Talking about technology, business, and customer experience is nothing new for UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) alumnus Evan Carroll (BSIS ’08, MSIS ’12), but his speaking schedule signficantly intensified in early 2016 with the launch of his new business, Evan Carroll and Associates, and the publication of his second book, Blue Goldfish.
With Evan Carroll and Associates, Carroll is spending much of his time at conferences and corporate events helping companies understand how to use technology, data, and analytics to “connect with the hearts and minds of their customers to drive both loyalty and advocacy.”
Carroll said the time was right for this type of consultancy business, citing a recent finding by Gartner that 89% of companies expect to compete this year solely on the basis of customer experience, up from 36% four years ago. Carroll said he also felt personally and professionally ready to take on this challenge.
“Between casually pursuing professional speaking following my first book and working in user experience and product management, I've assembled a diverse set of experiences,” he said. “In particular, I've learned how large corporations function, or more aptly, how they don't function well, and how that affects the customer.”
Carroll’s first book Your Digital Afterlife (New Riders Press, 2010), explored what happens to personal, digital collections once the owner passes away. His work on this timely topic led to interviews and appearances with numerous media outlets including The New York Times, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s Fresh Air, and The Atlantic, as well as speaking engagements at SXSW Interactive, the Internet Archive, and the Library of Congress.
For his latest book, Blue Goldfish (9 INCH Marketing, 2016), Carroll and co-author Stan Phelps collected over 300 examples of companies that are effectively using technology, data, and analytics to benefit customers, rather than simply sell products.
“Instead of taking a technology perspective, we took a business perspective, so that anyone who wants to understand how to implement similar programs in their own company can find ways to do it,” Carroll said.
While Blue Goldfish is more business focused compared to the personal topics covered in Your Digital Afterlife, Carroll said the books do share similarities.
“On a fundamental level, they're both situated at the intersection of people and technology, which is where I've focused my career,” he said.