#11: Dan Wulin: International E-Commerce, Price Optimization, & Home-Good Product Recommendations

Episode 11 – Dan Wulin

Dan Wulin is the Director of Data Science at Wayfair: an international e-commerce company specializing in home goods.

Wayfair is a $5B company growing 40% year-over-year, with 10 million products and over 8,700 employees around the world. Their data science team is 80-people strong and growing fast, using econometrics to optimize prices, biostatistics to boost marketing, and computer vision to personalize product recommendations.

Prior to joining Wayfair, Dan studied Math & Physics as an undergraduate at Columbia University and, thereafter, received his PhD in Theoretical Physics from the University of Chicago. Coming out of school, he worked as a consultant at Boston Consulting Group for a year in Chicago before transitioning to Wayfair in Boston.

In this conversation, we cover a wide-range of topics, including:

  • His childhood obsession with text-based multiplayer RPGs like Gemstone
  • Dan’s roots in academia, how studying the physics of superconductors taught him (painfully) how to break down complex problems in simple ways
  • How a misalignment of his problem solving approach with standard consulting frameworks at BCG led him to Wayfair
  • Dan’s first major effort at Wayfair, project Athena, that saved the company millions of dollars on Google ad spending
  • His passion for setting up Wayfair’s data science team to be successful, how teams within the organization partner, as well as who and how they hire
  • The computer-vision-driven approach Wayfair takes toward measuring people’s creative taste on subjective things like furniture preference

Enjoy the show!

Show Notes: https://ajgoldstein.com/podcast/ep11/

Dan’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dan-wulin-02169a2a/

AJ’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/ajgoldstein393/

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Enjoy!