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The Data Revolution and How it Helps in Hyper Scaling with Tarush Aggarwal

9.2.22

Tarush Aggarwal and Louisa Dickens The Propcast

In episode 5 of this season of the Propcast, Louisa is joined byTarush Aggarwal, Founder and CEO of 5x. He is one of the leading experts in leveraging data for exponential growth and has over 10 years of experience in the field. In this episode Louisa and Tarush talk about his journey through data and his involvement in WeWork that allowed the business to grow 10x in 3 years. 

Tarush shares how to convert data into dollars, and how his business does exactly that. They discussed the data trends that he has seen over the years and Tarush gives some tips on how to get into the data space and make it a serious career path. 

Companies Mentioned:

Shout Outs:

Key Insights From This Episode: 

  • What is super interesting about the data revolution is that we are still living through it. – Tarush
  • Growth is something that takes time. You can grow really quickly, but at some point, it becomes unsustainable. – Tarush
  • If you are serious about adding business value by being data-driven, you have to develop a data stack, and you are going to have to store it, structure it and clean it. – Tarush
  • We saw a 46% increase in people being hired in data roles… I think this year it is going to increase even more.  – Louisa
  • In today’s age data is no longer a nice to have, it’s an essential part of any company’s business proposition. – Tarush
  • It is easy to have poor company values. – Tarush
  • It’s important to have values and write them down, but what are you doing to action them? – Tarush
  • I think sequel is probably the most important skill in any of the data professions. – Tarush

About Our Guests:

Tarush Aggarwal 

https://www.linkedin.com/in/tarushaggarwal/ 

Tarush is one of the leading experts in leveraging data for exponential growth, with over ten years of experience in the field.  After graduating with a degree in Computer Engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 2011, he became the first data engineer on the analytics team at Salesforce.com. Data was in its infancy, and the log metric framework which Tarush built was critical in allowing Salesforce to analyse data across customers and provide benchmarks across different industries and verticals. Most recently Tarush led Data for WeWork, one of the fastest-growing companies in the world. WeWork leveraged data to be able to grow 10x in 3 years, supporting a  footprint of 800+ offices in 120+ cities in 23+ countries with over 12,000 employees. Tarush scaled the data org from 2 to 100+ and their unique approach allowed them to stay lean while supporting every functional area of the business. In 2019 he moved to China to help establish WeWork’s Asia operations and focus on the hyper-growing Chinese market.

About 5x

https://5x.co/

The biggest challenge for most businesses is converting data into dollars. Businesses lack the expertise to build the data engine (infrastructure, data collection, self-service reporting) That’s why we created 5x. To enable companies to answer business questions, without having to worry about building data infrastructure or bringing in the right team.  Because of our prefabricated data blocks & network of remote data engineers, we deliver data reporting faster, cheaper, and of higher quality, than anyone else in the industry. 

About Our Host

Louisa Dickins

https://www.linkedin.com/in/louisa-dickins-ab065392/

Louisa started her career in property working at a well-known estate agency in London. Realising her people skills, she moved over to Lloyd May to pursue a career in recruitment. She now is a Director at LMRE, who are a specialist recruitment firm driven by PropTech and recruitment professionals, and Louisa oversees their 5 core areas. Louisa co-founded LMRE and provides a constructive recruitment platform to the new disruptors in real estate. Louisa is also on the board of Directors at UK PropTech Association (UKPA).

About LMRE

www.lmre.tech

LMRE believe there is a better way to recruit. LMRE focus on a more comprehensive, client led focus delivering exceptional talent to the place at the time. They are passionate about the industry and passionate about people’s careers. LMRE spend time with each client to become and an extension of the business, and their transparency and core values help them grow with the sector. LMRE simplify recruitment and innovate with our clients and evolve the people driven, PropTech community.

Timestamps

[2:35] Can you talk us through your career? You started off at Salesforce, then went on to be the Global Head of Data at WeWork, you have founded and grown your own business. How did you scale the data from two to a hundred plus at WeWork and how did you get Adam to prioritise this as a business need?

  • We are still living through the data revolution. 10 years ago, at Salesforce, no one in the valley had a data team. 10 years later at WeWork, it was completely different, we had an established modern data stack.
  • When I joined, WeWork had about 100 offices and a few years later we had close to a thousand. The business was growing so quickly and we had to scale the team as well. It was slightly unsustainable.

[6:10] What does your business do and how does it come together with the modern data stack? How does it drive more value for customers and can you give an example of who one of your customers might be. 

  • Businesses find it difficult to extract value from data because startups today have 10-12 different sources of data. Hiring an ad hoc analyst who builds a few dashboards isn’t good enough anymore, it doesn’t lead to long-term business value. 
  • If you are serious about adding business value by being data-driven, you have to develop a data stack and you are going to have to store it, structure it and clean it. 
  • 5x stitches together the data stack with all the best-in-class vendors, across data collection and Deshon storage modelling and reporting. 
  • We interview and hire engineers and we get to hire the top 1% of these engineers. We can pre-train these engineers on the platform. 
  • 5x is faster, cheaper and higher quality.
  • Our sweet spot is a company that has found some success and then they need to go scale the business and they need to go deploy an entire data comprehensive strategy and do so fairly quickly. 

[11:10] You are 8 months old and you’ve already raised, are about to raise again and you have over 50 employees. What’s the secret to maintaining a good culture?

  • A lot of it comes from the Founder.  
  • It is easy to have poor company values. 
  • It’s important to have values and write them down, but what are you doing to action them?

[14:45] Are there any macro trends that you have seen in the 10 years that you have been working in data and what does it mean for companies? 

  • 10 years ago, no one was doing digital marketing and no one had a website for their business and Google came along and said that if you don’t have an online presence, you are not going to exist. 
  • In the next 10 years there will be the evolution of digital marketing and digital marketing will go more mainstream and that will evolve into data.
  • In very early rounds, venture capitals are asking what’s your data strategy. 

[17:50] You started off as data engineer, now you are a Founder and you have started a new profession. How can people learn more about it? 

  • We are early in the space and when I started the playbook of data hadn’t yet been written. 
  • Ramping up in your tech skills, SQL is really important. Something like Python or any analysis language are skills that are extremely valuable.
  • Understanding the best practises and being able to shadow a company. Doing it well and spending time to really understand the best practises and the trends.

[22:55] The ‘LMRE’ part, Louisa asks the guests to talk about:

  • Lessons learned in your career
    • When you look at what data it’s adding visibility organisation that’s kind of one side of the spectrum and on the other side is being in flow, extremely creative and intuitive. We tend to be either or. 
    • Unless you actively try you’re just going to move more and more on that spectrum. If you’re a data-driven person then likely you’re just going to make everything in your life even more data-driven.
    • Moving more towards the middle is something that will serve everyone. 
  • Mention a person, product or service
    • My assistant, Tricia
    • To-Do-List and Google Calendar save my life on a daily basis 
  • Rewarding parts of working in the space: 
    • Impact is a huge one. Being able to leverage data for growth is not something which is trivial. 
    • Being able to take something, spend time in it and work towards helping commoditise it. 
  • What are you most Excited about for the future of the space?:  
    • The evolution is going to continue. In the next few years, we’re starting to get more into decision-making, recommendations and insights. 

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