included, accomplishing goals requires a sustained effort over a long period of time. So, the question becomes, how to sustain that effort without getting tired or giving up.

For me, the energy to continue comes from the enjoyment of the work itself. Also, one needs to feel the work — the mission — is important. Seeing the deeper meaning helps one persevere through the tough times.

Regarding work-life balance specifically, I’m probably the wrong person to ask because I work all the time! I’m always writing or planning interviews or making videos.

Despite all the work, I have tried to meditate over the years. Although I’m a lousy meditator, it is something I have done a lot of over the course of many years. These days, settling down for meditation is a struggle but I have put serious time on the meditation cushion.

Everyone has to find their own balance, but seeing the value in one’s work and life is important. Success with everything, including work-life balance, starts with that.