A tale of two data entrepreuners

Frank Bien worked in the world of databases for 20 years, including Greenplum, a maker of high performance analytics databases, acquired by EMC, Dell and Intraspect Software. When the idea of Big Data emerged in 2002 and 2003, he was excited to see what would happen. Big data provided a new infrastructure, systems that could store volumes of data, and created data mining pursuits. But how could businesses leverage their data in order to make informed decisions as opposed to guesswork? Bien met the founder of Looker, Lloyd Tab, and he was impressed the company’s customers, innovative Silicon Valley start-ups who were interested in “doing data” in a new way. CEO’s, data teams and everyone in between were intensely interested in data, and wanted a way see it.

Tomasz Tunguz first saw the impact of data informed decision-making at Google, where he worked as Product Manager for Adsense. He kept a server under his desk that used data from the Google crawler to benchmark AdSense’s market share relative to his key competitor, Yahoo’s Publisher Network. What did he learn from this?

That best run companies are data-driven, and this skill sets businesses apart from their competition.

Soon after, Tomasz joined Redpoint, a venture capital firm that has invested in breakthrough companies such as Netfix, Sonos Stripe and Zendesk.

In 2012 he met Frank Bien, the new CEO of Looker, and the rest of the Looker team, and a partnership was born.

Since then, Looker has become the fastest growing BI company of the past 20 years. Gartner even called Looker “cool”.


Tunguz and Bien wrote and have just released Winning With Data: Transform your Culture, Empower Your People, and Shape the Future (Wiley) 

The was book launched to at a sold out event last night at San Francisco’s First Edition. It was a fun and fascinating evening, and since Menlo Technologies is one of Looker’s Integration Partners, it was a thrill to mingle with the Looker team, as well as other Data Science types.

The book

The co-authors interviewed many of the top startups in their industries and shared their understanding and learning from those interviews and their own experiences. Winning with Data  explores the cultural changes big data brings to business, and gives examples of ways to adapt your organization to leverage data to maximum effect.

Big Data is the buzzword of the century, even though few fully understand its impact.

This book takes a deeper look at big data in business, and illustrates the positive and profitable changes a data culture brings to companies.

What I like about Winning With Data is this:

  • It takes a deeper look at big data in business
  • It discusses how to adapt and organization to leverage data to maximum effect
  • It shows how to use data to optimize every aspect of business

I also enjoyed reading examples of how Looker clients are using data to succeed, including Warby Parker, ThredUp, Venmo and many more.

Did you know, for example, that the eye-wear company Warby Parker, which initially sold to customers exclusively online, leveraged data from their Home Try-On program—noting characteristics of the more successful models, to power the company’s growth to more than 100 million?

Bottom Line

Leveraging the full power of data requires more than good IT—organization-wide buy-in is essential for long-term success. Winning with Data is for you if you:

  1. Enjoy learning how entrepreneurs think and build partnerships
  1. Want to a deeper understanding of big data and data science.
  1. Are looking for an expert guide to making data work for your business.

Order your copy here.

TOMASZ TUNGUZ is a venture capitalist at Redpoint and writes daily, data-driven blog posts about key topics for startups including fundraising, startup benchmarks, best practices, and team building. Check out his ultra popular blog here.

FRANK BIEN is CEO of Looker, exploration and discovery business intelligence platform. He has built his career on nurturing strong corporate culture and highly efficient teams.

Read about Menlo Technologies and Looker


Coming soon: Menlo Technologies Summer Reading List!