203 episodes

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.

Data Gurus Sima Vasa

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 44 Ratings

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.

    Low Code – Data Pipelines | Ep. 203

    Low Code – Data Pipelines | Ep. 203

    Sima is delighted to talk with Gordon Allott today! Gordon is the President and CEO of BroadPeak Partners LLC, the company that developed the K3 software.

    Today's discussion takes a slightly different turn as we introduce Gordon, who is working on various aspects of data. The work done at BroadPeak brings a fresh perspective on the use of data in today's digital age. So, join us as we delve into Gordon's journey and learn about BroadPeak's unique approach to data integration and analysis!

    Gordon's bio

    Gordon Allott is the president and CEO of BroadPeak Partners, developer of the K3. K3 is software that takes data from anywhere, allows users to transform, filter, and unify through an intuitive UI, and send it anywhere. Before founding BroadPeak, Gordon was a consultant and attorney in the financial sector. That included advising a wide variety of bulge-bracket banks and hedge funds on derivatives trading. Gordon led the energy trading and risk groups for Sapient, delivering trading projects for Duke, Constellation, JPMorgan, Chevron, and others. Prior to Sapient, he was part of a startup (KWI), leading the USA as VP of Business Development and VP then Asia Pac (now Alstom). Gordon practiced as a derivatives attorney, has a JD from the University of Denver, and a BA from Drake University.

    About BroadPeak

    BroadPeak is a data integration consultancy that started in 2007. They specialize in extracting data from different systems, merging and blending data, and creating data pipelines. In 2013-2014, they created a data pipeline platform called K3, which allows employees to use a low-code approach to create connections to various data sources, merge, blend, and clean the data to make it analytically ready. K3 is now commercially available and used by 70 Fortune 500 companies. 

    BroadPeak’s area of focus

    Broadpeak focuses on helping large corporations extract data from old and painful systems to make it meaningful. They are continuing to move forward in the new data era.

    Their primary target

    Their primary target is operational people with real operational goals and the need to get things done for the enterprise. They offer low-code tools that democratize the data integration process enabling non-coders to connect to APIs and extract data from different systems.

    BroadPeak has a secret value proposition

    BroadPeak aims to solve the problem of IT teams building their own tools by putting the power in the hands of the people who need it most. They offer a solution through their K3 data pipeline platform, which allows companies to extract data without needing a developer. The platform is a secret value proposition for Broadpeak, as they aim to enable businesses to extract data quickly and efficiently without relying on IT teams.

    Examples of the various dimensions of work being done at BroadPeak

    One example is creating daily or hourly P&L reports, with explanations of changes, instead of waiting until the end of the month. Another example is marrying two sets or three sets of data together, which often runs into data quality issues. Their goal is to create an analytical or data control framework that can handle unknown challenges, such as cleaning up data or stitching it together.

    BroadPeak helps customers assess their challenges

    Gordon believes that many companies want to sell software without providing any ongoing support to achieve business outcomes. However, the pressure is on for teams to get answers quickly, and delays can result in missed opportunities. BroadPeak helps its customers assess their challenges and develop viable solutions ...

    • 19 min
    Real Time Operational Intelligence | Ep. 202

    Real Time Operational Intelligence | Ep. 202

    Sima is happy to have Venkat Venkataramani joining her for today's episode of Data Gurus! Venkat is the CEO and Co-founder of Rockset. 

    Venkat shares his background, dives into the benefits of real-time data analytics and cloud-based infrastructure, and discusses the interesting work they are doing at Rockset.


    Venkat Venkataramani is CEO and Co-founder of Rockset. In his role, Venkat helps organizations build, grow, and compete with data by making real-time analytics accessible to developers and data teams everywhere. Before he founded Rockset, he was an Engineering Director for the Facebook infrastructure team managing online data services for 1.5 billion users. These systems scaled 1000x during his eight years at Facebook, serving five billion queries per second at single-digit millisecond latency and five 9s of reliability. Before joining Facebook, Venkat worked on tools to make the Oracle database easier to manage.

    Venkat’s background

    Before he founded Rockset, Venkat managed online data infrastructure for Facebook between 2007 and 2015. He was fortunate to work with some amazing people and learned a lot from them. His team was responsible for building, scaling, and maintaining a set of services on which Facebook’s online products had been built. When he started, Facebook had around thirty or forty million monthly active users, and when he left, there were about a billion-and-a-half active users. 

