Name: Jonathan Kyle
Job Title: SVP, Growth & Product Strategy
Company: Allstate Protection Plans / SquareTrade
Years in the Industry: 9
Education: University of Vermont
Name: Jonathan Kyle
Dealerscope’s 40 Under 40 Honoree 2021
Describe your current role.
I’ve worn a number of marketing, business development, and strategy hats during my nine-plus years at the company. In my current role I am responsible for expanding Allstate Protection Plans’ partnerships and growth through both mobile operators and new / emerging distribution channels. I also lead new product development and strategy for our go-forward product portfolio.
What accomplishment(s) are you most proud of?
My favorite accomplishments are those achieved by teams and I’ve been fortunate to be part of a great team at SquareTrade (now Allstate Protection Plans). One of the team accomplishments I’ve been most proud to be a part of is the company’s evolution since being acquired by Allstate in 2017. Many large acquisitions sound good on paper, but ultimately fail to realize their expected results and synergies due to complex integrations, internal politics, and heavy attrition. Our team has had amazing support from Allstate, which has allowed us to continue to remain agile and invest in scaling the business and innovating on our products while providing the backing of a large and trusted brand. This has resonated with both our customers and our partners in a way that has exceeded even our own expectations.
What do you like best about your job?
What I enjoy most about my job is the problem-solving and storytelling it requires. We serve two primary audiences: our distribution partners and their end consumers. Our business’ challenge is that product protection has historically had a poor service reputation with limited innovation. Further, it’s not nearly as top of mind to consumers as most other CE products / technologies due to its episodic nature (consumers think they only need it when something breaks). So we have really had to work hard to redefine perceptions about the product and the customer experience. I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to help launch a number of our new products that challenge the traditional product protection paradigm and make it more modern and relevant to the end consumer and more compelling to our distribution partners.
What technology are you most excited about at the moment?
As someone who now works from home, I’m excited by the technological challenges and disruption opportunities that have been created from having a more distributed workforce. Even with great products like Slack, Zoom, Teams, etc., I think there is still significant runway for technology to improve productivity and the way we collaborate virtually.
What career advice would you give to people just getting started in the CE or technology industry?
I’m a big believer that we all have more power and control over our own professional destinies than we realize. Unfortunately, success is often only achieved after failing first, and many of us have been taught to fear failure. My advice for people early in their career is to take more chances and view failure as an actionable opportunity to improve vs. a reason to stop trying. It’s almost impossible to become great at anything without repetition, and failure forces you to try again. The most successful individuals and companies I see are those that are willing to fail fast and embrace the chance failure provides to get better.
What, in your opinion, is necessary for the CE/technology industry to thrive in the next five years?
I see two emerging challenges that the industry will benefit greatly from tackling.
Number One is Interoperability: We all have so many devices, applications, and technologies that we depend on for productivity, entertainment, or just to make things work around our home. These have become heavily fragmented and difficult for even tech-savvy consumers to easily use and manage. As an industry, we need to help demystify new technologies for consumers and make their lives easier to accelerate adoption and satisfaction.
Number Two is Privacy and Security: The pandemic has further accelerated the virtualization of our society. This comes with a number of pros and cons, but one of the biggest concerns for many consumers is controlling and protecting their personal data and information. We are living in a time of heightened distrust, where new technology is often met with skepticism. As an industry we need to double down on ensuring consumers are more protected, empowered, and informed around how they can mitigate these risks while still leaning into new technologies. Failure to do so has the potential to discourage engagement and adoption.