The Future of Communication Technology: Simon Glass of Discuss.io On How Their Technological Innovation Will Shake Up How We Connect and Communicate With Each Other

Discuss.io is a leading enterprise-level smart video platform allowing companies to take their consumer conversations to the next level. Traditional enterprise video technology is generic and built for broad use. The Discuss.io platform is purpose-built with different features and workflows to enable meeting rooms of the future that allow companies to get more out of their video conversations. Brands like Unilever, PepsiCo, Dole, AARP, NetGear, and more use the platform to connect with customers anywhere around the world and easily and securely record, categorize, transcribe, share and store insights.


The telephone totally revolutionized the way we could communicate with people all over the world. But then came email and took it to the next level. And then came text messaging. And then came video calls. And so on…What’s next? What’s just around the corner?

In this interview series, called ‘The Future Of Communication Technology’ we are interviewing leaders of tech or telecom companies who are helping to develop emerging communication technologies and the next generation of how we communicate and connect with each other.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Simon Glass, Chief Executive Officer of Discuss.io, the only enterprise-level smart video platform helping business professionals make better decisions, using smart technology to capture conversations, analyze them and create intelligence at scale. At Discuss.io, Glass is responsible for overseeing all facets of the business and driving the company’s global development strategy. He first joined Discuss.io in 2019 as Chief Revenue Officer where he successfully transformed the company’s business model and rebuilt the sales and marketing teams.

Glass has a proven track record of achieving significant success growing and scaling large global companies over the nearly 30 years he has held leadership positions, most notably at P&G, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and eCommerce analytics company, Clavis Insight (sold for $120M in 2018). In his current role at Discuss.io, Glass continues to use his strong leadership and enterprise technology expertise to successfully implement the company’s mission to create a universal platform for deep, purposeful connection that yields intelligence at scale. Simon lives in Beverly, MA with his wife Susannah and three daughters Isobel, Thea and Tilly.


Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

My most interesting story is when I lived out the start-up ‘pivot’ moment over the course of one 45-minute meeting. I had been leading Business Development for a Data Quality-focused start-up, and one meeting with a Global CPG Executive changed the course of the company overnight, turning us into an e-Commerce firm focused on online store audits. Everything about the company changed over the course of the next several weeks. It was very exciting to be involved in that big of a shift, and looking back we were in exactly the right place at the right time as we managed to significantly grow the company and create over $100M in shareholder value!

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending” — CS Lewis

This quote has always resonated with me. CS Lewis and I share the same country of birth! On a more serious note though, I’ve gained a lot from his writings and teachings over the years. Specific to this quote, it fills me with hope and a realization that we can and will fail, and we can and will make mistakes, but we always have the option to refocus, replan, adjust and rededicate ourselves to the task at hand. It’s very liberating!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Without the support of my wife I would not be where I am today. Over the course of the last 20 years we have moved a number of times — twice to different countries. Big moves are exhausting and setup on the other side can take quite some time, as can building a new community of friends and support services. We have three kids, and my wife constantly juggled her career of freelance writing and college teaching to enable me to pursue my dreams. I am deeply grateful for this and also for her holding down the fort while I did a lot of international travel for about 15 years. We’ve come out on the other side strong and excited for the future, and the last year with the pandemic has meant no travel, which has been a welcome relief to us all.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I have always aimed to be an example of honesty and integrity in leadership positions. I hope I have inspired others to do the same in both their work and personal lives. I believe this kind of stuff has a snowball effect, and setting my team up for success can help bring more good to the world now and down the line.

Ok wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Can you tell us about the cutting edge communication tech that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

Discuss.io is a leading enterprise-level smart video platform allowing companies to take their consumer conversations to the next level. Traditional enterprise video technology is generic and built for broad use. The Discuss.io platform is purpose-built with different features and workflows to enable meeting rooms of the future that allow companies to get more out of their video conversations. Brands like Unilever, PepsiCo, Dole, AARP, NetGear, and more use the platform to connect with customers anywhere around the world and easily and securely record, categorize, transcribe, share and store insights.

Our platform offers unique features like auto-transcription, “save the moment” video capture, translation, and interactive whiteboards to generate more actionable insights that can be securely captured and shared across their organizations in real time. We have a number of exciting developments in the pipeline as well, including the upcoming launch of our mobile screen sharing feature, which will allow respondents to share their mobile screens within the online meeting room, giving insights and UX professionals the opportunity to seamlessly incorporate mobile testing into live research sessions for better learnings in less time. We’re also laying the groundwork to incorporate NLP and AI technology into the platform to open up opportunities for brands to pull insights and key points from meeting transcripts.