    What makes Venkat the proudest

    What Venkat feels proudest of, having been part of the Facebook online data infrastructure, are all their product launches, and their transition from web to mobile. 

    Facebook’s Like button

    The load and demand on Facebook's data infrastructure were completely different before and after the installation of the Like button. So they had to keep on innovating and pushing the envelope.

    The Facebook Newsfeed

    Most people are surprised to hear that before 2008, the Facebook Newsfeed only got updated once a day!

    How real-time data has transformed business

    Real-time data allows people to know what is happening in the present moment. Before the advent of real-time data, strategic decisions were all intuition or experience-based rather than data-driven, and that caused many problems. 

    Facebook’s shift to real-time data

    During the eight years Venkat spent with Facebook, he saw the shift to real-time data happening across every aspect of the back end of Facebook.

    The benefits of the cloud

    The cloud allows everyone to have accessibility without having any specific kind of software or infrastructure within an organization. That enables every company to be a potential client. 

    Rockset’s orientation

    Rockset’s orientation is cloud, whereas other companies are still transitioning and moving toward the cloud.

    The benefits of cloud-only infrastructure

    Cloud-only infrastructure allows businesses to access fast and fresh real-time data analytics. The storage separation of the cloud makes it possible to build massively scalable and very efficient real-time databases and platforms that can be easily and cost-effectively scaled up or down, depending on the demand.

    About Rockset

    Rockset is cloud-only, so it requires neither downloads nor installation. All their customers have to do is create an account and explain where their data sources are, and Rockset will automatically transform their data into fast s...

    • 29 min
    To Be or Not to Be Disrupted with Henry Hays | Ep. 201

    To Be or Not to Be Disrupted with Henry Hays | Ep. 201

    Sima is delighted to have Henry Hays joining her on the podcast today! Henry is the energetic and inspiring Co-founder and Disruptor at Henry Hays Consulting.

    In this episode of Data Gurus, Henry dives into the concept of disruptive innovation.


    Henry spent most of his adult life in sales and sales leadership- mainly in pharmaceuticals and biotech. He started in the late 1990s and had the good fortune to get promoted to several different roles where he gained a good sense of the business. His break came when he was recruited away from a comfortable job by his professional mentor, and he literally said “yes” before even learning what he was supposed to sell! Within five years, they had grown the company (Avanir Pharmaceuticals) to the point where it was acquired. That gave Henry resources and choice, so he chose that point to step away from the hamster wheel pace. It happened at the time when the first few Blockbuster Video stores began closing, which was crazy for Henry. So he dove head-first into disruptive innovation and has remained in that space since then.

    Henry’s background

    Henry describes himself as a lifelong sales guy. He has always been extroverted, so he loves interacting with others. After spending 22 years in the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, he had the opportunity in 2008 to help start a company in the Southern California area. After running the company for almost five years, it got purchased. Soon after, Henry’s intellectual curiosity led him to find Clayton Christiansen, the Harvard teacher who came up with the concept of disruptive innovation. Henry was fascinated with Christiansen’s ideas and decided to dedicate a good portion of his time to evangelizing about disruptive innovation. 

    Tremendous opportunity

    Society has been experiencing some radical shifts lately. As a result, disruptive innovation has taken on a different and more urgent tone, which provides a tremendous opportunity for business owners.

    Disrupting businesses

    Henry believes that if people are not disrupting their own businesses, someone else will do it for them. He feels that disruption is much easier for smaller businesses because they are more agile and less challenging to transform.

    A moment of doubt

    It is not unusual for disruptors to experience a moment of doubt and wonder if they have done the right thing. 

    Processing innovation and change 

    Henry has found that the further we get from our years of schooling, the harder it becomes for us to process new things that do not work for us immediately. Now, when he does not want to opt for some change, he seeks to understand the forces driving the change, why it is happening, who stands to lose, and when. That helps him detach from the emotion of the situation and look at it objectively.

    Disrupt Ready 

    Henry and two other partners recently started a company called Disrupt Ready. They provide simple, face-to-face technical education for legacy executives on how the blockchain works and help them facilitate a connection to the third-party tech players that match what they want. They designed Disrupt Ready with adult principles in mind.

    The Disruption Innovation Index

    Henry and his partners at Disrupt Connect came up with what they have called the Disruptive Innovation Index to help executives by giving them a sense of where they are as a company and as an individual.


