Tadaweb’s Co-Founder Genna Elvin was our guest for the third episode of our “Voice Message From…” podcast series. She reflected on her company’s progress in 2019, the future of Tadaweb, and the next phase of utilizing data.
Since the beginning of the week, we have been publishing the personal recaps of the last year and outlooks for 2020 (and beyond) from leading people of the Luxembourgish and European startup ecosystems.
For this episode, it is with great pleasure to share the thoughtful voice message that Genna Elvin sent to us, answering the questions we forwarded to her.
As Co-Founder (and Chief Tada Officer) of one of Luxembourg’s leading growth-stage tech companies, Genna gave us some insights on the importance of ‘company culture’ when scaling a business, the need to ‘humanize’ the use of data, and what the next steps for Tadaweb will be.
This episode is brought to you with the support of The Office. Don’t miss out on listening to Genna’s thoughts – sound on!
In case you prefer reading what Genna told us on the different subject matters, you can find the transcript of the episode at the end of this article.
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Transcript – “Voice Message From…” Episode 3 – Genna Elvin (Tadaweb)
Charles-Louis Machuron (Silicon Luxembourg):
„Hi Genna! How are you doing? I’m sending you this voice message because I am currently collecting some personal insights from leading people of the Luxembourgish startup ecosystem to create a review of 2019 and outlook for 2020.
For this, I‘d like to ask you some questions. Your answers will be shared with Silicon Luxembourg‘s followers in a short podcast episode.
If you don’t mind sharing your thoughts, I‘d be happy to get your answers on the following questions:
– You‘ve been working on building Tadaweb since 2011. How did 2019 compare to all the other years of your startup journey so far?
– What trends do you see for the new decade when it comes to the growing importance of data? Will it reach even another level of significance and technological breakthroughs?
– In this regard, what are your plans with Tadaweb for 2020?
So as I said, it would be great to feature you in this short podcast series. All you have to do is to just send me a voice message back. Thank you and speak soon!”
Genna Elvin (Tadaweb):
Hi Charles! Thank you for inviting me to have a chat about 2019, 2020, and sort of the future of data. 2019 has been a really interesting year for Tadaweb. I had an end-of-year reflection with the team and I think this was sort of one of the first years that we were really maturing as a company, sort of going through that ‘late teenage’ phase. If you compare the startup life to a child and a well-established company to an adult, I think we are in that teenage phase now. We do have to let go of some of our old processes and embrace this new way of doing things as far as policies, as far as making sure that the company is in a state that it can scale nicely. So 2019 has been a great year. It has also been a year where our core values have been more important than ever before, just really identifying what makes the ‘Tada’-DNA what it is. The notion is ‘family first’, ‘work hard, play harder’, ‘nothing is impossible’. These core values have been really important for unifying the team and making sure that the team is in one direction. It’s going to be a big future going ahead. And, if you have a team that sort of doesn’t really match or walk together in the same direction, then it’s not easy to get the objectives set out properly. It’s not easy to sort of go get things, get everything achieved. So I think our core values have been a massive thing this year and just growing out different departments, having departments of finance, having departments for HR, and just generally maturing as a company.
Now, this is an interesting question. We are a data company. And what we really focus on is understanding and replicating the human processes involved in online data, sort of collection and understanding. Data is our ‘bread and butter’ but at the end of the day, we’re a very human-centric, ‘small data’-focused company. And so, I think, going into the future, what we’ve already seen now is: For the first time we’ve seen more data available than ever before. And, I think a lot of companies are jumping on this bandwagon not completely sure of how to approach it. They’re sort of being paralyzed by this overload of data that I think is really important for them but they don’t know how to bring value from it. There are new ideas such as predictive analytics. I think we’re moving on from the phase now of sort of identifying the descriptive statistics of the data. So understanding who the customer is, across a different level and now being able to predict what they’re going to do. I think even when it comes to things like multivariate testing, A/B testing, we can get a really good feel for user understanding, user behavior, what customers we need to target and that kind of stuff. So I think we are going in a new direction. I think the biggest thing we have to be worried about is that we become slaves to data, that we think that data and AI and robotics are the answer to everything. But I think we can’t forget at the end of the day, it’s still us humans. We still need to humanize the process of A.I., we still need to humanize all these processes. So it is definitely an interesting time going forward for the future of data. There is a lot we can do from a technical level. What’s lacking now is ensuring that we have the government support, the societal support and sort of the general ambition and direction as human beings to go in the right direction. But definitely, the next decade is going to see a lot of change. And it’s up to us to ensure that we humanize this process.
Plans for the future of Tadaweb… This is probably going to be one of the biggest years in the history of Tadaweb. We are probably going to double in size again, so be reaching probably around the 150-200 mark by the end of the year. And we’re moving into the biggest ‘Tada HQ’ yet. So we’ve got 4,000 square meters of office space that we have to make into the ‘Tada HQ’. Our culture and our office decor are really important for us because we try to not just create environments that are fun to work in but environments that actually reflect who we are as a company, that are conducive to our working style, and that make us more productive. So the ‘Tada HQ’ will be a massive step, increasing the size, increasing our global presence. We’ve already got offices in London and Paris. We’re hoping to get more and more global as time goes by. But above all, just sticking to our technology roadmap. We’ve always had a lot of ambition, we’ve always had a lot of drive and we’ve had a long roadmap. We know where we’re going. Now it’s about getting the right people on board to ensure that we can hit our objectives and show that our customers are happy, ensure that we continue to function as a strong and growing business. It’s going to be a really exciting time. 2020 is probably going to be, like I said, one of the biggest years in the history of the company. Scaling and growth – the main components that we need to ensure happen.
To sum up: It’s sort of been a really interesting year for Tadaweb. And, 2019 has been full of great challenges. And, sort of the importance of uniting and unifying our team on a strong tech roadmap has been the most important. 2020 has a lot of exciting adventures to come. And I think, just on the data side, the most important thing is now that we as human beings get a really clear understanding of where we want to go. And, instead of thinking now that AI and robotics and machine learning have already been created to give us all the answers – that’s far from the case. It is our job now to really humanize that process, to understand what we want, to make sure that we have the buy-in from all the key actors and really use data to help us to make sure that we use it in the right places, we use it for the right reasons. And I think that’s where the future of data is going.
Thanks for having me, it’s been a pleasure talking. And, see you later!