When Vivid Technology’s Managing Director Samuel Marks turned 30, he left his role at GE to take stock, stop, and consider where he wanted to go professionally and what his next steps should be.
On a piece of paper, he came up with a list of five things that would motivate him, one of which was working in an industry he could feel passionate about. For Samuel, there were three such industries, and one of those revolved around environmental work, doing something for the greater good.
Four years on from GE, Samuel found himself at Vivid Technology, fulfilling that ambition of doing good. “In making the decision to orientate my career towards environmental work, I realised that to create true sustainable outcomes would take disruptive technology, innovation and commercial results,” Samuel says.
“Industry doing the same as it always has done, was not delivering positive environmental impacts and I saw that something different was needed that would create change. Any new technology, no matter how environmentally positive, has to deliver strong commercial benefits, so my focus turned to developing disruptive new technology that dramatically reduces CO2 emissions and energy consumption through a combination of ground-breaking IoT and smart data. If we want to create a clean and healthy world, we need to change the way we live and work and focus on doing everything in a sustainable manner.”
Vivid Technology is an Australian-owned tech company driving environmental, operational and financial efficiency by providing IoT and smart data solutions to businesses.
One of its central offerings is an intelligent IoT lighting system. While the lights themselves are high quality, the real potential for innovation comes from the integrated analytics and automation, helping businesses gather insights into their energy use and improved cost, efficiency and sustainability.
“It’s slightly tongue-in-cheek, but I see us as ‘environmental capitalists’,” he says. “We want to build a real business and change the world using technology, but we want to do it in a way that’s great for the environment and future generations. What we do has a positive impact on climate change and on the reduction of energy and carbon footprints.”
A certified B Corp, Vivid’s goal is to incentivise businesses to contribute to the greater good, by helping them save up to 90% of their energy costs. Rather than dictate to corporations, Vivid’s strategy is orientated towards collaboration and encouragement. As an extension of this, Samuel ensures the company pays close attention to its customers’ needs, continually improving its products from one iteration to the next according to their expectations.
Communication and cooperation, after all, are his primary motivations. However, not only does Samuel have a passion for spreading Vivid’s ideals, but he also finds fulfilment in working alongside his team.
“To achieve a successful innovative culture, you need to work with like-minded people who have a raft of different experiences,” he points out. “You need to trust them to do what they do best. As the CEO, I see myself in the role of keeping everyone aligned to our long-term strategic objectives, but how we get there on a day-to-day basis and what comes up along the way can’t be micromanaged. The skill sets our team provide make us who we are, not me.”
Samuel has long had the entrepreneurial mindset necessary for leadership – he started his first business at 18 but, even before that, discovered the necessity of “a combination of hard work, ethics and effort” from his industrious, successful business-minded father. Even so, Samuel says he never would’ve imagined himself in his present position, though he believes Vivid Technology’s journey is
far from over.
“It’s easy to create a disruptive concept,” he says. “The real challenge is building something people value and are prepared to pay for, and then making sure it works as you had hoped when applied in the real world.
“We’re at an exciting stage of the business. We’ve proven the technology works and the savings and impacts on our customers are real. It’s a truly world-leading technology, that’s manufactured in Australia and has been recognised through multiple awards by industry and customers alike for delivering intelligent energy efficiency. We have a global opportunity and the next stage is to make the most of that while we’re ahead of the curve.”