Eric Diaz is the CFO for OYE! Business Intelligence, a software platform that provides business insights to Fortune 500 companies, federal government organizations, and large public universities. This platform helps those organizations provide better marketing content and make better communications decisions with one of the largest, fastest-growing ethnic demographics in the US. OYE! may have started as just an idea, but it now serves MassMutual, Schwarzkopf, göt2b, Kroger, White Castle, and other major brands.
What part of Arizona do you call home?
I am a west-central Phoenix guy. For a living I do multicultural marketing, so I love being able to live as my target market does on a daily basis. It’s one of the key reasons I moved to the Valley from Ohio. When you work in Hispanic marketing, no potential client brands give you much credit when you live in a 4 percent Hispanic market (Ohio). At 40 percent, such as Phoenix, you get a little street cred.
What was your very first entrepreneurial venture?
I was a paperboy back in Columbus, Ohio when I was 8 years old. I think that counts because you have to do your own books and collect the money, so it’s basically an entrepreneurial experience. Besides that, around the same age a friend of mine and I started selling baseball cards from our front porch. We would put signs up all across the neighborhood and watch the kids, as well as much older baseball card collectors, come to our sales. We found out that having packs available for people to buy for $0.50 each was a good way to get kids to come, and then they would wind up buying the individual cards which were priced at a premium. It was a good lesson at an early age.
How did you come up with the idea for your business?
My business partner, Natasha Pongonis, and I came up with the idea because we’d run a multicultural marketing agency since 2008. As part of our work for our agency, we were often asked to provide social intelligence using existing software platforms such as Radian6 from Salesforce and Crimson Hexagon. We always found these tools to be inadequate for truly understanding what today’s US Hispanic market is talking about. Basically, these tools only listen to what Spanish-speaking Hispanics discuss online, ignorant to the fact that as little as 20 percent of online Hispanics speak that language depending on the industry. If you really want to connect with a Hispanic audience, you are missing the story if you don’t listen to the English as well. OYE was born to fill this gap.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Arizona?
I love the mountains. One of the main reasons I moved here is [because] I saw how beautiful the landscape was. Coming from a flat place like Ohio, it is really exciting to me to see the silhouettes of all these mountains so close by relatively.
What’s your least favorite thing about living in Arizona?
I don’t mind the heat as much to be honest. but I think you always learn something new about Arizona—such as not to leave your gym bag with deodorant or rubber sandals in the car during summer.
Read more about Eric Diaz on TechAZ here.