Data science is not really a science anymore

This is the tenth in a series of interviews with members of the Machine Commons supplier Collective. Subscribe to the site to be alerted about future posts, or become a partner today!

Jan Matousek runs Data Mind, a marketing technology and machine learning provider in the Czech Republic, a "citizen data scientist" who likes to connect the dots for his clients. They build full data pipelines for marketing departments.

How has business been throughout the pandemic?

“Beginning of the year was dead – we had a really hard slowdown in the first half of 2020 – but at the end there was a massive rush – so many people wanted projects!”

“In terms of data business, we’re doing quite well, unlike some other industries like clothing or food. There’s no reason to complain. Many companies are going digital and increasing their dependency on analytics, so they can react quickly to changing business requirements.”

Has anything changed for you as a business as a result of the pandemic?

“We work remotely as forced by law, so in the office there are usually 1-3 people instead of 10.”

“Even meetings with clients are 90% remote. Some still want to meet, some are traditional! Most people just get online. That’s a pretty different discipline."

"It takes different skills and there are technical problems all the time. Connections and kids. Not everyone has a strong enough connection.”

“There are different meeting manners, a different setup. I have to first check the connectivity and sound, instead of checking my clothes!”

“I’m alone in my office a with no influences or noise, but I know many people who WFH and its more complicated.”

Let’s take a step back. Tell me what you do.

“We’ve delivered many solutions – we’re like jack of all trades in marketing. We provide next best offer, segmentation, replenishment models, planning of orders and delivery.”

“One part is data integration and the other part is more planning.”

Jack of all trades in marketing, but a master of data. What drove you to start a business?

“I founded Datamind in 2009, coming from a large telco company – I didn’t really like the corporate culture. I like to do things on my own. I didn’t really have the intention of starting a business, but in responding to tenders/pitches we were required to be a company.”

“The goal was never to earn a billion, but more to do fun things or things that make sense for the client.”

“I don’t want to just hire people and charge clients for employee time, I want to be on the actual projects. This way I get to work on better projects!”

Has your business evolved much since you started it in 2009?

“We used to work mainly on customer value, propensity to buy, that sort of thing. Now we deliver fully integrated solutions as opposed to isolated models. We are developing the whole pipeline for clients that can afford it.”

“It makes much more sense to deliver the whole data pipeline and this evolved a lot of the services we provide. Now we work right through from demand prediction, to stock planning and manufacturing planning.”

“We also do the reporting now – we’re like guides to show the way for data science.”

Interesting, so you’re an outsourced data science business unit for the marketing department. What do you mean by reporting – just marketing metrics?

“It’s called business intelligence these days. Graphs and numbers. We provide an intelligence summary of the entire business for senior executives.”

Working on anything interesting?