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From Wrestling Dreams to Data-Driven Success: A CEO's Journey

Author: Laura Ballam


Welcome to a hilarious and enlightening revision of a recent episode of "My Career in Data" from Dataversity, illuminating our very own CEO, Bill Bruno! "My Career in Data" is a great podcast, where they delve into the stories of industry leaders and experts who have carved their paths in the data management realm. Bill recently had the honor of chatting with Shannon Kemp, Chief Digital Officer at Dataversity.

Brace yourself, because this podcast-turned-blog isn’t your ordinary Q&A session. It’s an entertaining ride filled with wrestling dreams, nerdy confessions, and the power of data!

Our CEO: A hat-wearing bulldozer!

Q: Bill, you're the CEO at Celebrus. But what does that really mean? Spill the beans!

A: Well, being a CEO isn't all fancy and glamorous. It means wearing many hats and bulldozing through roadblocks to help my team succeed. Sometimes I'm the guy clearing the path for them, ensuring we build a high-performing team and create a customer-focused culture.

From childhood dreams to college adventures

Q: Let's rewind to your elementary school days. Did you dream of becoming a data analyst or a computer engineer back then? Or did you have some surprising aspirations?

A: Surprisingly, being a data analyst or computer engineer didn't top my list. I wanted to be a professional wrestler, like Hulk Hogan or the Ultimate Warrior. But data didn't come into the picture until later in high school when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do at college.

Q: How did you end up on the data-driven path?

A: Well, I was a bit of a nerd, and I'm proud of it! I excelled in math and science, so I explored where that background could lead me. During college, I took Artificial Intelligence courses, did a lot of math and a lot of coding, dabbled in a bit everything, and even tried my hand at gaming coding. I didn't mind the coding part, but I kind of liked interacting with people and I always loved understanding how things worked, so I started looking into consulting. And when I came out of college, I co-founded a consulting firm and that was the start of my career.

Consulting and Building a Data-Driven Empire:

Q: So, you started your own consulting firm, Stratigent. Tell us more about that journey.

A: Absolutely! We co-founded Stratigent, a consulting firm focused on helping businesses prove the profitability of their websites through web analytics. It was a thrilling time, especially after the dot-com crash. Eventually, I sold Stratigent and continued my career in analytics globally. Now, as the CEO of Celebrus, I'm experiencing a shift from being a consultant to being a vendor, which has its own unique challenges and rewards.

Q: That's quite a journey! From dreaming of wrestling stardom to building a successful consulting firm and now leading Celebrus. Speaking of Celebrus, can you tell us more about the company and your role as CEO?

A: Absolutely! Celebrus is the leading data capture and contextualization platform that helps organizations unlock the power of their customer data. When you read any surveys from Forrester or Gartner for example, they always talk about how difficult it is to use digital data for business initiatives and to bring it together with other sources. And they talk about things like how digital identity verification is a real problem and difficult for solutions to manage. Those are the gaps Celebrus solves for. So, you deploy Celebrus across all your digital touchpoints: websites, mobile apps, kiosks in an airport, ATMs, and we capture all the data for you; we give you a logical table data model that data scientists love, and it makes it easy to use it everywhere. We solve for digital identity.

And basically, at the end of the day we solve for two types of use cases: the root and the heart of everything we do is to build better relationships between brands and consumers. On the marketing side, that's in building better experiences by showing you things you're interested in. On the fraud side, it's preventing fraud and protecting all that hard-earned money that you've got that you want to spend that day, or unfortunately, where someone else might be looking to spend it for you - and we're trying to stop that from happening.

Our platform empowers businesses to capture and transform real-time customer data from various touchpoints into actionable insights. As CEO, my role involves overseeing the overall strategy, vision, and growth of the company. I work closely with our talented team to ensure we deliver innovative solutions that enable our clients to make data-driven decisions and enhance their customer experiences.

Q: So, with all your experience with data – what is your definition of data?

A: Well, my definition of data is “Something that's usable.” And I think that's how I always like to think of it because there's a lot of information out there. Even in the data Celebrus collects for clients, you're not always going to need all that data on a daily basis. To me, it's what's usable - how are you going to use it? But that doesn't mean you should limit what you're collecting. A lot of people say only collect what you need, but the problem with that is none of us are Miss Cleo, you don’t know what you're going to need three months from now, six months from now, or a year from now. So, I think the most important thing is to capture compliant data, as much as possible (that you're actually allowed to collect, and consumers are allowing you to do so). To me, data isn’t something that's just sitting there - it's information that’s beneficial, that you can use to add value in your job, with your customers, etc. It must be usable, otherwise you're probably just wasting your time.


Stay tuned for Part 2 of our podcast revision: Interview with a CEO: Harnessing the power of data

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