Revenue Analytics is a company of overachievers—and that is not necessarily good.
We are a diverse collection of world-class business strategists, software engineers, and PhD mathematicians. Our people are bright, creative, and have Type A personalities. Our clients are leaders in their industries who engage us to give them a competitive advantage and we will do virtually anything to make sure they are successful.
Over time, however, we’ve realized that while we can do anything at Revenue Analytics, we can’t do everything. We’ve been through a cycle where we’ve burned out trying to do it all. It’s exhausting.
A couple of years ago, we came across a book which has helped us focus. “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown. In a nutshell, Essentialism is a means of taking the universe of all the great ideas we have and the things we want to accomplish and distilling them down to what is “essential” for success. Everything not essential is eliminated. We don’t want the non-essential distracting us from the essential.
Our Chief Science Officer, Dr. Jon Higbie, summed it up cleverly with the following formula:
(The sum of good ideas, ultimately becomes a bad idea, as the number of good ideas increases over time)
it’s not enough that an idea be a good idea at Revenue Analytics. It must be essential to success.
Most of our clients define success by growth—in terms of revenue, profit & share. We generate tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in organic growth for our clients. Anything that doesn’t contribute to growth is non-essential.
An example. We developed a Price Optimization system for a global hotel chain with thousands of hotels. During the design phase, the hotel General Managers expressed the desire to know the prices that all their competitors charged. While that was technologically feasible, it wasn’t necessarily business practical. Too much data might be overwhelming. We wanted them to get essential information. Together we concluded that if we tracked the prices for their top five competitors, it would be business practical, and we could assure mathematically optimal daily prices to generate significant growth.
Essentialism requires great discipline–especially for the inquisitive, curious people at Revenue Analytics. We always want to know more. We are aware of the interconnectivity of all things. We are conscious of “The Butterfly Effect” where small changes can have a great impact on non-linear systems. Essentialism makes us focus on outcomes which drive success.
Another example. We developed a forecasting system for a client leveraging mathematical models and predictive analytics to replace the existing methodology which relied on the roll-up of individual forecasts by region. The existing process was subject to human bias and interpretation. As we were building the new forecast methodology, people wanted to throw everything into the mix—bookings history, competitor moves, consumer confidence, GDP, interest rates, even weather. We needed to keep it essential. We asked, “What data gives us a better forecast and what data is noise?” We did a Principal Component Analysis to determine the probative value of every potential element. It’s still a complex system—billions of bits of data, generating tens of millions of daily forecasts. However, because the system relies only on essential elements, it consistently delivers accurate forecasts that enable better decision making.
Essentialism has become imperative to us, so we give a copy of the book to every new colleague. We have created a culture of people asking, “Is it essential?” Doing so has helped us become a fast, fun, and focused organization that does less and accomplishes more.