Pluralsight Inc is a technology learning platform that helps solve problems and develop skills that scale. During the recent PluralsightLIVE conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, I had the opportunity to meet and speak with Aaron Skonnard, CEO and co-founder, Pluralsight Inc.
For me, there was something very different and powerful about Pluralsight’s vision, mission and message that was at the heart of this conference:
“We exist to democratize technology skills.”
Democracy and technology skills being mentioned in same sentence are not usually words I would expect to hear at most tech events.
Speaking with Aaron Skonnard it was very clear that he is determined to embrace and implement his vision to democratize technology skills. His passion, commitment and clarity about improving diversity and inclusion within the ranks of his own company is in no doubt. He believes it starts at the top on own board, in his executive teams and across the entire organisation. He said,
“We are setting some very clear goals and standards around diversity and inclusion.”
His executive team is currently working to formalise and officially declare these goals, not just within his own organisation but to the world. Doing this he believes will ensure that everyone is committed to creating diversity across the entire company. People will have a clear understanding of exactly what it means and they will be accountable for its implementation. He wants to ‘lead the charge’ and learn from other organisations who have successfully embraced it.
“We’re promoting an inclusive culture where anyone from any walk of life feels safe and valued in our environment.”
“It’s not just for diversity sake. The reason we’re doing this and heading down these paths is that we believe it will produce more value for our customers. We serve customers in 150 different countries, from all walks of life. How can we possibly serve them to their fullest potential, if we don’t have different types of people working for us?”
Aaron’s focus and mission on diversity extends to users of the Pluralsight’s platform and products globally.
“Pluralsight is in a very unique position to drive diversity across the entire tech industry because of the way our platform works. It doesn’t care where you come from or who you are. It gives you a safe environment to learn.”
Diversity fosters inclusiveness and democracy within the tech industry, which are important elements of Plurasight’s values and mission. Users can get free credentials and begin to create careers for themselves through using the company’s Skills IQ and Roll IQ online tools.
“It’s going to be an on-going never ending thing. One of the things that I’m really pleased about this week is that 41% of our speakers are women.”
He was very excited that Malala Yousafzai was attending the conference and to have the chance to speak with her. You can read about it here Malala Yousafzai shares her story and PluralsightLive 2018.
I then asked Aaron to tell me about his plans for Pluralsight’s Dublin office and how he selected it as a location.
“We love Dublin and I personally love it there. It’s a really good fit for us from both from a strategic and a cultural perspective and that’s why we chose it. About a year before the IPO, I commissioned my strategy team internally to do an entire company wide office footprint strategy analysis.”
“There is a high degree of diversity in Dublin and that’s really important to us. The work we did on the strategy decisions was a long process. We looked at a lot of data from different factors, culture wasn’t the only thing. When we looked at all those pieces Dublin came out really strong.”
Following the results of this major data driven analysis, decisions were made about where their company’s Utah global headquarters would reside as well as their EMEIA headquarters. Dublin came out on top. The main reasons were:
– Access to talent
– Real estate costs and availability
– Similar cultural and family values
“We have a landing team that’s been there now for about 9 months that we sent over from the US and they have been hiring. We have hired an SVP over EMEIA, Sean Farrington and a commercial leader who came from another tech company in Dublin.”
“It’s not going to be long before we are out of office space over there again, so we are looking at bigger expansion plans in Dublin with more space to grow. For us this is a big headquarters location. Dublin is going to receive a lot of investment from Pluralsight over the next several years.”
Aaron Skonnard is definitely a leader with a clear vision and mission to democratize technology. He is systematic in his approach to researching, creating, executing and achieving his goals. For an industry that needs diversity and inclusion so badly, he is definitely the man for the job. I’m excited that he’s chosen Dublin as his EMEIA headquaters and that the company is committed to be here for the long haul.
(For more information about the company’s plans for Dublin click here).
Pluralsight is an enterprise technology learning platform that delivers a unified, end-to-end learning experience for businesses across the globe. Through a subscription service, companies are empowered to move at the speed of technology, increasing proficiency, innovation and efficiency. Founded in 2004 and trusted by Fortune 500 companies, Pluralsight provides members with on-demand access to a digital ecosystem of learning tools, including Pluralsight IQ, directed learning paths, expert-authored courses, interactive labs and live mentoring. For more information, visit pluralsight.com.
Original article written by Catherine Duggan and published in Irish Tech News:
INTERVIEW WITH AARON SKONNARD, CO-FOUNDER AND CEO PLURALSIGHT INC AT PLURALSIGHTLIVE, SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH