Leading from the Back: Data Science at a UX-driven Business

Friday, May 9, 2014 - 12:30 pm

MailChimp sends 8 billion email newsletters for over 5 million customers each month, and from those sends comes a mountain of clicks, opens, purchases, and other transactional data. But MailChimp’s success wasn’t built on data. It was built on a user experience that placed an intuitive and friendly interface on email marketing and removed much of the busy work. So how does a company whose business is not data, use its massive data set? Too often the examples of data science are given by companies whose business is data, like Google and Facebook. John Foreman, author of  Data Smart  and chief scientist for MailChimp, will discuss what it means to “lead from the back” in data science, even if that sometimes means breaking out a spreadsheet in favor of Hadoop from time to time.

Chief Data Scientist

John Foreman is the chief data scientist for MailChimp.com. He’s also a recovering management consultant who’s done a lot of analytics work for large businesses (Coke, Royal Caribbean, Intercontinental Hotels) and the government. 

These days Foreman does all sorts of awesome data science for MailChimp and blogs for fun about analytics through narrative fiction at Analytics Made Skeezy. Spoiler alert: the characters who do meth are frequently confused or in peril. Foreman does not do meth.

Foreman’s book on data science, Data Smart: Using Data Science to Transform Information into Insight, is now out from Wiley. Subscribe to Foreman’s email list for updates and book tour information.