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Interview with Nigel Willson

by | Apr 24, 2020 | Interviews,

Nigel Willson

Nigel Willson

Co-Founder of We and AI
Key Topics:Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Data Science, Innovation, Future Technology
Location:Ringwood, Hampshire, United Kingdom

With over 30 years industry experience, Nigel has spent the last 20 years at Microsoft in his last role as European CTO. He is now working independently, as a Speaker, Advisor and Global Influencer on Artificial Intelligence and new technologies. He is ranked amongst the top 20 Artificial Intelligence Influencers in the World (2019 & 2020).

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

Many years ago I fell into a job in technology as a computer operator, producing prints and reports. Ever since then, I have been fascinated at the speed of change in the industry and 20 years ago got my dream job with Microsoft. While at Microsoft I had over 10 different jobs from program management, consultant, architect and most recently CTO. working with such an innovative company and people, fueled my passion for artificial intelligence and innovation – and in my last 5 years as CTO advising Enterprises on those areas.

What topic areas are you most passionate about?

I love new technologies and innovation, and artificial intelligence is such a broad, exciting and rapidly changing topic area. My particular passion is making it (AI) accessible and understandable to as many people as possible, to help make sure it is used for good (ethical) and used by the many (not biased).

Which influencers influence you within those key topics?

I follow influencers on LinkedIn and Twitter as well as use events (physical and virtual) to make new contacts and exchange options. There are obvious influencers like Fei-Fei Li, Andrew Ng, Ronald van Loon – but I also try and regularly seek out new & diverse opinions.

Outside of your key topics who else influences you?

I’m influenced and listen to anyone who has a different opinion or perspective, I like the work Rohit Bhargava does with his non-obvious trends, R. Luke Dubois with his art based on data, but as always learn from others and the influencers that they follow or recommend.

How would you describe your offline influence?

As a result of my online presence and experience at Microsoft, I am often asked to speak at events and take part in podcasts and video interviews. this has also led to advisory roles with other organisations.

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

Very interested in speaking opportunities, especially around new and future technologies. Podcasts, video interviews also of interest.

What’s your best source of information for getting ahead of a story?

Podcasts often trigger thoughts and then research or contact with the contributors to find out more – Twitter is still one of my favorite resources, also LinkedIn for sheer quantity and diversity, but use Google Alerts and my own research to make sure on top of things. Speaking to others about their experiences and thoughts is invaluable, I don’t use any tools alone as I prefer personally researching and collating to automation.

What brands have you worked with?

During my 20 years at Microsoft, I worked across all sectors and with most brands, such as British Gas, Sony, Harrods, and more recently with Professional Services companies, EY, PwC, KPMG & Deloitte.

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

  • Co-Create long-form content (blogs, white papers, ebooks, research)
  • Provide a quote for content or news article
  • Share / create a social post
  • Speak at or attend an event
  • Participate in online chat (e.g. Twitter chat, Crowdchat, Google Hangout)
  • Create video content
  • Write a product review
  • Participate in a podcast or webinar

What are your passions outside of work?

Outside of work I love to be outdoors, walking, trail running, cycling, kayaking, and also wood crafts, woodturning, wood carving. I also have three dogs that keep me busy and fit.

What businesses/organisations are you affiliated to?

Co-founder at We and AI, Tech Advisor at The Greenhouse AI and Chief Tech Advisor at Marktechpost.

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

Initially Email or mobile 07503 405 298