Meet a member – Jason Tan
- This month we hear from new ACS Member Jason Tan, Managing Director, DDA Labs on his career trajectory in tech, his key takeaways on tech leadership, and his awesome podcast series - The Analytics Show.
Meet a member – Jason Tan
1. So tell us a bit about yourself Jason and your tech career to date?
My tech career journey has been an interesting one, but one I’m sure many can relate to. From a small town in Malaysia, I arrived in Australia in 2003 with a one-way ticket, $1000 in my pocket, and a determination to succeed. I often worked 2 jobs while I was studying Information Technology at university. After a year of job hunting, I landed my first job at Suncorp working with actuaries to build a pricing optimisation platform for its general insurance portfolio.
After my corporate career, I ventured into data and analytics consulting, as well as building startups providing a digital marketplace for bicycles and furniture retailing.
Now, I am the Founder and Managing Director of DDA Labs and the Host of The Analytics Show podcast. Together with my team, we develop & embed advanced analytics into daily business operations to optimise results for enterprises and government agencies.
Over at The Analytics Show, I interview top business leaders around the world on how they use data science to run modern high-performance organisations. I am thankful for each and every one of the 120 guests (and counting) for sharing their insights in optimising their business performance via data, machine learning, and AI in various industries.
2. What has been your biggest lesson in tech leadership so far? What would you tell your younger self starting out?
Interestingly enough, I ask a similar question to all of my podcast guests to finish off the interview. I ask them what book they would have their younger selves read if they had the chance. I feel like you can learn a lot about a person from this.
As for me, it’s Working Backwards: Insights, Stories and Secrets from Inside Amazon by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr. In the book, they discuss Amazon’s remarkable success story since being launched out of a garage in 1994. It talks about how they did it and Amazon’s unmatched innovation at the time. The strategies and principles they include are proven to be repeatable, scalable, and adaptable. It’s a great read for anyone scaling a business using technology and innovation.
This reinforces the key lessons I have learned:
- Tech, data, and AI are all enablers of the business
- We must always prioritise the business objectives and outcomes
- We use technology to work for the business, not the other way around
- Most importantly, focus on building a trusting relationship with stakeholders
3. What technology are you most passionate about and why?
For me, there’s definitely something about advanced analytics and how to embed it and use it to complement enterprise systems.
The big tech - FANNG - has shown us how data and advanced analytics are playing important roles in their products and providing great customer experience. It helped them become the most valuable companies in the world in just a few short decades.
Sadly, most traditional companies like banks, insurers, manufacturers, energy, etc are not digital natives and they all have legacy systems. As a result, they are not optimising their business with data and advanced analytics like AI/ML.
Though, a selected few like CBA and Suncorp have figured out how to develop advanced analytics where it can complement their enterprise systems.
The results are remarkable and I’m excited to see more of the traditional companies getting back on the same playing field as the big tech - FAANG.
4. You are an avid tech podcaster. Tell us about this series and how can ACS members access it, or be involved?
The Analytics Show is a podcast of business through the lens of data science.
In each episode, the guest and I deep dive into their business and use of data science in optimising their business and customer experience. It covers the topics ranging from to customer analytics in retail, climate peril pricing in insurance to AI in healthcare etc.
We decode and explain the how and why that’s behind the scene on how data, advanced analytics and emerging technologies are powering their organisations in different industries.
Since starting in mid-2019, we’ve released 120 episodes and counting. The Analytics Show is also a source of inspiration for professionals in the industry who often keep their heads down to deliver technical work. Many introverts like myself get passed by because they don't speak up. The goal behind The Analytics Show is simple, to help data and analytics leaders break through barriers and out of their shells to have their voices heard confidently.
You can listen to The Analytics Show on almost any podcast platform you can think of. It’s on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Youtube, and more. The best way to find it is through our website or pod.link. From there, you can choose your favourite platform and listen, subscribe, and join the conversation from there.
If anyone is interested in joining as a guest, don’t hesitate to let me know through LinkedIn. We’re always on the lookout for new voices who are using data and analytics to snowball their business.
5. What attracted you to join ACS and what are you hoping to get out of it?
Over the years, I’ve had help from many amazing people in growing my career, my business, my podcast, and so on. I’ve always wanted to give back and now I’m in a place to do it. I’m excited to be part of growing Australia’s technology talent to greater heights and helping those like me reach their full potential in their careers.