Interview with the Executive: Rooly Eliezerov, Co-Founder & President, Gigya

In this blog series, we sit down with members of Gigya’s executive team to discuss how they run their facets of the organization, the future of consumer identity, and examples of impactful digital marketing. The first interview in the series is with Rooly Eliezerov, Gigya’s Co-Founder & President. 

About Rooly

Rooly supervises Gigya’s overall product strategy and development. Before co-founding Gigya, he held the position of General Manager at Smart Shopper, and was the VP of Products & Marketing at Hotbar. Rooly holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the Pratt Institute in New York City. 


As Co-Founder and President, much of your focus is on product strategy. What sort of market triggers help you determine product roadmap?

Gigya’s product strategy is really focused on three channels: feedback from existing customers, market research, and independent innovation. We place quite a bit of our time on gathering information from prospects and existing clients. We’ve learned that the dynamics of identity-related projects for enterprise-level organizations are quite complicated and hard to predict, and, therefore, we strive to be in constant communication with them. Our product team reviews any RFP that Gigya receives, as RFPs usually include future requirements as well. We also participate in product-level, technical sales calls. When it comes to existing Gigya customers, the product and project management teams are hands-on with the implementations. We learn from our clients what functionality they may be missing, what could be improved, and what would just make their lives easier. 

In parallel, we run internal product innovation sessions where we work on ideas that aim to come up with new solutions for upcoming scenarios. We then speak with existing customers to get their feedback on such ideas. Gigya’s product team is constantly reviewing the blogosphere, as well as additional resources to learn from opinion leaders in the space, industry analysts, and others. These three channels — customer feedback, market research, and our own ideas — are the secret sauce for creating a solid and forward-looking product roadmap. 

Where does Gigya’s name come from?

We were looking for a name that is easy to pronounce and spell, and of course, was available as a domain. Maya, the wife of one of the founders, came up with the name ‘Gigya’ and we loved it. 

How do you see the concept of digital identity changing in the next 5 years? What’s the “next big thing” in your opinion?

I believe that within 5 years a few things will happen in regards to digital identity. The first one relates to authentication. I believe that our digital identities will become the main way for most systems to identify us. It will replace things like the driver’s license and provide a much more secure and updated means of authentication. Later on, I believe that it will also replace our passports so we can use our digital identities internationally. 

The second thing I believe will happen relates to the data attributed to our digital identities. We already see how useful identity data can be — when we visit Amazon, we receive relevant product recommendations; when we go to Netflix, the algorithm can help us choose a good movie based on data. As permission-based data is being gathered, it is easier for systems to provide better services and remove friction. A future example: if two people on the same airplane are flying to the same convention, wouldn’t it make sense to sit them together rather than randomly? This is, by the way, now being tested by one of Gigya’s customers, KLM. Many decisions are random today, but with more accurate and relevant data, such decisions could be made more wisely. 

The next change I predict relates to data as well, but from a different angle. The more robust our digital identities become, the more private they will be. A strong trend in digital identity will be around privacy and control. We will need to know who has access to our data, and need to have control over said data. We may even be able to trade certain data points and enable access to specific information in exchange for benefits. Without full control over their personal data, people will no longer allow the information to be stored, and I see that as a critical part of the future of digital identity. 

What’s the best example of personalization you’ve seen on the web or on mobile?

The best example of personalization that I’ve seen was a movie trailer that was completely personalized by the user’s Facebook profile. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the movie’s name, as the promotion was released 3 years ago, but I remember the impact it had on me. The movie trailer began with a nice teaser that asked you to connect with your Facebook profile, and then it embedded photos and information from your profile into the trailer in a beautiful way which simply worked.

Keep an eye out for additional interviews with more key technology executives in the near future.

– Reeyaz Hamirani, Corporate Communications Manager

By Reeyaz Hamirani