Welcome to the the Data Gurus Podcast!
The world around us is changing faster than ever before. From automation, artificial intelligence, big data, geo-location to every aspect of how we work and live. This includes DATA. Welcome to Data Gurus Podcast… our mission is to bring you a real life perspective on what’s happening in the data industry and how successful companies and individuals in this niche navigate through the sea of change. Encouraging you to Be Bold, Be Brave and Be Fearless – Let’s navigate the Data Ecosystem together.
SampleCon – Future Proofing the Industry Part 1
Welcome to another informative episode of the Data Gurus podcast!
Today, Sima shares the first part of a two-part series she created from the session she moderated at SampleCon, which took place in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. The session was titled Future-Proofing Our Industry and covered topics that included talent topics related to how people will return to work, supply topics, and market dynamics.
The panel includes Patrick Comer, the CEO and Founder of Lucid, Bob Fawson, EVP of Business Strategy for Dynata, Mario Carrasco, the Co-Founder and Principal of ThinkNow, and Rebecca Brooks, the Founder, and CEO of Alter Agents.
What work looks like for the next six to twelve months
Alter Agents had an easy transition to working full-time remotely during the pandemic. Their staff also doubled during that time. They decided to allow their lease to lapse at the end of June 2021 and keep on working remotely. It has been challenging not to have the usual opportunities to interact and chat with colleagues. So Rebecca has scheduled time to meet with everybody one-on-one, once a month, to keep connected and talk about business or personal matters.
Overall, her staff is happy and working better than ever. Working from home has released them from some of the stress they were experiencing from being at work. They now communicate with one another fluidly via Slack.
Rebecca’s primary concern is upholding the company values and maintaining its culture.
Bob feels a little concerned about onboarding and helping new team members find mentors and learn how to work in a professional environment. They have been pursuing a hybrid model, which was a shift for their company. Bob is not sure that anyone knows what their preference will be six months from now, but he is looking forward to that evolution.
Bob has enjoyed seeing how resilient people are. He hopes to end up with a little more balance between work and non-work life.
When ThinkNow was founded back in 2010, working from home was a core tenet. They wanted to be a cloud-first company.
Their leadership works from their headquarters in Los Angeles, and they have sales staff around the country, project management teams in India, and development teams in Latin America. The hardest part of the pandemic was finding themselves unable to see their overseas employees at their annual or bi-annual gatherings. Although technology has helped, they still miss getting together in person and interacting.
They have taken the approach of opening their office and letting people come in when they want to. So far, that has been working well. About 70% of the employees go in two to three times a week, and the rest go every day.
They are looking at people from a holistic perspective, rather than only looking at them only from a work lens, to address some of the mental wear and tear after the pandemic.
Lucid is a global company, so they are constantly aware that the pandemic affects different parts of the world differently, and it is not over yet.
They have done their best to live up to their core value of compassion. The team went out of its way to offer help to Indian people and their families and assist them in staying connected and doing business. Patrick remembers having to remind their team in India that they could have extra days off if they or their families were sick.
Sharing an experience, and knowing that we are all innately very human at this time, has made Patrick a more empathetic person, and hopefully a more compassionate person too.
It was supportive of Bob’s company culture to see the offices in Europe or the Philippines take on the work that others could not.
Insight Platforms | Ep. 140
Welcome to another exciting and informative episode of the Data Gurus podcast! Sima is excited to have Mike Stevens, the Founder of Insight Platforms, as her guest for today’s show. Mike is joining Sima today to talk about his company, Insight Platforms, and discuss the changes happening in the data and insights space.
About Insight Platforms
Insight Platforms was originated as a directory of platforms for insights, software, and data tools, across the spectrum of market research, UX research, CX research, and analytics.
The Genesis of Insight Platforms
Mike has always worked in the intersection between insight, marketing strategy, and technology. The genesis of Insight Platforms was Mike’s consulting business, where he did lots of advisory work around digital transformation. A surprising number of new startups were happening in that space, so he built a directory.
In the late 1990s, Mike started his career working in a niche boutique marketing strategy consulting business, helping people create strategies for getting into new markets. He worked for several other consultancies after that. He then spent a few years working with a Canadian software business formerly known as Vision Critical and later rebranded to Alida. After leaving that company a few years ago, he set up on his own as an independent consultant.
