Women in Tech: Lucy Lin AACS - strategic growth advisor, supporting entrepreneurs and your local ACS Branch Executive leader
23rd February 2021
- Lucy Lin AACS is a strategic growth advisor, supporting entrepreneurs, scaling businesses, and established organisations navigate through business growth, digital transformation and commercialisation strategies.
- Lucy holds a position on the NSW Branch Executive Committee and is the Founder & Chief Marketing Officer of Forestlyn.
- She is passionate about emerging technologies in the AI, blockchain, smart cities and the data space and supporting diversity in tech.
1. One of your greatest achievements in your career is being a two times founder with an award-winning mobile app. What advice would you give to startups and entrepreneurs in our community who want to scale their business?
I am proud to have founded an energy mobile app and an innovation marketing consultancy. I work with startups and entrepreneurs on a daily basis to assist with marketing and communications strategies of their products, services and businesses to achieve global growth and increased revenues. It is important to acknowledge the difficulty of the current environment for some businesses, and this is why customer validation is more important than ever. Small increases in customer acquisition and revenue are positive, because when things improve, and consumer confidence comes back, you are in a position to grow that 1 to 100 rather quickly and that 1 to 100 jump is going to be even more meaningful than it would have been prior to the pandemic.
Having famously founded Airbnb in 2008 during the GFC, Brian Chesky has been outspoken about his belief in the importance of handcrafting your user experience before you start to scale. Nobody starts with 100 million users; you start with a few. In the beginning, you need to stop thinking big and start thinking small. Hand-serve customers and prospects and do anything and everything you can to win them over, one by one. The ability to seek out and listen to user feedback, and to attain customer validation was the secret to Airbnb's foundational success, and I would recommend a similar strategy for any businesses wanting to scale.
2. You’ve had a global marketing career and now run a marketing consultancy, specialising in marketing emerging tech products and services. What are the biggest challenges you see in the industry and how do you hope to solve this?
I’ve had the lucky fortune to work with some great innovative companies in the AI, blockchain, smart cities and the data space! I work with a lot of technical founders, startups and innovation teams who are not customer focused and unfortunately, this leads to a lot of product failures. In fact, a Nielsen report states that 80-85% of new products fail because there is a lack of marketing support to address a consumer need or meet the product experience. Below are my observations to the challenges we face and my recommendations on how to solve some of the most pressing issues:
- Not Knowing Your Customer: a lot of organisations and founders have limited knowledge of their target customers, because they do not spend enough time to fully deep dive and to understand them, their needs and how they actually interact with the product or service. A lot of companies build things that isn’t fit for a relevant audience, and that is an issue. Please always work backwards from your customers and build product or services that fits their every need and solves their problems.
- Jargon-Filled Communications: Technical teams, organisations and founders tend to communicate in technical and jargon-filled terms that no one except for other technical people will understand. The goal is to communicate in simple and easily digestible language that resonates and is relevant to their customers, investors, suppliers, and target audiences.
- Not Changing With The Times: Unfortunately, a lot of businesses take too long to change, pivot or even make decisions. This inaction could be paralysing as the market, industry or the customers could move away, and you are left in the dust. Especially in current pandemic times, having an agile mindset, to be comfortable with change and to constantly adapt is vital for products and services in the emerging tech space, or you will fall within this failed statistic as well.
3. How would you encourage members to think globally and outside the box?
These days as we are all so interconnected via the internet, all tech businesses are global from day one. It is important to unleash your creative thinking and try, test and experiment with various activities, initiatives and campaigns in order to refine your customer strategy down to only the best performing tactics. If businesses want to be successful in their marketing, they need to cut through the noise and stand out from the many competitors. Creative marketing tactics means you will need to capture your target audience’s attention, generate new ideas, push the boundaries and sustain future growth. My key tips to get started are:
- Make time: Get out the office, away from your devices and let your brain start ticking. Whether it’s sitting in a coffee shop and watching the world go by or going for a run or daydreaming, this is a crucial first step that made a big difference for me.
- Lose the fear: It is ok to make mistakes and encourage bad ideas. In fact, we can attain diverse feedback and borrow ideas that we can learn more which would make it better. Don't be afraid to change your usual routine, take more risks and to be more spontaneous as well, this is how we can all become more creative.
4. As a woman is tech, why do you think it is important to develop workplace diversity and inclusion?
This is an important topic for me and I am passionate about increasing the amount of women in tech. In the 2020 ACS Digital Pulse Report, women continue to be significantly underrepresented in the technology workforce at 29% which is significantly lower compared to the overall workforce at 47%. Workplace diversity and inclusion matters because it is simply good for the business’ bottom line and improvement for internal cultural practices.
- Diversity generates more revenue: Compared to their peers, high-gender-diversity companies deliver better returns, and they have outperformed, on average, less diverse companies. Companies that not only hire but also manage to retain more women put themselves in a position to automatically gain a competitive advantage, said the BCG study.
- Diversity generates new ideas: Men and women have different viewpoints, ideas, and market insights, which enables better problem solving, ultimately leading to superior performance at the business unit level. Open, trusting, and supportive relationships among coworkers and supervisors unleash the power of diversity by enabling employees to turn their differences in thought, behavior, skills, knowledge, and talent into innovative ideas and practices that can drive a company forward.
5. What do you hope to achieve for the ACS community whilst elected on the NSW Branch Executive Committee (BEC)?
I want to state that this is my first time elected as a member on the BEC, and this opportunity is an absolute honour. This year, I hope to connect with as many of the ACS community and I hope to get to know you better at either one of the in-person or online events.
My goal is to bring in fresh thinking and new ideas to the Committee and suggest or inject in new practices that would bring about some structural changes. I am passionate about women in tech, and I want to provide as much support into the diversity and inclusion agenda as possible. I am also passionate about all types of emerging technologies and how that would affect and make an impact to our professional and personal lives.
I believe we are in the biggest technology driven transformation of our generation, and the time is now to action as an industry to set the best foundational frameworks we can. I am very excited to join the BEC and please feel free to reach out or connect with me at lucy-lin.com or linkedin.com/in/lucylin1.