We are pioneers in Artificial Intelligence. We are on a mission to humanize digital interactions by building artificial emotional intelligence, or Emotion AI. With facial coding and emotion analytics, advertisers can measure unfiltered and unbiased consumer emotional responses to digital content. All that’s needed is internet connectivity and a standard webcam.
Tim Peacock, COO of Affectiva, was recently featured on the Happy Market Research podcast to discuss his background, Affectiva’s role in the market research space, and what he believes makes a rockstar employee.
Executive Spotlight: Tim Peacock
Tim is Affectiva’s Chief Operating Officer and VP of Engineering. He built Affectiva’s engineering team from the ground up and led the team to create the world’s first Emotion AI platform, turning MIT research into products used by 25% of the Global Fortune 500 companies. As COO, Tim oversees Affectiva’s data driven planning and decision processes. Prior, Tim spent 8 years at Lotus, where he led development of Lotus 1-2-3. He is a proud MIT alum, and has had extensive experience in all areas of technology from startups to large organizations.
On the podcast, Tim was interviewed on his background and how he came to the position he has today. His father was a hardware architect for IBM back in the early days of business computing, working on a large project called System 360, which had the idea that software programs should be able to run on all different models of computers. From his father, Tim got an engineering perspective, framing challenges into problems that have solutions. Thus, his interest in software engineering.
FUN FACT: "It was much later that I discovered my father knew Fred Brooks very well: Fred Brooks wrote the seminal text on software project management called The Mythical Man-Month. I found it interesting that I had a connection to Fred Brooks like that." - Tim Peacock, COO of Affectiva. Read more
Tim’s mother was an executive secretary in New York City for years, working for various presidents of companies, including Viacom just before Sumner Redstone took over it. What he learned from her was a feel for operations and how things actually work within companies. For example, the presidents of all these very important companies would brag, “Oh, you know I can always get you tickets to that...” But all that really meant is that they would turn around to someone like Tim’s mother who knew how to actually get it done. This is how Tim acquired a fascination in how things actually work, and not just how people think they work. So the combination of engineering and operations led his career to where it is today.
4 Characteristics of All Star Employees, According to our COO
#1: Foundation of Expertise
Regardless of the role, there must be a foundation layer of expertise required to successfully execute in the position. When Affectiva hires an AI researcher, for example, it is a given that they have to have an expertise in deep learning and the latest in AI research.
Now what separates the average machine-learning researcher, software engineer, or business development person from an excellent one? According to Tim, the first element is Passion. Startups are long hauls: there’s going to be great ups, downs, sideshows and all sorts of things. But a passion for what you’re doing brings you to work every single day to do your best. From Affectiva’s perspective, we’re trying to humanize technology: we are looking for people to come here if you have a passion for that. Startups require this passion, and if that passion drives you, it will make you stand out as an employee.
Yes, there’s the core job that you are going to do but there are many other things that may be asked of you, at Affectiva or any other startup. For example, Affectiva just hosted the 2nd Emotion AI Summit a couple week ago. Hundreds of people came to Boston, hosted by us, to talk about trust and AI, diversity and AI, and other very important, general AI topics.
While we set budget aside to help us execute on certain elements, everybody in this company did an amazing job of pitching in on things that had nothing to do with their jobs. We had a number of demos we had to transport to the conference, and the team stepped up to pack them up, load into a van, transport them to the exhibition space, and assemble them to work for the live conference the next day. But every day in a startup, it isn’t just the occasional trivial stuff like that. It’s very important stuff like, you may not be comfortable on customer calls, but this customer needs an expert, and you’re the one that’s available. So get on that call and help us explain what’s going on to this customer.
#4: Get Things Done
Tim’s final characteristic of a rockstar employee is to get things done. Don’t be a talker. Don’t sit back and hypothesize. From researchers to engineers to absolutely everything, startups only create value by getting things done. So have a knack for getting things done: get to closure, deliver stuff to the market or to the customer. All this only happens when employees get things done.
Is this you? Join Us!
At Affectiva, we ultimately envision an emotion-aware world, redefining not only how we interact with technology but also how we connect and communicate with one another. Such an ambitious vision takes a great team with a strong desire to explore and innovate. We are always on the lookout for exceptional talent who can help build new artificial intelligence focused around sensing, understanding and adapting to human emotion. We invite you to join us on this uncharted, exciting territory of building Emotion AI. See our open positions here.