How do you think this might change the world?

As a company, we’re committed to revolutionizing the consumer insights industry. Our platform and the technology we’re building will help elevate the customer and brand relationship (and even the employee and client/employer relationship) as a result of the many digital changes we are seeing take shape, and as Covid-19 reshapes organizations’ investments in video and consumer insights.

The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation across industries, bringing the concept of utilizing video platforms for market research into the future. As more and more organizations prioritize speaking to and understanding their consumers as a strategic focus, Discuss.io is strategically positioned to support global companies during challenging times as organizations shift in-person conversations and marketing budgets online.

Traditional market research practices, in many ways, will never go back to how they were. Discuss.io is helping to scale online qualitative research to meet this paradigm shift; brands will need to look for ways to get to know their customers, speak to them regularly to meet them where they are, and understand the “new” customer lifecycle.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

I really don’t believe this to be the case, as long as the highest possible standards of information security and data privacy are adhered to. As video collaboration for business communication becomes the norm, I expect to see a significant body of work revolve around how users can get the most from video meetings and how best to interact as a participant. The one possible early concern I might have is that we begin to lean too heavily on AI to determine what people are really saying and thinking, be it through facial recognition or sentiment analysis. There is definitely a time and a place for these tools, and a balance to be struck with humans and AI working together, but I hope the industry can learn its way into the potential for AI and not try to get to an automated level of insight too quickly.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

I think we’ll look back in a year or two and realize the pandemic was really the tipping point for Discuss.io. Prior to 2020 we were evangelists as we attempted to shift the Market Research and CX industries towards our tech enabled solutions. We made steady progress in the years leading up to 2020, but with the pandemic and the rapid shift to digital collaboration tools x10 the number of users got to experience our platform and realize consumer conversations could be better, faster and cheaper when done through Discuss.io. Now they have experienced the benefits of our platform they are very unlikely to go back to the manually intensive, slow and costly ways of engaging with consumers.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

I really believe we need more people to know about the ways in which qualitative research (much like quantitative) is able to be scaled. We’ve been really heads down as a team during the pandemic to bring the market research industry into the future. We want more people to understand that there are better, more digitally driven ways of speaking to customers. The world is making a large shift to digital collaboration tools, and we’ll see this trend stick around for the long-term, so this is the perfect time to get ourselves out there.

The pandemic has changed so many things about the way we behave. One of them of course, is how we work and how we communicate in our work. How do you think your innovation might be able to address the new needs that have arisen as a result of the pandemic?

When the dust settles and we’re able to look at the pandemic with a sense of clarity, we may realize that we lived through an epochal technological revolution. There are few major shocks to the system that have occurred in the last century: the advent of TV, the rise of the Internet, and the rise of smartphones are three of these big shifts. The emergence of the remote workforce and the necessity for video platforms may become the next phase in this evolution, which is where Discuss.io sits. These tools have the capacity to change population disbursement and alter both the way we view cities but also how we structure our relationship with people and with work.

In this story of revolution in technological agility has been the rising prominence and adoption of video platforms integrated into nearly every facet of our work and personal lives. What felt like a novelty when we started using video communication platforms early in 2020 quickly — at a pace none of us could have imagined — became the cliched “new normal”. Now, not only are individuals turning to video platforms to connect with friends and family, but it’s become the engine behind corporate interactions and the preservation of corporate culture, and is now leveraged in major ways by brands and agencies to understand their customers.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)

  1. It’s OK to fail and make mistakes. In fact, failure often germinates the next seeds of success.
  2. Look to disrupt and smash the norms. Leaders need people who can make it happen.
  3. Focus on the few really important things and do them really well.
  4. Prepare for internal meetings with the same degree or rigor you would for external meetings.
  5. You don’t have to travel so much!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would feed the world’s hungry and malnourished kids through redistribution of food wasted by the world’s middle and upper middle class kids. There’s so much that goes to waste and plenty of opportunity to help feed those who need it most.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Readers can stay up to date on the latest from Discuss.io at www.discuss.io.

Thank you so much for the time you spent doing this interview. This was very inspirational, and we wish you continued success.


About The Interviewer: David Liu is the founder and CEO of Deltapath, an award-winning unified communications company that liberates organizations from the barriers of effective communication. Liu is known for his visionary leadership, organic growth strategies, and future-forward technology. Liu is highly committed to achieving a greater purpose with technology. Liu’s business insights are regularly featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Tech Crunch, and more.