About Me

Recently, I joined Cloudera, where I serve as the Director of Product Marketing for Data Science.  The views expressed in this blog are my own.

Previously, as an independent consultant, I provided machine learning market insight to private clients seeking intelligence about the machine learning marketplace.

Before launching my consultancy in 2015, I served as an analytics expert for The Boston Consulting Group; Director of Product Management for Revolution Analytics (Microsoft); Solution Architect for IBM Big Data (Netezza), SAS and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. In a thirty-year career, I have led or contributed to analytic solutions for more than five hundred clients across vertical markets and around the world. My client experience includes working with companies such as:

  • Aegon
  • AT&T (Capital, Universal Card)
  • Banco Santander (Brazil, Chile, Mexico, USA)
  • Bank Hapoalim (Israel)
  • Barnes and Noble
  • Citibank (USA, Puerto Rico, Belgium, Singapore and Malaysia
  • CVS
  • Dell
  • GE Capital
  • J.C.Penney
  • J.P. Morgan Chase
  • Monsanto
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Office Depot
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Sony
  • Sprint
  • Staples
  • United Health Group
  • UBS
  • Vodafone (Italy)
  • Yapi Credi Bank (Turkey)

My book, Disruptive Analytics, published in 2016 by Apress, is available on Amazon.  Previously, I co-authored Modern Analytics Methodologies and Advanced Analytics Methodologies for FT Press and served as a reviewer for the Spark Cookbook.

15 comments

  • 30% of your assertions about SAS VA are Bullshit as defined by Harry Frankfurt, author of the all-time best selling Philosophical Treatise, On Bullshit: http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7929.html

  • Hi Thomas- I really enjoyed discovering your blog and the insights. The beauty of the internet…I can reach out and attempt to establish a connection with you. We have built a suite of applications we call Augmented Intelligence, utilizing Agent Based Modelling and I was wondering how I would go about having a 15 minute conversation with you?
    Cheers
    Steve

  • I enjoyed reading your Feb 8 blog post. For those of us who are not accountants, can you explain (and perhaps give an example or two) of “operating” vs. “non-operating” revenue in the context of your analysis of SAS Institute’s latest earnings/revenue release? Thanks in advance…

    • Andrew,

      Thanks for reading!

      Operating revenue includes net revenue from the primary operations of the business. For SAS, that includes software licensing, consulting fees, training fees, sales of publications and so forth. Accountants deem revenue to be “non-operating” if it is non-recurring, or outside of the the ordinary operations of the business. This would include such things as proceeds from land sales and dispositions of surplus furniture, but can also include such things as currency hedging or revenue from operations to be discontinued. In many cases, non-operating revenue increases total revenue, but if SAS incurred a net loss on currency hedging non-operating revenue could be negative.

      As a private company, SAS is under no obligation to disclose any revenue figures, and is under no obligation to use Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) when it measures revenue.

      There are many possible reasons why SAS used the term “operating revenue” in the press release this year but not in prior years:

      (1) SAS has always reported operating revenue, but previous press releases failed to label the measure accurately.
      (2) SAS has never previously had non-operating revenue
      (3) SAS’ non-operating revenue is positive, but SAS believes that operating revenue is a better metric to disclose
      (4) SAS’ non-operating revenue is negative, making total revenue lower than last year, and SAS does not want to disclose this.

      Take your pick.

      Regards,

      Thomas

      • Thanks for the detailed and informative reply. Yes, I understand that as a privately held company SAS Institute’s accounting methods and financial reporting requirements are not the same as those expected of publicly-held companies, which of course gives SAS a lot more leeway to report (or not) their financial performance in basically in whatever way they want to.

        It’s possible that SAS Institute has non-operating revenue if they sell a building or some other assets they no longer need (e.g., the office furniture inside the sold building or old shuttle buses they no longer use on the SAS Campus in Cary), but I am guessing that’s a small fraction of their total revenue and that it fluctuates greatly from year to year. Your “four explanations” are also possible, and I’d offer a fifth: that was just the term the PR-meisters chose to use this year when writing the press release.

        Thanks again.
        Andrew

      • Doubtful the PR folks would hedge with the word “operating” for no reason.

        Regards,

        Thomas

  • Hi Matt,

    The reason for this note is to introduce myself to you, and to make you aware of a senior role we have to fill. Our client is a Fortune 50 consumer company with over $63 billion in net revenue in 2015 and a global portfolio of diverse brands. The title of the role is Head Product Management, Global eCommerce. The Head Product Management, Global eCommerce will partner with the SVP, Product and Marketing to identify potential white space opportunities that lead to growth through innovation and enabling the fundamental business priorities.

    Can we schedule time to discuss the opportunity in further detail? Kindly let me know your thoughts.