    Email me your thoughts


    • 24 min
    Tastewise | Ep. 200

    Tastewise | Ep. 200

    Alon Chen, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Tastewise, joins Sima today to share his career journey and dive into what they are doing at Tastewise.


    Alon Chen is a Co-Founder and serves as Chief Executive Officer at Tastewise. He is the developer of an artificial intelligence-based food intelligence platform designed to assist food and beverage businesses and brands. The company's platform works with food brands, manufacturers, ingredient companies, and flavor houses, including Nestlé, PepsiCo, Givaudan, Campbell's, and Kraft Heinz, to enhance new product development, build marketing strategies, and accelerate sales in retail and restaurants, enabling restaurants, hospitality groups, and food brands to make smarter decisions for a healthy, sustainable, and delicious future.

    Alon’s journey

    Alon was born and raised in Israel. He started his first business at fifteen, building and selling computers. His first real job was at Google, looking after the search quality for Hebrew and then working with their marketing team. He was the Founder of Google Partners, the Google partner program for their advertising business. He soon realized he loved working with technology and facing business and marketing challenges. So that is what he does today with Tastewise.


    Alon can program, develop code, and write code. But he prefers working with people.


    Alon is passionate about technology! Current developments with AI keep him awake all night long, thinking of ways to use AI to improve the food system.

    What is Tastewise?

    Alon founded Tastewise in 2018. It is an enterprise solution to help the world’s largest food brands digitize and transform their slow and tedious methods of understanding consumers and their consumption preferences and become more efficient with their product innovation lines. So Tastewise is essentially a data platform that collects data points from every single food delivery app and recipe app across the web to allow organizations to find out what consumers eat and drink, to help them move their new product launches from a 90% failure rate to a 100% success rate.

    Alon’s idea for Tastewise

    Alon’s idea for Tastewise started with his family members sending messages to his mom each week on their family Whatsapp group, telling her about their constantly-changing dietary preferences for their Shabbat dinners on Friday nights so that she did not have to prepare dishes no one would eat. He realized that the same thing was happening in the food industry too, with people’s diets changing constantly. The food industry is slow to adapt and change, so he saw a great business opportunity to help brands understand the trends related to consumers’ constantly changing food preferences and get to know which dishes consumers are making with the products they buy.

    The most difficult part

    The most difficult part of Alon’s work is applying artificial intelligence to the subtle nuances of a given situation to get to know what consumers actually want.

    The technology

    One part of Tastewise’s technology involves collecting vast amounts of data. Another is making sense of all the data. The last part is visualizing and conveying the findings to users and helping organizations move in the right direction. 

    The biggest challenge

    The biggest challenge to getting more acceptance, acceleration, and use of their new methodology has been explaining to end users why their data set is the right one.


    • 25 min
    Measuring the QUALITY of Involvement and Impression of Content| Ep. 199

    Measuring the QUALITY of Involvement and Impression of Content| Ep. 199

    Today, Pedro Almeida, the CEO and Co-founder of MindProber, joins Sima on the podcast to share his background and discuss the innovative work they are doing at MindProber. 

    Pedro’s background

    Pedro studied social psychology with a strong emphasis on market research. As an undergrad, he worked as a research assistant at a small cognitive neuroscience lab and he later did an internship in social psychology. After graduating, he became a market research consultant while also pursuing his research on electrophysiology. His field of interest was effective processes, emotion, and populations with emotional impairment. Pedro did his Master’s in experimental social psychology. He has always combined his two passions of applied psychology on the one hand and the business side of things on the other.

    Social psychology

    Social psychology is an experimental field. It looks at social cognition and processes, and how people make social inferences and process social information. That sometimes has to do with social identity- with how people build their social identity and interact with the social identity of others. Social psychology also provides a toolkit for those who want to go into market research and understand data. 

    Cognitive neuroscience

    Cognitive neuroscience is a field that looks at the neurobiological implementation of cognitive processes. In other words, what happens in the brain when we think. Even though people tend to make a distinction between cold cognition and hot emotion, all of those processes are still mental processes.


    Pedro and his business partner founded MindProber with the idea of taking the principles of consumer neuroscience (also known as neuromarketing) and applying them in business settings to understand whether or not certain messages were effective. They took the opportunity to start a consumer neuroscience company in Portugal back in 2010-2011 because there were none there at the time.

    Scaling consumer neuroscience

    There were hurdles to overcome because consumer neuroscience studies were expensive and non-scalable. So Pedro began thinking of ways to scale consumer neuroscience and make it faster and more agile. 

