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Julian Kardos of Electric Kiwi: How to build a digital business

Julian Kardos of Electric Kiwi: How to build a digital business

He has a PhD in information science and founded a ‘100 per cent online business’ but Julian Kardos hesitates to call himself a 'techie'.

Technology is simply a vehicle for customer lifestyle improvement.

Julian Kardos, Electric Kiwi

Name: Julian Kardos

Title: Founder and managing director, Electric Kiwi

How long have you been in your current role?

I was employee number 1 at Electric Kiwi two-and-a-half years ago. Today, Electric Kiwi has 13 staff in the heart of downtown Auckland.

What business technology issue is your organisation focusing on?

Electric Kiwi is planning a native phone app to be in market shortly. We're debating the best open source framework to provide a secure (salted key) but flexible application programming interface (API) that's device and platform agnostic. The Electric Kiwi platform is built on Python so the API will directly tie in, or be provided via an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB).

What are your interests away from work?

Mountain biking with my wife Sally and our dog Allan. We're planning to bike the Old Ghost Road later in the month.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Never use the word 'this' in a sentence as the context is ambiguous.

Professionally, who do you admire most?

Richie McCaw. A true professional on and off the sports field. His work ethic, desire to improve and succeed is admirable.

How long have you been working in tech? How did you get into tech?

Technology is part of my DNA. After completing a PhD in information science I started working for a multinational software company. I learnt to manipulate software to provide customer lifecycle management first hand. Technology is simply a vehicle for customer lifestyle improvement.

Never use the word 'this' in a sentence as the context is ambiguous.

Julian Kardos, Electric Kiwi

If you weren't working in tech, what would you be doing?

Electric Kiwi is built on a technology platform, but my goal is to provide a better electricity service to Kiwi families rather than a tech product. I don't see myself as a ‘techie’, but as someone who enables Electric Kiwi customers to improve their lifestyle, which is what motivates me personally. It’s extremely satisfying to have customers contact Electric Kiwi and rave about the savings they've made, or how the Hour of Power has changed their life. Kiwi families are making real savings, meaning they now have more money in their pocket.

Can you share a key pointer for success at a time of fast paced technology changes and what Forrester calls ‘the age of the customer’?

Electric Kiwi runs regular customer surveys and trials. Surveys remove any ambiguity from what you're designing and the customer’s needs. Trials ensure any new Electric Kiwi product is as user-friendly as possible.

Prepare to disrupt and be the disruptor - not the disrupted. How did you apply this insight to your organisation, or with a customer you have worked with?

Electric Kiwi is the smaller, smarter power company. We've invested in smart technology to buy power smarter and then pass on the savings.

We considered what people actually want from a power company - cheaper rates and a fair deal without having to pay for the big corporate office and call centre queues. Electric Kiwi is 100 per cent online with a friendly team of online support staff who interact with customers via live chat and email services to get queries sorted quickly, and also provides a call back service.

There are no signup fees, no break fees and no catches. Electric Kiwi’s technology enables customers to receive one hour of free off-peak power every day. Households can save even more by using home appliances during their free Hour of Power, and our customers saved 18 per cent on average in winter 2016 compared to what they were paying with their old power company.

If you think about the cost of electricity over the year - that adds up to great savings and money that can be used elsewhere. Electric Kiwi is at the core of disruption in the electricity sector.

Julian Kardos of Electric Kiwi: "Surveys remove any ambiguity from what you're designing and the customer’s needs. Trials ensure any new Electric Kiwi product is as user-friendly as possible."
Julian Kardos of Electric Kiwi: "Surveys remove any ambiguity from what you're designing and the customer’s needs. Trials ensure any new Electric Kiwi product is as user-friendly as possible."

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