This week, we caught up with Adam Frank, Head of Customer Insights for Squiz.
Squiz: In which office are you based?
Adam: London, UK.
How long have you been a part of the Squiz family?
I celebrate 4 years in a few days.
What was your path to get there?
It’s a long story, best told over a glass of wine. The slightly meta ‘short short’ version is that I love solving problems, I enjoy playing pranks on friends, and I find sales/marketing technology fascinating. This intersection brought me into contact with SugarCRM, and then later with Squiz.
What does your typical day look like?
Typically, there’s no such thing. Generally, it’s a balance between looking after the needs of Squiz customers in the UK, and seeking best practices for our Customer Insights practice globally.
This means the day probably begins with a conference call to some of the team in Australia before getting into the office.
Once in, there are often presentations/meetings with organisations who are looking to engage Squiz to help them with their customer relationship challenge.
Lunch could be at any one of the many wonderful eateries in the area - Shoreditch is full of them. But we usually end up going to the so-called ‘bicycle guy’ down the road for a fresh banh mi, and talk about how we can improve his business.
Afternoons often involve a focus on the growth and development of the team here in the UK - exercises to improve skills, practising pitches and so on. I’m also a big fan of the ‘walk and talk’ style meeting with my team, and we’ve covered a lot of ground while... covering a lot of ground.
The day ends with something simple - a drink at the Fox.
What’s your favourite part about working at Squiz?
Three things. Firstly: inspiring leadership. I have met some amazing people who encourage me everyday to become a better leader to my team. A good segue into the second: the opportunity to influence the career and development of those I work with. Being able to help someone realise their own goals is incredibly fulfilling. Finally; the team. I’ve made some great friends at Squiz, and work never feels like work when you’re with friends.
What’s something that fascinates you about new customer habits and trends?
We’re over privacy (in general).
There was a period not too long ago where everyone was very protective over data, and governments/regulators put lots of laws in place to protect everyone’s privacy. However, I feel that the broadest customer indicators (number of people who sign away their life in order to get free wifi, the number of people who log into services using Google/Facebook etc), reveal that we don’t mind some of the big data harvesters knowing everything about us - in fact, we like the many functional (relevant services being easily accessible) or commercial (lowered cost) benefits it provides.
Next year will see a generation of voters who are younger than the (now retired) MSN Messenger service - and have never known a world which the always-on Internet didn’t exist - where their data was always living in another system. This generation is more accepting of black boxes in their cars to lower insurance premiums or wearables to lower their health premiums - giving away personal freedoms to have offerings which are more tailored to them.
What happens as this generation becomes the key decision-maker? Who is working on the combination of technology and services which they’ll take up?
What is the biggest upcoming revolution in the ‘Marketing world’ according to you?
Affective computing. Not sure if many would agree it’s the biggest, particularly as the science has existed for decades, but the technology is only now making some parts of it quite real.
It will be the engine that makes the intelligent agents everyone is talking about today, more relevant, as it will help the machines actually understand how you feel (“I know now why you cry. But it's something I could never do.”). I suppose a pertinent question is: do we want that?
What was your dream job when you were young?
A young Adam wanted to be like Brian Lara, a great West Indian cricket player. The discovery that I was right-handed (unlike he) mildly quelled my enthusiasm.
As an avid reader of Isaac Asimov, I then wanted to be an astronomer, or just to go into space. So perhaps when Squiz hosts a galactic cricket match (the ‘Space Ashes’?), all my dreams will have happened at once. Not sure about the physics of cricket in a zero gravity environment though. I suppose if you hit it past a planet - 6 and out?
When you’re not being a full time Squizzer, where do you most like to be?
My wife and I still consider ourselves tourists here in the UK. We spend many weekends just exploring different parts of London, or out in the countryside. I am in awe of how much history you can walk across in a day - there are so many signs of civilisations that are otherwise long gone. Growing up in Australia has meant a very different appreciation of what history means.
What one thing do you wish you had (skill, thing, power or other)?
Aside from tim tams that don’t run out? Being on the other side of the world to the rest of my family means I’d love the ability to teleport myself instantly to wherever I wanted to be in a heartbeat. I know I just said I love walking - but if I did that, the movie would be over by the time I got there.
What’s something interesting about yourself?
That is a tough one. While I’m not easily impressed (aside from when I see a blue car), I appreciate that quaint arrangements of letters and numbers on a number plate is usually less interesting to the next person. I can be stubborn at times, e.g. despite how many times someone tells me I’m not funny, I persist in trying out puns on them. ‘Don’t quit your day job!’ they say. The irony of this is that if I did do that, they wouldn’t hear those bad jokes anymore!
Finally, why Squiz?
I wholeheartedly believe in the vision of Squiz. The idea that we have the ability to provide not only tools, but also the confidence to help organisations ‘go digital’, is inspiring. More than ever, so many companies focus on simply pushing product, or just selling services. We are aiming to be more, and do more, than those companies. I believe in that, and want to be a part of it.
Adam will be tweeting his week at @lifeatsquiz between 24-31 October - follow along to see what he gets up to during the week.