Alum who cofounded ZenSource speaks about marketing technology
On November 9, students and faculty gathered in the Roy Room to attend “From Ryan Hall to the Frontier of Marketing Technology” to listen to speaker Jon Stewart ’08.
Stewart is a Saint Michael’s College alum who cofounded ZenSource, an enterprise level software company.
“We built the nation’s smartest safest marketing technology foundation,” Stewart said. ZenSource is “faster, it’s more secure, and it’s more skillful than any other platform that is out on the market right now.”
ZenSource provides the technology and tools to power all aspects of the web. Using the tools provided by ZenSource, companies can make their own websites, portals, web apps, etc. The platform allows marketers and content creators to expand their web experience without having to write any code. Stewart said the company mostly works in the healthcare, education, and financial service sectors.
ZenSource was built using open web technology. Stewart explained that Drupal, the world’s leading open-source community-built content management system, created “The Open Web Manifesto” which states that the open web is built for everyone to use and is founded on the values of access, freedom, inclusion, and empowerment.
“The web is changing so fast. The way we are communicating is changing so fast. Requirements are changing so fast. We need something that is resilient to the future which is why we built ZenSource on this open-source platform,” Stewart explained.
After talking about his company and the open web, Stewart touched on some trends in digital media. The first trend is the prevalence of open-source platforms. Today, 97% of companies are using some type of open-source technology, Stewart said.
Another trend is in artificial intelligence (AI). AI is a big topic right now and is going to continue growing. Stewart said his company is using ChatGPT to generate and optimize content.
“There are tools out there that we can use to help us get started. Using these tools and AI to generate some baseline content is a great way to start and get your thoughts together, but at the end of the day you still need a trained writer, a trained voice, an expert to really fine tune that content,” Stewart said.
Interactive content was the final trend.
“The way we develop user experience these days is more interactive than ever,” Stewart said.
Stewart said that companies need to invest in a “video-first” mentality. While outlets such as TikTok and YouTube shorts are viewed by many as fun, they are also primary channels for companies to deliver their content.
Before Stewart took questions from the audience, he gave some advice on skills for the future. He emphasized the importance of data analysis, user design, content creation and storytelling.
“In any role, the ability to communicate clearly and tell a compelling story is paramount,” Stewart said.
Steward also emphasized troubleshooting.
“Getting more into those uncomfortable situations— taking those classes that are more complicated and intimidating— that’s where I have found that you really get that troubleshooting muscle memory and resourcefulness.”
Stewart said ZenSource plans to offer internships in 2024 and interested Saint Michael’s students can reach him directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.