Enterprise insight market research teams have been under various kinds of pressures. They have been pressured to work faster, be more agile, and have more influence, and there has also been a gradual erosion of who owns the knowledge about the customers.
A data science component
Much of Mike’s initial client base were teams looking to upskill, harness technology, change the skills mix in their teams, and bring a data science component into their primary research skill base. They also wanted to adapt their operating models to be continuous providers of data and insights.
Three sides to the market
There are three sides to the market: They are enterprise buyers, service providers and agencies, and technology providers with whom agencies and enterprise clients will have relationships.
The changing landscape
Technology companies need help with their go-to-market strategies and expansion. Agencies also need help with figuring out what their likely proposition will be within the changing landscape. That creates fertile ground for strategy consulting, which is both interesting and rewarding.
Mike enjoys working with teams who are keen to embrace change and want genuine help to get there.
The new insight model
Although there is a lot of fear and discomfort in any rapidly-changing market, things are starting to shape up right now in the area of new insight models. There are a lot of opportunities available for those who want them.
We are generating an abundance of data currently across many mechanisms, consumer groups, and locations. As a result, some of the challenges in this exponential age will be about processing abundance rather than scarcity.
New data sources
There are currently many new and different types of data sources. The various starting points will result in different takes on the data and insights business.
An interesting trend
A trend is that more people are getting more hands-on with research and insights data. A lot of decision-making is currently due to customer-driven data.
A layered approach
The craft of understanding methodology and putting data into the correct perspective has now become one layer within a multi-layered approach to analyzing data.
An evolutionary process
The data industry is undergoing an evolutionary process.
The Future of Work Part Two | Ep. 139
Welcome to Part Two of an exciting two-part series on the future of work. Today, Sima continues her conversation with Kelly Monahan, the Thought Leadership Research Principal Director at Accenture Research. In this episode, Kelly and Sima discuss the different models that companies are considering, to bring people back into the office, create hybrid models, or go completely remote.
Going back to the traditional model
Some employers think they might encourage their employees to go back to the traditional model by compensating them with higher pay. Others are considering paying their employees less if they do not return to the office.
A rational economic move
Incentivizing people to work in less than preferred conditions was a rational economic move that was popular in the late 1970s. Henry Ford was a master of that tactic.
In the short term
In the short term, there will be a segment prepared to work in terms of an incentive to maintain an old paradigm.
In the long run
In the long run, however, it will not work. Incentivizing people to work in less than preferred conditions is a dangerous strategy because once the financial incentive reaches a certain amount, people’s motivation for work drops dramatically. They will start seeking out situations where they feel dignified and can have meaningful engagements with their coworkers.
The leadership experience
It is all about the leadership experience. Under poor leadership, people will leave eventually, regardless of how much they earn, because it compromises their ability to be human.
Industrial and organizational psychology
Kelly has been studying the future of work for the last seven years. It frustrates her to see how little industrial and organizational psychology and behavioral science gets brought into leadership decision-making and boardrooms.
Kelly feels that if we understood more about how people behave, what incentivizes them, and what matters to them, we would have very different organizations today.
An old model
Our philosophical assumptions in the business realm have not become updated. The focus in MBA business administration and how people get taught to lead in organizations is based on four principles: planning, organizing, directing, and leading resources. That is an old model that no longer works today.
In the past
Even in the past, those four principles did not create an ideal model. The labor strikes back in the 1920s and 1930s prove that. The government outlawed Frederick Taylor’s way of doing business because it was considered a dehumanized method. Yet, today, our MBA programs are still anchored in that method.
Some new leaders are doing things very differently from what they have inherited and learned. They have decided to work more humanly, even though it becomes more difficult as a business scales.
For a business to scale
The further you get from your employee population, the harder it is to have human kindness, compassion, and dignity because those qualities become transactional for a business to scale.
The question we need to ask
In the future of work, we need to ask ourselves what our success metric will be.
A new leadership playbook
In the future of the digital economy, hypergrowth, innovation, creativity, and creating environments where people can do things differently will scale. That will require a new leadership playbook.
The digital economy
A digital economy requires a complete change in the skill sets that people have. So we need to create long runways in our organizations to do that without leaving anyone behind.
In today’s digital economy, people and organizations need to be as intelligent ...
