Episode 11 – Dan Wulin
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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Links from the Episode
- Prodigy (Open Source)
- Columbia University
- Perato’s principle ( 80/20 rule )
- Principles – Ray Dalio
- Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman
- Mindset – Carol Dweck
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