    Head Product Management, Global eCommerce
    Across PepsiCo, we continue to build new capabilities that will be critical to achieving long-term, sustainable growth. The operating environment in which we do business is undergoing immense change, and it’s imperative that we transform in ways that enable us to meet the future needs of our customers and consumers. Digital technology is one such force of change, and the way we interact with retailers, shoppers and consumers is evolving at a dramatic pace. The impact of Digital / eCommerce has fundamentally evolved and in some cases transformed almost every consumer segment with groceries / consumables being the next space that external experts and large players (e.g., Amazon, Walmart) are betting on. As a result, e-commerce is one of the fastest-growing areas within the consumer products industry and represents a significant opportunity to accelerate growth for PepsiCo going forward.
    In order to maintain the necessary pace to meet the growth targets and compete effectively against start-ups or technology competitors requires a step-change in our thinking and increased ability to leverage technology and innovative solutions to advance our capabilities. This role will be pivot in those efforts to help define the strategic agenda and evaluation of potential projects designed to enable disruption and organic growth in this channel. This individual will also oversee the day-to-day efforts of building and rolling out defined projects while ensuring the optimal solution has been created. Finally, this role should leverage a strong external perspective and understanding of technological and competitive evolution to ensure we are continuously pushing the envelope internally on potential innovation (portfolio and business model).
    Accountabilities
    • Partner with the SVP, Product and Marketing to identify potential white space opportunities that lead to growth through innovation and enabling the fundamental business priorities
    • Lead investigation and evaluation process of identified opportunities to enable an objective review of the opportunity to ensure the organization focuses on the most impactful and beneficial options
    • Lead the efforts in partnership with SVP, Product and Marketing to scope and build out necessary resources to effectively pursue approved opportunities for initial validation and testing
    • Ensure that the eCommerce global leadership team is up to date on ongoing projects and lead cross-team efforts to make trade-off and prioritization decisions
    • Oversee the innovation pods (product, project and tech resources) day-to-day activities ensuring that identified projects are progressing appropriately and necessary steps are taken to course-correct where required
    • Partners with regional leaders to execute in-market opportunities ensuring the right level of support
    • Provides key strategic thinking
    • Drive critical thinking and understanding in key stakeholders to influence the agenda and approach relative to competitors behaviors, capabilities and positioning
    • Serves as critical member of the global eCommerce leadership team to define and drive the critical culture and talent mindset required to complete and win in this space
    • Serve as critical though partner to elevate the strategy and identify new opportunities within and beyond the defined innovation opportunities

    Key Skills/Experience Required
    • 12+ years of experience in product / project management in a complex environment with multiple constituencies with at least 5 years specifically in the eCommerce / Digital space; BA required (MBA strongly preferred)
    • Deep agile project management
    • Strong people leadership with ability to effectively communication between business leaders and tech talent pool
    • Highly analytical, motivated, decisive through leader with excellent managerial skills.
    • Strong understanding of current consumer packaged goods trends and best practices
    • Ability to influence and work through others to effectively navigate matrixed organization while ensuring that necessary stakeholders are informed
    • Strong communication skills that is able to educate and influence management and senior leaders to act in a desired manner through written and verbal communication.
    • Ability to simplify highly complex technical problems or barriers into terms that are easily accessible and impactful in both written and verbal formats to enable solution and trade-off decisions
    • Future-oriented thinker with expertise in external practices and trends
    • High level of analytical and negotiating skills as evidence by high intelligence, strong financial and analytical capabilities and the proven ability to develop, sell and drive suitable partnerships, alliances, or other transactions to closure
    • Demonstrates a sense of calmness under periods of uncertainty or change while dealing with stress in a manner that sets the necessary tone for the team and function
    • High character and integrity, is consistent and acts in line with a clear and visible set of values and beliefs
    • Global outlook with sensitivity and awareness of social and cultural differences 15+ years of strategy experience in a variety of positions both internally and externally.
    • Highly analytical, motivated, decisive thought leader with excellent managerial skills.
    • Strategic mindset with an ability to think broadly, refine question, and influence multiple decision makers

    Brian McNeill
    Alpha Advisors
    (914) 584-9471
    bmcneill@alphaadvisorsllc.com
    http://www.alphaadvisorsllc.com/
    http://www.linkedin.com/pub/brian-mcneill/43/a4b/343/en

  • so sorry, Thomas……typo

  • No worries, I appreciate your input. Besides the role I sent you, we have many other roles that need to be filled. If you know any good Machine Learning scientists, data scientists, swe coming from top schools with a few years of industrial experience, please send them my way. I wish you the best and hope to stay in touch.
    -Cheers

    • @brian mcneill: Would you be so kind as to define “top school”? Are you publicly saying that your company hires people based on the reputation of a school and not on the achievements of a person? Are some of us “school impaired” or “school challenged”? -Cheers!

  • 🙂 also MIT, Berkeley, Cornell are good ones.

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