The Future of Work Part One | Ep. 138
Welcome to the first part of an exciting two-part series on the future of work. Sima is happy to have Kelly Monahan, the Global Lead Talent Researcher/ Principle Director at Accenture, joining her as the guest for the series.
Research on the future of work
Accenture took an in-depth look at the future of work. They wanted to understand what people need and feel today. So they went out and looked at more than 9300 global workers across ten different industries and ten different countries to represent a global workforce.
They had within their data set 70% workers and 30% leadership. So they could make some comparisons. They found that most people, workers and leaders alike, had similar sentiments.
They wanted to predict what was causing people to feel a certain way or make them want to go back on site.
How people are feeling about work
Some people were optimistic and energized, but the majority were somewhere in the middle and or negative.
A third of the people felt disgruntled. When thinking about the future of work, they were pessimistic, tired, and burned out. They experienced micro-aggressions and felt fatigued.
Going through the motions
About 30% of people said that they were simply going through the motions of life. They were feeling neither negative nor positive. They were unsure and waiting to see how the leadership would make their key decisions about people returning to work before making a true sentiment on how they feel.
About 42% are thriving, optimistic, and energized.
Researchers want to know what is going on underneath to cause those differences in sentiment.
When looking at mental health scores, Accenture looks at a concept called Life Enhancement which is about whether your work is adding to your life or taking away from it.
Net Better Off
Net Better Off is a concept that determines whether or not your job is leaving you better off than most other humans in terms of dignity and money in your pocket.
From a generational perspective, they saw a statistically significant difference with the young people. Gen-Z is struggling the most with mental health, and they tend to be more pessimistic about their future than the other generations. Gen-Xers are also struggling with their mental health, and like Gen-Zers, are unsure about the concepts of Life Enhancement and Net Better Off.
Baby Boomers, however, tend to be pretty optimistic and have adapted well to the new world of work.
Millennials are still fairly optimistic about work and their ability to create change and adapt to the hybrid world.
The key moments in people’s lives tend to impact their expectations and the way they view work.
Gen-Zers tend to be hungry for social connections. They feel a need to leave their parental home, grow up, learn to understand things and be mentored. They need in-person interaction to do that.
The physical world of work
Both millennials and Gen-Z are looking to experience the physical world of work.
Work as an experience Gen-Zers tend to view work as an experience, not just a transactional operation to support life. They want their work to contribute to their life. They tend to view their work and personal identities as one thing, rather than having separate professional and personal identities. So they want to see the companies they work for representing their personal values and ethics.
There has been a profound shift with C-suite leaders.
Empathy and Innovation in Measuring Advertising Spend | Ep. 137
Welcome to another exciting episode of the Data Gurus podcast! Today, Sima is happy to have Josh Chasin, the Chief Measurability Officer of Videoamp, as her guest for the show.
Josh’s career journey
Josh is an audience measurement professional in the world of market research. He has specialized in both media research and audience measurement and has always viewed his career as living at the place where research and marketing overlap. His first job was as a number-cruncher at Arbitron while he was still in college. He then moved on to a full-time job in Arbitron’s Statistical Services department. He was also studying marketing and doing an MBA, which enabled him to get a job as Arbitron’s Manager of Market Development.
Learning from the best
Josh spent his first seven years at Arbitron gaining a solid grounding and learning sample design from some of the best people in the business. Then he spent another seven years working for their advertiser agency group in marketing, positioning their services to the buy-side users. For his last three years at Arbitron, Josh was their VP of Marketing for new ventures. That was at the time when the internet was emerging.
After leaving Arbitron
After leaving Arbitron, Josh spent a few years as an entrepreneur and then became President at Simmons for a short time.
A consulting practice
In the early 2000s, Josh owned a consulting practice for about seven years.
Comscore was one of Josh’s consulting clients. He later became their Chief Research Officer and spent the next thirteen years doing that.
After leaving Comscore, Josh joined Videoamp. Videoamp lives in the ad tech ecosystem. Founded in 2014, it has become known primarily as a DSP (Demand Side Platform) that helps buy-side agencies plan, buy, execute, optimize, and measure the performance of their buys. Videoamp has recently expanded into the measurement space.
Measurement is at the core of everything happening in advertising.
The next generation of cross-platform measurement
One of the things that led Josh to Videoamp was that he liked their vision for doing the next generation of cross-platform measurement and wanted to help.
