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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

5 Minutes with a CEO: Ricardo Porteus of

What's it like to be the CEO of a company that runs on analytics?

What does it take to be the CEO of a company that strives to make the most of available analytics? What analytics does a social Web platform use, and what's been the biggest success of these analytics? What technology and trends are essential?

For answers, we turned to Ricardo Porteus of, a talent-discovery platform based in London. Porteus was also CTO of Pacha Group.

About the Job of CEO

Upside: What is the one thing you wish people knew about your job?

Ricardo Porteus: The sheer weight of having to build, manage, and run a start-up is extremely daunting. It really isn't an overnight success; it's a 10-year commitment to break through and become stable.

Is there a piece of advice you wish someone had told you when you first became a CEO?

Study human psychology because it's just as important as having a great product and marketing experience. Truly understanding human dynamics is the key to getting the best out of people and helping everyone grow as a collective.

What's one thing you think some leaders do wrong when managing analysts?

They manage it themselves or oversee it themselves. The reality is that a leader should lead. Micromanaging growth or analytics experts is a waste of time. They are professionals in their own right and should be treated as such.

What personality trait do you think CEOs need to succeed?

Absolute, undivided, unfaltering belief in their vision.

About Your Work

What is your favorite tool or technique that has made your job easier? has revolutionized our engagement, support, tech, knowledge, and growth plans for our business. It has minimized our development cost by delivering the most incredible suite of onboarding tools the market has ever seen.

Whether it's the latest smartphone or a real-time stock ticker, what's the one thing you can't do your job without?

The iPhone7 and WhatsApp. I can't even comprehend how we managed before that most beautiful combination.

What's the most common roadblock you hit in your work? How do you deal with it?

Funding! It's a love/hate relationship, a roller coaster of terror and euphoria in equal doses! I treat it these days as part of the business. Sometimes you win, more often you lose, but it's never a failure -- just another part of your education.

Using Analytics in Your Work

How are you, personally, using analytics in your day-to-day decisions?

We use the Web analysis service Hotjar alongside standard Web analytics such as bounce rate. With these two tools, you can work out why you have high churn or low returning visitors, and this leads to a more solid, tangible view of how you are performing. You can dump half of Google's analytics and concentrate on these factors to increase your site performance, drop your churn rate, and, of course, increase revenue and customer satisfaction.

The findings from this analysis are translated into our brainstorming sessions, and on a biweekly basis we create our next development sprints from these. Pushing forward, iterating, refining, testing and growing. To us, it's the law of growth and retention.

What form of analytics do you use to make sense of all your data (for example, daily reports, real-time dashboards, exception alerts)? Do you have any secrets you'd like to share about extracting the greatest value from your data?

We use Geckoboard. I'm a designer originally and their charts and minimalistic approach always work for me. Seeing the multiscreen daily makes your platform come to life. It's living and breathing in real time.

What data do you look at every day? Every week?

Once daily for new-user growth, weekly for global changes.

Is your organization using analytics every way it can? Are there other decisions you'd like to see analytics used for?

We use the analytics I mentioned previously, but when we hit the two million user mark, we will drill down on so many levels, I can't even comprehend how many Geckoboard screens we will be running at that point!

What one thing do you wish your organization could analyze better (and why)?

People's emotions. It's great when you are face to face to see the smile and reactions once a user sees their live webspace. If we could somehow capture that magic it would be a truly special thing!

What's the most significant outcome you've seen come from analyzing data?

I'd say it's a 100 percent user-growth increase in one month -- driven purely by understanding Hotjar and Google Analytics results combined.

If you had unlimited resources, what would your data analytics wish list look like? Are there new technologies you want to try? Would you want to hire a data science team?

When we close our Series A funding, we intend to hire a full data science team. It is literally our number-one priority.

Where is data analytics/data science headed in the next few years within your organization? Within the world at large?

I think analytics has become as important as your internal marketing team. Even small enterprises will soon be opening new data departments. Making this a core part of your brand's approach will certainly make a huge competitive difference over the next few years.

Once location services, ibeacons, and AI really enter the market to every single consumer, physical or virtual, data science teams will explode in small and large enterprises alike. Without a doubt, it will be the next big thing on any HR department's to-do list!

About the Author

James E. Powell is the editorial director of TDWI, including research reports, the Business Intelligence Journal, and Upside newsletter. You can contact him via email here.

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