Nuix Notes: Monthly updates from the CEO - Jun24

Written by: Jonathan Rubinsztein

Jonathan Rubinsztein Chief Executive Officer

JUNE 2024
The role of emotions in business. 

A little over a year ago – in my AGM speech to shareholders – I wanted to talk about the emotion of fear.  This was at a time in the business when we were just beginning the transformation and facing a lot of externalities.  In my speech, I had wanted to share that I was excited about the opportunities, but also scared about the unknown of which there were plenty.  No one wants to hear that the CEO is scared, I was advised.  This is a business update. 

Fast forward to a recent Sunday night, when I was surrounded by 50 people from another business I had built, gathered together some 10 years later for a reunion.  That was a formative time in my career as I learnt, through many failures and some breakthroughs, how to lead and how to build a business.  Of the 50 who gathered, many still work with me today, and whilst you might question their judgement (and they probably do often as well!), we are loyal to each other because we know what we are getting.  I am – as are they- no holds barred with my thoughts and feelings.  Authentic, some might say.  I take transparency to the next level, and believe that if I am open and human, I can create an environment where others are too.  And that’s how we build real relationships, where we connect first as humans, and then as work colleagues.  And through this, we built bonds of loyalty, a strong emotion with high business value. 

In my day to day, I start my 1:1s with my team not by asking what they have been doing, but how they are feeling.  This check-in is real: I want to know and care about how they are feeling.  But the emotional temperature check often also provides an insight into the business.  If they are feeling overwhelmed then I know we have to simplify and remove complexity, if they are feeling optimistic, then I know results will follow.  Emotions are a powerful way to understand what is happening not only for the individual, but for the business around them.  As a leader, it’s important for me to know how people are feeling, as a window into how the business is performing. 

Never have emotions been more important, than in the rise of AI development.  What keeps humans differentiated and superior to the machine is our emotion, and emotional intelligence.  The artificial version has already far surpassed what humans can achieve in the way of mathematical calculations and predictions, but we still possess the power of feelings, and those feelings can play a powerful role.  AI can make us efficient in so many ways, even in ways of devastating consequences, such as in war.  Without the human emotions of empathy or even guilt, the machine would choose for the most efficient outcome, every time, with no time spent on thinking of or feeling any emotion.  That is what separates us – and keeps us superior to – the machine.  Emotions must weigh in, and must preside over these critical decisions, and as well in everyday business. 

So, with the subtlety of a sledgehammer, I’m saying that emotions play an important role in business.   Emotions are what make us dynamic, unique and colourful.  Emotions can make us more creative and more innovative.  And ultimately emotions are what makes us feel alive and what makes us whole.  As I build this business, I want all of those things - dynamism, uniqueness, colour, creativity and innovation – to feature and drive a high performing culture.   But most of all, I want people to feel like they can be themselves and bring their whole selves to work.  At Nuix, our software makes sense of messy data to drive actionable insights, and our people embrace messy, human emotions to drive insightful actions. 


Jonathan Rubinsztein
Chief Executive Officer