    Getting more input

    In 2012- 2013, Pedro came up with the idea of taking consumer neuroscience out of the lab and making it remote to make it more agile. He and his partner also started thinking of ways to get more physiological and behavioral input from people while they were on the floor, and came up with the idea of building a platform to allow them to get and distribute data, and centralize and synchronize it with something. Pedro was fortunate to know someone who could build a sensor to capture people’s physical responses while they were in their homes.

    The platform

    The MindProber platform has crystalized into becoming a way to access electro-dermal activity in scale, collected from whatever people get exposed to in their homes.

    The data

    The data provided by the MindProber platform gives an objective, quantifiable, and valuable metric for understanding the quality of the impressions people are getting exposed to, and also the quality of people’s involvement with that content.

    The sensor

    MindProber rewards people for wearing a sensor while they watch television. The sensor is a small device that gets held in the hand while watching something, and people sometimes even forget that they are holding it. Sports tend to produce the highest emotional responses.


    • 24 min
    Let’s Go! | Ep. 198

    Let’s Go! | Ep. 198

    Reed Cundiff, the newly-appointed CEO of Sago (formerly the Schlesinger Group), joins Sima to talk about how he got to where he is in his career and the exciting journey ahead of him.

    Reed’s story

    Reed cut his teeth as a marketing analyst. He spent about ten years tracking the enterprise resource planning industry and then moved to Microsoft, where he ran global insights for almost twelve years. After that, he had the opportunity at Kantar to head an integrated team that initially ran the North American business and later all of the Americas. 

    Becoming the CEO of Sago

    After managing the insights team at Kantar for a long time, learning a lot, and going through multiple business cycles, Reed jumped at the opportunity of becoming CEO of the Schlesinger Group, now known as Sago. 

    What attracted Reed to Schlesinger?

    Three things attracted Reed to the idea of running Schlesinger. The first was that he felt there was a lot he could learn from his role as a stand-alone CEO and from looking at the industry from a different angle. He liked the family-oriented culture of the business and was also fascinated with the opportunities that a business with that much breadth could offer.

    A challenge

    Ramping up on understanding what a complex business is was challenging for Reed. The macroeconomic headwinds in the market also made it hard for him to go in as a CEO in mid-November of 2022 and help his clients be as proactive as possible. Fortunately, Steve Schlesinger, the former CEO, did a great job of staying connected to the business and educating Reed rapidly while also giving him the space to step into the opportunity of his new role.

    Finding balance

    On an ideal day, Reed strives to balance three things: 

    Engaging internally and ensuring his teams have whatever they need to be successful and operate at peak performance. 

    Engaging with clients and ensuring he does not lose touch with any of them.

    Making sure he has the time to do his work and fit in some exercise.

    The changing landscape

    Reed finds this an exciting time to be an insights professional! He has found it interesting to see how technology has transformed how people do their work. He believes that the digital transformation of the industry will change the way the industry evolves. He feels that the volume and variety of raw materials that insights professionals take into their work will expand to include financial data, behavioral data, cultural data, location data, and more. So essentially, the raw materials and organizations are changing, and Reed hopes the way insights get delivered is also changing.

    Data science versus market research

    Reed neither favors data science over market research, nor vice versa, because he feels they are both needed to gain momentum in the market.

    Diversity, equity, and inclusion

    Reed feels that the industry, as a whole, is not yet where it needs to be in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion. So the entire industry should commit to improving every day. What he intends to do at Sago is begin promoting from within and proactively ensuring that they have as diverse an applicant pool as possible. He also wants to support his employee research groups and make sure they facilitate open dialogues around gender equality, social inclusivity, mental health awareness, and other topics to ensure that all their employees can show up for work every day without being distracted.

    • 33 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
44 Ratings

44 Ratings

ninja steth jelly 7655 ,

I highly recommend this Podcast

Sima brings a wealth of knowledge to her listeners. Her guidance is insightful and actionable.

obacker19 ,

Entertaining, insightful and actionable! 🙌

Whether you’re well established as a data innovator, or just getting started carving out your niche - this is a must-listen podcast for you! Sima does an incredible job leading conversations that cover a huge breadth of topics related to the ins and outs of navigating our shifting technological landscape - with leaders who’ve actually experienced success themselves. Highly recommend listening and subscribing!

Hhrbsjdjdkebbhbv ,

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!

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