Sunrise Speaker Spotlight: Jon Gelsey Xnor.ai & Auth0
This year we'll be giving you a peek behind the curtains, a chance to meet some of our inspiring founder-speakers before we #MeetAtSunrise... and we're kicking it off with an introduction to Jon Gelsey.
Welcome back to Sunrise Aotearoa, 2023.
This year we'll be giving you a peek behind the curtains, a chance to meet some of our inspiring founder-speakers, to give you a taste of what's to come... and we're kicking it off with an introduction to Jon Gelsey.
Jon is currently on sabbatical, taking a much-needed rest from a truly epic career. He was previously the CEO of Xnor.au, a computer vision and machine learning spinoff of the Allen Institute for AI that Apple acquired in January 2020 for a publicly reported $200 million. Before that, he was the founding CEO of Auth0 Inc., an industry-leading identity-as-a-service platform. He grew the company from 3 employees to nearly 300 over the course of four years. Auth0 was acquired by Okta in February 2021 for $6.5 billion.
We talk a lot about Giants at Blackbird, and we define giants as generational founders who are ambitious, pragmatic, curious, passionate, and devoted to their life's work. Jon is a true representation of what we consider a giant to be. We sat down with Jon to get a sneak peek into what you can expect from his keynote when we #MeetAtSunrise on September 20th.
Blackbird: If you were to summarise your career in a single sentence, what would you say?
Jon Gelsey: Serendipity. I've had multiple opportunities purely through luck - never discount the impact of luck on the entrepreneur's journey.
Blackbird: what is the number one thing you do to foster innovation and creative thinking in your team?
Jon Gelsey: Radical transparency. Give everyone access to all company info, if they want it. If you treat people like adults, they act that way, and that fosters innovation and creative thinking…
Blackbird: What’s the biggest lesson you have learned as a CEO?
Jon Gelsey: People are people. And all of us have an emotional 12-year-old lurking in our psyche, so don't be surprised when it pops out unexpectedly in a team member (or in yourself).
Blackbird: What's a piece of common advice for launching startups that you totally disagree with? Why?
Jon Gelsey: Not sure how useful incubators really are. Coming up with a solid product, business plan and go-to-market plan are a lot more helpful than most incubators.
Blackbird: Thinking about the current tech landscape, what is one thing you’re excited to discuss or learn more about at Sunrise Aotearoa?
Jon Gelsey: I am generally dubious about any "this changes everything" technology claims, but LLMs seem like they might qualify. I've been impressed (and a bit scared) with their capabilities and how useful they can be. I think before long LLMs will be part of all useful tech stacks.
Jon has so much more wisdom to share and we’re excited to host him at Sunrise, Aotearoa✨
Haven't got your tickets yet? Don't fear, you can still get them here.
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