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Interview with Klaus Roder

by | Mar 24, 2021 | Interviews,

Klaus Roder

Klaus Roder

Program Director - AI Applications at IBM

Key Topics:Data & AI, Data Management, Analytics, Entity Analytics
Location:United States

Klaus has a comprehensive business & technical skillset in the areas of Software Development, Data Management, AI, Design Thinking and Product Management. He successfully led a range of technical, development and product management leadership positions, managing products from their inception to a multimillion-dollar business. Klaus has also revitalized offerings with a declining revenue to a four-consecutive quarter gain. In the area of Management, he received an Employee Awarded People Manager award for the motivational, respectful and self-motivating management style. He led many cross-functional teams across multiple geographic locations, developed code over many years (backend & frontend), worked for small startups to large corporations leading large development projects and was part of the CTO office, driving innovations from Research into products and offerings.

How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?

I started out with a business degree, then studied computer science, did a lot of interesting backend and front end coding and then ventured into Product Management and Design Thinking. Through products I owned I developed a passion for “Data & AI”; the power it has, how it enhances our life and the impact it has on almost all industries and people. The whole time it always was important to me to practice and apply the knowledge I learned. I really believe by applying and practicing you become the expert you want to be. Another key part is “lifelong learning”. I’m a big believer in it and strive to always enhance my knowledge in a specific area that I’m focusing on AND expand my horizon by learning something new.

What topic areas are you most passionate about?

Data and AI. These three words sum it up pretty good. This includes all “aspects of Data”. From the statement “Data is the lifeblood of AI” to all aspects of Data Management and how important they are to run successful AI projects. Moreover, I’m also really keen on how important the non-technical, the organizational and human part is to run successful AI projects. Besides that, I’m really interested in Product Management, Design Thinking and People Management. I spent quite a bit of time in each area, learning, mastering and practicing them.

Which influencers influence you within those key topics?

Following and reading key influencers is a really important part to gain knowledge and stay on top of things. But what is even more profound for me, are the people that you work with/ work for and have countless long hours of conversations with. Those are the once that influence me in so many positive ways. Paul Zikopoulos a Data & AI guru and longtime mentor, Rob Thomas who is leading the Cloud & Data Platform business at IBM, Jeff Jonas a master mind in the area of Entity Analytics, Anant Jhingran who really inspired me with his deep technical knowledge during his time as CTO at IBM, Gauthier Vasseur from the University of California, Berkeley with his work around Data & AI and his leadership at the Alliance for Inclusive Artificial Intelligence, Inhi Cho Suh, a mentor who taught me how great leadership and leadership qualities look like, Alex Romppel from the IWM – “Institut für wertezentriertes Management” – who is teaching me the aspects of organisational and human impact on successful projects and last but not least Frank Benkert a lifetime friend with whom I enjoyed countless, thought provoking discussions on all aspects of technology.

Outside of key topics, who else influences you?

Innovators, Thought Leaders, Out of the Box Thinkers like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates inspire me on the impact technology and innovation can have on our lives. They are also good examples how dedication, deep knowledge and passion will bring you ahead.

How would you describe your offline influence?

I try to motivate, inspire and get people excite about a topic, so that they then build their own thoughts, do their own research and thinking. That’s by speaking with clients for work, presenting at conferences or events and talking to students by giving guest lectures. That said, working with many clients, hearing their stories, hearing their problems really grounds me, shows me what is important and gives me food for thought.

What’s your best source of information for getting ahead of a story? What resource do you use to stay ahead of the trend?

I set regular, daily time aside to read and analyse news and social media and podcasts. In addition, I set myself goals on what topic I want to enhance and go deeper and usually attend a set of webinars or ideally also classes.

If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?

In order of preference: speaking opportunities, webinars, podcasts followed by blogs and whitepapers.

What brands have you worked with?

One of the advantages working for IBM is that is that you get in touch with a lot of the Fortune 500 Brands. So, I worked with many of them.

Which non-paid activities would you be keen to take part in if the opportunity raised your profile or delivered value to your audience?

I would be happy to provide a quote for content or news article, create long-form content, produce video content, share or create a social post, speak at an event, podcast, online chat or a webinar.

What are your passions outside of work?

Travel and seeing the wonders of each country and region. So far, I have visited every continent, except Antarctica. On weekends, spending time with family and friends or a trip to the beach is always a pleasure. With all of the “office work” I also really enjoy getting outside and be active. Mountain biking is one of my favorites and with living in the Bay Area I’m blessed that I can do it all year round.

What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?

Feel free to contact me via LinkedIn or Twitter.