Explain neutrality to a five-year old?
Neutrality is the simple and obvious idea that we treat everybody equally – we never favor one customer over another in any way. This single concept guides literally everything we do. To fully implement this concept, though, we also have to protect – in each and every instance – all of the confidential information we are entrusted to hold. And we do.
How do you measure neutrality in your organization?
We have rigorous processes and procedures to ensure that we are truly safeguarding confidential information and never favoring one customer or group of customers over another. We then have outside auditors review our processes and actions every three months to ensure we are living up to our neutrality obligations. And we provide neutrality training to – and require neutrality certifications from – each and every Neustar employee.
What’s the best training for being a neutrality officer?
I went to college at VMI, the Virginia Military Institute. One of the things they have there is an honor code: One does not lie, cheat or steal, or tolerate those who do. If you violate the honor code, you’re tossed out. It’s as simple as that. A lot of this code carries over into the business world and the concept of neutrality. You’re going to treat everybody equally, you’re not going to allow one company to be able to do something, and not let somebody else do it. If you do, you will not be in business for long.
Tell me something I don’t know about Neustar.
Do you know where the name “Neustar” comes from? Back in 1999 a few of us were sitting around a table trying to come up with a name for the company. We wanted something far-reaching – that’s where stars and galaxies come from – but we also wanted to make sure we incorporated the concept of neutrality, because that’s what the whole business was based on then, and still is today. So that’s where the “NEU” in Neustar comes from, from the word “neutrality.”
Is it true you get a lot of calls from Hollywood?
Yes—and Saturday Night Live calls quite a bit too. It’s because my organization oversees number resource assignment, so when they want to put a telephone number in a movie or television show, there are numbers that have been set aside out of what’s referred to as the 555 resource. That’s why phone numbers in movies and television shows use an area code plus 555 and the numbers 0100 through 0199.
What does a neutrality officer do in his spare time?
I love playing golf. I carry my sticks wherever I go. You just never know when the opportunity will present itself. And the role we play here at Neustar, in terms of neutrality and following the rules is similar to the game of golf. In golf, you’ve got to adhere to the rules, and you’ve got to pledge that you’re going to continue to do that. For example, in golf you write down your score for a particular hole. Say I scored a double-bogey, so I’ve got to write down a double-bogey. I’m not going to write down that I got a par, because that’s not following the rules.
Coke or Pepsi?
Ha. I prefer Diet Coke.
I thought you weren’t supposed to pick favorites!
Yeah, I know…. But I’ve gotta have my Diet Coke!