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15 years of excellence in data science

Two long-time boobook team members share their stories

Boobook has changed a lot in the last fifteen years – starting out as a home-based business, evolving into a multi-employee firm, and then finally becoming what it is today: a collaborative team of analytics experts with the breadth of experience and scope of knowledge to tackle any customer analytics project. On the special occasion of boobook’s 15-year anniversary, two longstanding colleagues share their motivations, experiences and reasons for sticking with boobook through good and better.

The diversity of projects and broad range of techniques we use is a big part of what makes working at boobook so fulfilling.

Two data science directors, two different journeys

Lieve Audoorn, data science director at boobook, has always seen things from a numerical perspective. “It’s been science right from the start for me. I knew as a child that math and science were my strong points, and I ended up receiving degrees in mathematics and biostatistics.”

She has been with boobook since 2005, when it first made its debut as a two-woman enterprise. “Before I arrived, it was just Nicole at what was then called solutions-2 – she was enjoying herself, but she was working at all hours and needed additional personnel to help share the load,” she explains. “Nicole invited me to join as a part-timer while I was still working for Ghent University as a statistics consultant, after which I transitioned into a full-time role as the company grew.”

James Hawes, also a data science director, followed a different path to boobook. “I actually started out my education in chemistry – not my best choice,” he jokes. “I quickly realized that I’d make a terrible academic, so I switched to something that resonated more deeply with me: business strategy and marketing. This, in turn, led me to market research.”

After several years working in the field of analytics, James became increasingly specialized in media campaign evaluation while honing his skills in management at the same time. “I was introduced to boobook in 2013, a year after the London office was opened. One of my main motivations for accepting a position here was to get the opportunity to broaden my expertise and work for companies in a wide range of sectors.”

Aligned motivations and fascinating challenges

Despite their differences, both Lieve and James agree that the diversity of clients and analytical techniques used at boobook are key inspirations. “The variety of boobook was incredibly refreshing,” James recounts. “I was also immediately inspired by Nicole’s enthusiasm; she has the knack of making complicated concepts seem simple.”

“It’s fulfilling to be able to problem solve across market segments and tailor our approaches to each specific project, large or small,” agrees Lieve. “The challenges aren’t always about the analytical methods used. It also takes great skill to deeply understand client needs and then go a step further. It’s necessary to get extremely close to each client’s business question.”

“There’s always something new to learn, and we always have so many burners lit that we’re sometimes pressed to get everything done,” adds James. “Although the London and the Ghent offices are quite different, we’re able to collaborate smoothly and tackle projects together, if needed. Each of us can fulfil any role.”

Growing together in new directions

When it comes to the future of boobook, they agree that there are plenty of exciting opportunities on the horizon. “As we grow into a more strategic consulting and coaching role, we’ll still have to dedicate our efforts to honing our skills,” Lieve asserts. “Even if analysing data becomes a smaller part of our day-to-day work, human interpretation is always required to avoid risk.”

“It’s important for us to stay up-to-the-minute with new tools, software and techniques to maintain our roles as trusted subject matter experts,” James concludes. “We can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

by Lieve Audoorn,
Data Science Director
on 24-10-2017

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