VP, Web Products, Weather.com
The Weather Channel Companies
Finnerty had three big missions when Weather lured him away from Comcast Interactive Media a year ago to run the net’s product and content strategies: Reinvent weather.com’s leadership position, enhance reach and exceed revenue goals. So far, so good. Weather.com has become one of the highest trafficked sites on the Web, and the Weather Channel app has cemented its position as one of the must-have apps on any smartphone or tablet device. It probably took some convincing to get this Philadelphia native to leave his homeland for “Hot-lanta.” But Weather is more than glad he made the move—and both parties are now reaping the benefits.
What personal qualities do you think have helped you get to your current position—and which ones (that you either now possess or must work on) will advance you to the next level?
There are two core tenants that I try to execute every day that have really helped me achieve success:
1. OVERCOMMUNICATE – make sure that everyone up and down the organization knows what’s going on; Share knowledge, data, relationships across all levels; have an open door/inbox policy and actually listen to and respond to all ideas and issues.
2. NEVER ADMIRE A PROBLEM – offer solutions. Demonstrate that you are a problem solver even if not in your direct line of responsibility. These two qualities have led to increasing responsibility throughout my career… then you just have to execute and deliver.
I think a quality that more young executives need to focus on (including me) to get to the next level is constant recruiting and team career development. You need to have someone that can take your responsibilities so that you can take on more at the next level. Successful businesses have the best teams, but you don’t always find those team members when you need them. You find them or develop them throughout your career, through the normal business interactions, deals, projects, conferences, etc. You just need to tap into that network when the time (and budgets) calls for it.
What digital trend will be the biggest game changer in the next 1-3 years?
I think the biggest digital business driver over the next 1-3 years (outside of mobile) will be the strength that online video (packaging, curating, programming, personalizing) has in luring more users and consequently more advertisers into the online medium from traditional video consumption habits. Increasing penetration of connected TVs, broadband connected tablets, OTT STBs and Gaming consoles will be the biggest driver of provoking new forms of content creation and packaging.