Caroline Worboys is a data expert, investor, advisor, COO at Outra & Vice Chair at DMA Group. She has been working in the data industry for over 30 years. In this time, she’s had a fascinating journey. She has worked, created, mentored and consulted through many data driven organisations. She’s played all the different roles: technical lead, a business lead, a founder and investor.
While Caroline doesn’t describe herself as a data scientist and didn’t go to university, she has always worked with data and has a wealth of experience. She started in the field by working with consumer data for direct marketing and progressed to the point where she founded and sold several successful data related start-ups. Currently, she is the founder and COO of Outra.
In this episode, we talk about what it was like being a woman in technology in the 80’s, how the use of data has progressed over the years and how she keeps her team focused on the goal of doing things faster than other companies.
We speak about:
How Caroline got started in data (03:02)
What she learnt from observing senior colleagues and what it was like being a woman in technology in the 80s (05:38)
Using customer data in order to target people at the right time (07:46)
The principles of working with consumer data hasn’t changed (10:04)
How the care and attention required for direct mail has now been lost with email and digital marketing (11:09)
The importance of being curious and learning (12:31)
Starting her own business and finding a different way to charge customers (13:46)
Advice for young people and why it’s important to seek people for advice (21:34)
Personal drivers to start her business (23:35)
How her business innovated as technology changed (25:10)
The challenge of using data to actually solve problems (30:29)
Considerations when choosing her team (35:48)
The recruitment process is like for Caroline’s company (39:00)
How Caroline keeps her team focused on the goal of doing things faster than other companies (41:40)
The difficulties of work/ life balance (44:16)
Considerations for being a leader in the data space (47:03)
The importance of thinking about the type of data you want to work with (51:43)
“Seek out people who have really, honestly read the book and seen the movie and been there. Because they can stop you from going down a whole bunch of dead ends.”
“You can’t scale and have thousands of relationships with thousands of people. But you can create a culture, and processes below that culture, that are scalable.”
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