Leonardo Santos: Redefining Innovation in Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and IoT .

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Joshua Hebert

Magellan Jets is a Boston-based private aviation solution provider built on a foundation of integrity, reliability, and trust. Founded in 2008, Magellan Jets’ innovative model offers jet-specific memberships and on-demand charter services designed to provide the freedom and exceptional personalized service that private travelers expect. Magellan Jets and its FAA-licensed Flight Support team ensure that every detail is tailored to exceed expectations. Safety, security, and an uncompromising focus on hospitality combine with the most exclusive network of aircraft in the skies to let travelers experience private aviation the way it was meant to be, purely private.

Joshua Hebert founded Magellan Jets in 2008 with 25 years of experience in finance, marketing, and aviation. His expertise in business startups, transformations, search engine optimization, and marketing has enabled him to grow the company into the brand it is today. In founding Magellan Jets, Hebert melded his passion for aviation with his knowledge and financial savvy, which he gleaned from starting his career on Wall Street at Paine Webber and Shearson Lehman Brothers.

Hebert went from the investment banking world to the advertising world where he led the marketing team to increased success at America City Business Journals. He then started in the aviation business in 2000, when he founded Jets International and paved the way to customer success and revenue in operations.

As the Founder and CEO of Magellan Jets, Hebert is the visionary behind an incredibly successful team that the executive leaders have diligently crafted over the past decade. Hebert’s expertise in business startups and transformations, combined with his extensive track record in growing businesses through creative new solutions, has culminated a team that has increased sales at Magellan Jets by 35% a year for almost a decade.

Magellan has been recognized for its growing success several years in a row on Boston Business Journal’s Pacesetters (now Fast 50) list, as one of SmartCEO’s Future 50 and on the Inc. 5000 list of Fastest Growing Private Companies in America, the most prestigious ranking of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies. Making the list for an unprecedented 6th time, Magellan Jets find themselves in elite company.  Not only does that put them in the Inc Hall of Fame, but only 193 of the 5000 companies on the 2018 list that have made it 6 times, which is roughly 3%.

Hebert currently serves as Chairman on the Magellan Jets board, the Vice Chairman of the Air Charter Safety Foundation (ACSF), and as Founding Chair of the Alumni Advisory Board for Raising a Reader Massachusetts. He is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and has been a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year. He is quoted in Barron’s, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Business Week, and The Economist among other major publications; and has contributed articles to Fortune.

Data-Driven Leadership is Imperative

Joshua feels leaders in this disruptive age need to understand their numbers (income, expenses, and gross profit) – what they’ve done in the past and what they’re trying to achieve in the future. A lot of entrepreneurs don’t know their numbers. It is also extremely important for CEO’s to understand the competitive landscape and be able to tweak their products according to this analysis.

“Don’t be afraid to fail or it becomes more difficult to succeed. Your new job as CEO is “Decision-Maker”: You can’t get everything right and have to be comfortable being wrong sometimes – that is how you grow. CEO’s/Visionaries should not be involved in day-to-day operations as much as they should be making the big decisions within the organization so that they can lead and grow the vision of the company,” he asserts.

Two of the best pieces of advice Joshua has ever received are: “Reputation takes years to build and only seconds to ruin”, and “If it swims like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it is probably a duck!”

The key to Magellan Jets’ success has been hiring great people who help build the amazing culture the company has. One of the core values Magellan imbibes is to:

Develop, cultivate, and share a Prosperity Mindset. The company values memorable experiences that build trust and loyalty. Magellan truly strives to make this a reality for its employees. The company is lucky to have a very cool office located in Quincy Center with a view of Boston, hold fun events and parties, volunteer as often as it can, and encourage open dialogue and communication within the organization.

Customers’ Satisfaction is the Key to Success

Magellan made a decision three years ago, which was risky and scary, to not concentrate on growth and concentrate on customer retention instead. The company’s renewal rate on memberships is now 90%, proving that customer satisfaction is more important than new business. Magellan is getting back into growth mode now that it has refined the company’s membership program and retained the current clients.

Magellan Jets’ success is closely tied to its world-class Flight Support department, which consists of aviation professionals and FAA-Certificated Pilots available 24/7/365.  With years of experience in high-end catering and concierge service, the Flight Support team is committed to excellence in quality and innovation and strives for superiority in every aspect of service. The company’s customers expect technology to help them out; but also, for someone to pick up the phone and understand what’s going on with their trip at all times.

Leading A Balanced Life

Joshua believes in creating meaningful relationships with friends, family, clients and the Magellan Jets team. To stay in good physical health, he exercises in the AM to prep for the day. Joshua also loves learning and mentoring other entrepreneurs, watching companies grow and to be able to help in that process.

“Give them clear and concise information and the why on the task at hand. Give a concept and hope that they make it bigger and better. We over communicate at Magellan Jets – we send a daily email of updates, both internal and external. We have a 15-minute meeting every morning with the whole staff, even on weekends and holidays, weekly IDS meetings with every department, quarterly reviews with employees on what they can do better and what management can do better,” he added.

AI and Disruptive Technologies are Proliferating Fast

Responding over the impact of disruptive technologies in today’s innovation, Joshua accentuates, “In the original Blade Runner—set in 2019—technologists had already replicated humans and flying cars. Although I’m doubtful we’ll hit that mark in the near future, I’d venture we’re not too far off. Indeed, artificial intelligence (AI) has already become an everyday part of life for most humans. We use that at work and at home—often without even realizing. As we start 2019, I’d say there isn’t much that artificial intelligence hasn’t touched. The big question now is: how much further will it go?”

