How to create a culture of data-driven decision making

Posted by Mike Walsh

Feb 3, 2019 8:01:00 PM

Kshira Saagar


For retailers, being data-driven in the 21st century is not a luxury but a matter of survival. Everything is measurable: from engagement to purchase patterns - and that demands leaders capable of being both creative and analytical when it comes to integrating data into their decision-making process. To explore this challenge, I spoke with Kshira Saagar, Head of Analytics and Data Sciences at The Iconic, one of Australia’s leading online retailers. Previously at Datalicious and Fairfax, Saagar was responsible for institutionalizing data-driven analytics across the company’s core competencies and building next-generation analytical products for his organization.

CATEGORY: Retail, Marketing

Small data, brands and why leaders should sleep with their customers

Posted by Mike Walsh

Jan 28, 2018 12:00:00 AM



Martin Lindstrom is one of the world’s foremost experts on building brands. Author of six best-selling books, and acclaimed by Time Magazine as one of the “World’s 100 Most Influential People”, Martin’s expertise is in the areas of consumer psychology, marketing, brands, and neuro-scientific research. I first met Martin many years ago, at the beginnings of the digital revolution in Australia - so it seemed appropriate that we re-connected once again at a cafe in Bondi Beach. We spoke about his new book, Small Data, and why it is better to gain insight through small observations of how people behave, rather than a blind devotion to big data. Make sure you listen through to the end of the podcast, when Martin outlines the 3 key actions that traditional brands need to take in order to re-invent themselves for the future.


CATEGORY: Retail, Marketing

Jack Ma, Alibaba and the e-commerce revolution in China

Posted by Mike Walsh

Jul 17, 2016 12:00:00 AM

Porter Erisman


Alibaba is one of the world’s most dynamic and powerful digital brands today, and yet it originates not from Silicon Valley but from China. As a former Vice President at the business, Porter Erisman had front-row seats to the development of Alibaba from Jack Ma’s apartment into what it is today. In his book, ‘Alibaba’s World’, Porter details the rise of the company against the backdrop of China’s digital revolution and the challenges faced by US web giants trying to crack the local market. In our conversation, we discussed how Jack Ma wrote the operating system for e-commerce to work in China, what brands can learn from the innovative ways that Chinese sell things online, and how everything from wealth management to insurance will soon be re-invented by these new digital platforms as they move from retail to financial services.


CATEGORY: Retail, Global

Reputation, digital leadership and why what happens in Vegas stays on YouTube

Posted by Mike Walsh

Nov 13, 2015 12:00:00 AM



Chance are, if you have attended a business event anytime in the last ten years, you will have watched someone play the ‘Did You Know?’ video full of astonishing facts about the digital world. The man behind that video, the most viewed social media clip of all time, and a number of bestselling books such as ‘Socialnomics’ and ‘What Happens in Vegas Stays on YouTube’ is Erik Qualman. And it was in Vegas, strangely enough, that Erik and I caught up to chat about managing reputation in a fully transparent world, the importance of investing in human relationships, the future of automated sharing, and mobile voting, whether a Yelp for human beings is a good idea, and the five habits of great digital leaders.

CATEGORY: Retail, Marketing

Norwegian death metal, the art of tending robots and re-inventing mobile commerce

Posted by Mike Walsh

Nov 1, 2015 12:00:00 AM



Harper Reed is one of the world’s foremost thinkers on data and digital innovation. He served as the CTO of Obama’s re-election campaign and was also one of the founders of His latest company, Modest, inc, was recently acquired by Paypal, where he is now working to figure out the future of commerce. Over dinner at Soho House in Chicago, we talked about digital bias and the stubborn persistence of paper, why technology is best used as a force multiplier of people power, the quantification of marketing and how smarter tools replace the need for experts, reactionary interfaces and why retailers are afraid of their customers, why iTunes credit is more meaningful to kids than cash, the power of ‘undo’ in e-commerce, and the link between local infrastructure and global innovation.


CATEGORY: Retail, Technology

Magic, engineered interactivity and the future of storytelling

Posted by Mike Walsh

Oct 23, 2015 12:00:00 AM



Technology and science may seem the natural enemies of magic, but for Marco Tempest, who describes himself as a cyber-illusionist, they are his daily tools of trade. Magicians have a long history of deploying advanced technology to be ahead of the reality curve in order to fool their audiences. For Marco, that means experimenting with motion tracking, drones, augmented and virtual reality, projection mapping, gaze tracking, robotics and AI. When I visited him in his New York workshop, we spoke about the art of telling stories about the near future, open source collaboration, sandboxing emerging technologies, engineering interactivity and how the world’s magicians have kept a secret private archive of their tricks and what that might mean for crafting the future of experiences.


CATEGORY: Retail, Marketing

Science fiction prototyping, storytelling and how to 3D print a candybar

Posted by Mike Walsh

Aug 30, 2015 12:00:00 AM



What if the best way to come up with a brilliant plan for the future of your company was to hire a sci-fi writer? Ari Popper does just that. He connects companies with storytellers to create visions and prototypes of what the future of their products and customers might look like. Ari previously ran the market research company, Brainjuicer USA, but it was a science fiction writing course at UCLA that made him realise the power of creating compelling stories for companies. I was introduced to Ari after a speech I gave at Visa’s incredible new San Francisco headquarters. In the spirit of a Silicon Valley startup, Visa had commissioned Ari’s team to create an interactive, high impact data wall that provided a real time view into the company’s universe. When I visited him at their lab in Burbank, we chatted about the power bringing ideas from fiction to life as prototypes, comic books, and immersive installations.


CATEGORY: Innovation, Retail

Astro Boy, Bitcoin and the art of keeping a ramen notebook

Posted by Mike Walsh

Aug 15, 2015 12:00:00 AM



Michael Keferl runs the Tokyo office of the global innovation consultancy, Mandalah. But I knew him from the early 2000s, when he was the genius behind one of my favourite, and in fact, one of the most popular blogs in the world at that time - CScout Japan. CScout was the go-to emporium for all things weird and wonderfully Japanese. When we caught up in Tokyo, Michael gave me a behind the scenes tour of the city’s latest retail, technology and subcultural trends. Later that day, sitting at a sidewalk cafe in Shibuya, we debriefed on what we saw, discussing the evolution of mobile technology and payments in Japan, interactivity and politeness, why ramen fanatics keep notebooks, Astro Boy’s influence on modern robotics, the fall of Mt Gox, and why this tiny island continues to be a source of inspiration to innovators.


CATEGORY: Retail, Global