The dream of advertisers is to know on an impression-by-impression basis where an impression was delivered and how it contributed to the performance of their campaign.
The goal of advertising
The goal of advertising is to shift from a mass-broadcast game to a granular one-to-one game where advertisers will know precisely where impressions are going and how they are working.
One of the difficulties that Videoamp faces in media advertising is that heavy viewers tend to consume a disproportionate share of impressions. Their challenge is to distribute impressions to those who do not have their eyes on their screens as often.
Reaching consumers on different screens
Viewers have different tolerance levels for ad loads in streaming content versus ad loads in traditional linear content. So advertisers need to figure out how to get impressions in front of people in different places. One of the things that cross-platform enables is ways to reach consumers on different screens.
The ad spend for Facebook and Google
Currently, Facebook and Google account for between 65 and 70% of the total digital ad spend in the US. So they know everything there is to know about how the advertising is working on their platforms. However, advertisers want to understand their advertising campaigns across the platform and holistically. So it is not enough to know only about everything is that is happening inside Facebook or Google. Advertisers want to shift advertising amongst Facebook, Google,
Considerations for Selling Your Company | Ep. 136
Welcome to another exciting episode of the Data Gurus podcast! Today’s episode is a little different. Sima will be focusing on people, or founders, who are considering selling their company. In today’s episode, Sima hosts John Sipala, one of her colleagues at Oberon Securities. John is a Managing Director at Oberon Securities and has more than 25 years of experience in investment banking.
The market right now
Private equity firms want to be in the market and are looking for companies, so there is a lot of dry powder in the market right now. Many tech companies are performing very well coming out of Covid.
Selling is not simple
When the market is very active, people start thinking about selling. When talking to the founders of companies, John initially asks them why they want to sell and why they want to sell now. That tells him whether they have thought things through, whether they truly want to sell, and if they need to raise capital. Often, the founders don’t understand that selling will require them to go through several in-between steps.
Common themes for people wanting to sell
Some people want to sell their company when they feel they have brought it as far as possible. Other owners need to bring in more capital, and some are simply tired and feel ready to move onto something else.
Business partners should engage in a dialogue before they decide to sell, which will help them understand what others want to do and ensure they are all in lockstep when they eventually do the transaction.
A personal involvement
When John does a deal, he gets personally invested and it’s not just a transaction for him. He makes sure that he is aligned with the seller’s expectations and there is a high level of success associated with the transaction.
The role and value of an investment banker
Selling a company involves complex transactions that are often very different from any the founders have experienced before. The transactions are multifaceted, and there are many things, even beyond evaluations, that could affect them. The role of the investment banker is to ensure that all the transactions get done in the right way, from beginning to end.
Before selling, consider the culture of the buyer, what their intentions are for the business, and what your role will be after the sale.
The market is important, but it is not the only driving factor. The timing of the market should not be your primary reason for selling. You have to understand the external part of the market before bringing a deal forward.
Having a strategy for what you want to do and how you intend to go about doing it will add a lot of value to your company when it goes to market.
Avoid making changes to your business when it goes to market. Buyers want things to be going as they are supposed to go.
Some high-level things founders should think about when selling:
1. The transition period will be at least six months or even a year.
2. Most buyers like the founders to stay on for longer than the transaction period. It could take as long as two years, so make sure that the role you have during the transaction is the role you want.
3. If you opt for an earn-out, try to keep it short and make sure that you run the business during that time.
Roll-over of equity
Buying a business with a roll-over of equity is the best way to align the interests of the management with the buyer because if the business performs, everyone benefits. The sellers also benefit because they can get another turn to profit as the business grows.
A typical transaction
From start to finish, a typical transaction takes between eight months and a year.
I love how this podcast is focused on all the right things
A data-intensive podcast that focuses squarely on business - that’s a rare find! The guests are absolutely fascinating, I might add. Thanks for this valuable contribution to the world, Sima!
Awesome show, highly recommend!
Sima and her guests provide some incredibly actionable and compelling content, spotlighting the latest data trends that will help improve your business and / or life.
Highly recommend listening and subscribing to Data Gurus if you want the knowledge AND mindsets to take you and your business to the next level (and reach your overall goals as a result)!
Sima is a practitioner who knows the research and analytics industry. She brings a great perspective to the show and is bringing in great guests to complement her knowledge. Great job, Sima!