He considers humans simply can’t keep up with the speed at which technology—and customer demands—are moving. That’s why more and more businesses are moving toward harnessing the power of conversational AI chatbots and other virtual assistants to manage the day-to-day flow of work. It is estimated that some 85% of customer interactions will be managed by AI by 2020.

And in the near term, Joshua says, “We’ll likely to see an increased focus on bot sensitivity training, which will allow humans to offload even more work on chatbot shoulders. And I’m not just talking about business. Amazon’s Alexa recently began syncing with Outlook and Google to help families keep up with their hectic schedules. Meanwhile, a new virtual assistant from X.ai called “Amy” can be trusted to respond to messages regarding meetings, meals, and calls without ever alerting the sender she’s a bot.”

Positioning Customers’ Privacy Concerns

Magellan may not be ready for the Jetsons’ Rosie, but it’s getting closer. Because the Magellan Jets model is purely private, and the company has to continue to understand how AI could affect the customers’ privacy. The company has to spend a lot of time making sure its customers are protected. One of Magellan Jets’ primary safety concerns for its clients is that AI may try to access their data. The company is protective of that information on behalf of Magellan’s clients. It doesn’t intend to replace the human element of customer service, whereas a lot of Magellan’s competitors are using apps.

“The most valuable and effective use of AI is to augment a person’s natural abilities,” according to Josh Feast CEO and Cofounder of Cogito, an AI-based software company providing real-time guidance to enterprise contact centers. “AI is helping employees better sense a customer’s needs, providing them with insight to foster more productive conversations and deliver more personalized service.”

Joshua believes in relying on personal touch and be able to listen to the needs of the clients. AI will be a major player, but Magellan Jets will always be involved. And the company is constantly learning how to better protect the employees and clients as AI increases its presence.

“As we all work more and more with AI and begin to work alongside machines that are replacing monotonies of daily jobs, we are left with some choices in how we operate our businesses. Overall, AI is growing, and past the infancy stage; however, it is still very early on in its life cycle. At Magellan Jets, we know that AI is an assistive tool and surrounds us every day, nudging us in our decision making. Our goal is to make sure that we do not take the human aspects out of the decisions that our clients make or what we do for our clients either,” Joshua added.

“For example, when our phone contract was recently being renewed, we had our legal counsel go through the contract to make sure we were not authorizing AI to access our phone conversations. We found that the contract did allow for AI to take data from our customers, so we had to take that out of the contract. We are actively working through our vendor contracts more than we ever have, and we require our legal counsel to sign off on everything.”

Being Authentic with Customers

Joshua said the next big frontier for AI is the travel industry. There are several big players in the market looking to mine all the data they can find on you in order to predict when and where you will travel next. Expedia is now tracking which reviews you read, how reviews are written and their impact on your purchase. This means they are taking the data from every source they can find and leveraging it to benefit you. All of this is great for the average consumer, being shown the items that trend their way and leveraging the past to predict the future. However, what happens if you share an account and want to look for something different? What about customer service, exploring the best benefits for customers, and really putting the next experience ahead of the past experience?

AI and machine learning require data – and petabytes of it – to make sure that the algorithms are accurate. In a digital age in which the information is traveling across the US and globe in a mere instant, Magellan Jets is focused on making sure that the company is able to build relationships with its customers and treat them as family, because Magellan wants to make sure that the customers are a part of its family.

Meeting customers face to face, partnering with customers on personal needs, and representing the customers’ interests are Magellan priorities. Magellan Jets is more than a private jet company, and it is an extension of travel in all aspects. This means making sure every experience is amazing, ensuring that no one is exploited for marketing or data mining, and their information are secure. Most companies realize data is the commodity of the present, and even more, will in the future.

Magellan Jets has always been focused on its clients’ needs first and making the needs of each specific trip a priority. This is the company’s personal advantage. What does this mean? Magellan Jets is dedicated to creating relationships that AI, machine learning and apps cannot create. Technologies such as chatbots, email bots, and other AI/machine learning tools are attempting to learn social engagement, but empathy, understanding and caring are very far out in the future for these tools. Magellan Jets know that it will be years until AI tools will be ready for use in a secure environment.

Protecting Sensitive Information and Mitigating Risk

Due to the early stage at which AI and machine learning currently reside, there are some risks involving the amount of data, data sources, and vulnerability of these systems. The thought of a “security second” mindset makes Magellan to pause at implementing this technology. Being cognizant of potential security issues, Magellan Jets is working with partners to ensure that the company protects its customers’ information. The company is constantly seeking out the best technology and technology partners who acknowledge that AI is the future, while at the same time making sure not to expose the clients’ information to partners who do not value security in the same fashion. The value that it brings currently is minimal in comparison to the risk that is constantly growing in this world.

This is a critical time for Magellan to decide how machines, data, and AI will impact its lives. As the technology develops and becomes more secure, the company will continue to explore uses for it.  A core business value at Magellan Jets is to make sure is that the clients, no matter who they are, have the privacy that they need and desire when using the company’s services. Magellan Jets is truly an all-inclusive travel solution that keeps private travel purely private.

Winning Over Challenges

Commenting on tough times Joshua feels a lot of people have problems within an organization and the CEO needs to be the solution. It’s very easy to point out issues, but it’s harder to solve them. He explains to keep it simple but also explains the why behind the task, giving someone a clean definition of what is expected out of them gives you a much better product. Think of every decision – first think of how you would do something if you didn’t have a budget, then think of how to do it with a budget.

An Essential Advice to Emerging Leaders

To emerging leaders Joshua advices to “Have control over your destiny. You need to be comfortable continuing to educate yourself to get better, if not your competitors will. Turning your beliefs and passions in life into a business is the most gratifying thing a person can do.”