An Isolated Friday in the Life of… a Head of Data Solutions

Gary joined Medialab just before lockdown, coming from Eurostar where he was Lead Data Architect. As part of the integrated data and performance leadership team, Gary takes us through a day in his life at Medialab…

9am

For me, the working day starts with the daily team meeting. I consider these to akin to agile standups. In a standup, we talk about what we did yesterday and what we’ve got on today.  I’ve spent some years working in development teams across a range of advanced data projects, most recently at Eurostar, and these meetings are a great way to keep in touch and highlight what we are working on.

One of the assumptions in an office is that everyone knows what everyone is working on. But without the casual interaction of a shared office, we have to make an effort to touch base, which has been a positive – if anything we are all more aware and connected than before!

Our daily meetings are made up of the Apollo team, which is officially 3 sub teams – Engineering, Analytics and Science. Apollo is our data marketing platform, which gives our partners a single view of their media investment, helping us and them understand how that investment is performing.

10am

One of the big projects that I have been working on is in reorganising and streamlining our workflows so that we can get new clients and campaigns into our data warehouse with minimal effort. This data is then cleaned and manipulated to produce digestible and insightful charts to inform decisions/planning. My job is to try and reduce the time to onboard a new client or campaign and enable the teams to develop more features for the clients – all this is done to allow us to move more quickly into the real fun stuff, like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

11.30am

This morning, I presented a demo of what our ‘next-generation’ workflow looks like to some of the senior team. This included how we are getting data into Apollo and how it’s then visualised, which will enable a much faster, smoother onboarding process. The presentation all went as it should; I think we can call it a success!

Lunch

I’ll often go downstairs to the kitchen, make a sandwich and watch the daily Medialab LiveLab. Someone from the company will spend ten minutes broadcasting to the company a small update on what they are up to or share some lockdown learnings.

1.30pm

This afternoon I have three Zoom calls. That’s not particularly unusual; Zoom is very much the ‘new normal!’ First, I’m talking to the Science team, whereby I’m introducing a new script orchestration & management tool.

Next is with our Commercial Director and CEO, to discuss some pricing structures for our product, and finally a one on one with Will, our Chief Planning Officer, for a general catch up on the projects we are working on which centre around Apollo.

5.30pm

Last emails are finished around 5.30/6pm, after which I’ll often go for a walk with my wife, then have dinner. Our evenings are very casual. We are currently working our way through the latest Killing Eve, which I have to say doesn’t come close to the first season!

If you weren’t working at Medialab, what would you be doing?

I would be an architect – that was another career choice. I even went to classes before I switched my major to Computer Science & Engineering. A road not taken.