Company Updates

I managed to identify AND land my dream job with Validio—here’s what I learned

Sunday, Mar 20, 2022

6 min read

Sara Landfors

A few months ago, I was looking for my next career move, and I felt lost. I was privileged enough to be asking myself: How do I find a purpose-led job that I’m passionate about?

As a Millenial, I knew I wasn’t alone in searching for these qualities in my career. Forbes mentions the importance of purpose for Millenials and Gen Z when it comes to selecting an employer, and CNBC discusses Millennials' search for passion in their careers.

When I joined Validio as Head of Product Marketing, it felt almost too good to be true. This is my dream job! The road to get here, however, wasn’t straightforward, and I wanted to share some stories and learnings that came up along the way. I hope you’ll find these useful.

The formula I used is what in hindsight sounds like a simple combination of three things: an important problem, an inspiring team and a tailored role.

Let’s dive in.

An important problem

After graduate school many years ago, I worked hard to be accepted into Boston Consulting Group (BCG) as an Associate. Upon joining, I was instantly attracted to BCG’s work with GAMMA, the data science branch of the company. There, I worked on implementing advanced analytics algorithms to enable better business decisions, such as pricing and demand planning. 

In this experience, two things became very clear to me:

First, data is the next big frontier of value and organizations that are starting to realize that value are only just scratching the surface. There is huge untapped potential in every. single. industry. (both private, public and third sector). 

Second, data quality is an enormous pain for data teams; broken algorithm pipelines and broken dashboards lead to poor decisions and valuable time lost trying to fix the issues. Good quality data is imperative (clearly visible by the in-house investments made by companies such as Airbnb, Uber and Netflix, to name a few). It’s also becoming a hygiene factor to take into account when designing data pipelines and building modern data infrastructure. A very concrete example of this change in mindset is the data-centric movement that Andrew Ng has ignited in the world of machine learning. In addition, increasingly more products have data at their core (think of Uber’s dynamic pricing feature or Spotify’s weekly recommendations). Data quality has become a top priority, whether it’s plain old financial reporting, BI or advanced ML-models. This has largely happened due to exploding volumes and sources of data driven by the rise of cloud data warehouses and lakes.

Naturally, when Patrik Liu Tran, the CEO of Validio, reached out to me and explained Validio’s vision, I instantly understood the value of it. I also knew that this was a product that would interest me, and that I wanted to work with.

What I learned

  • “Shop around” for real-world experiences. This is the only way to find out what you are passionate about. No amount of thinking alone can do that.
  • On a related note, experiencing a painful problem first-hand and then joining a company that solves precisely that problem can be a powerful catalyst for purpose.

An inspiring team

Let’s go back to when Patrik introduced me to Validio’s vision. He and I met for lunch after having been introduced to each other by mutual acquaintances. What should have been a one- hour lunch turned into two hours of me being awestruck, while Patrik casually sold me his company vision and explained some of his background and credentials. And Patrik was only the beginning—after getting to know the rest of the team, they blew me away too. Here were some of the industry’s smartest people and top talent  with a collective data experience of hundreds of years!

What was truly remarkable was that these people all took their company values and culture ultra seriously. I could sense they were all kind and caring, and if faced with a tradeoff between treating people kindly and making a quick profit, wouldn’t hesitate in choosing the former. Whenever I visited the office, I felt energized, and whenever I shared an idea with Oliver and Patrik, they made me feel like my input really mattered (the :+1: emoji is a powerful tool).

What I learned

  • Let your intuition guide you when choosing your team; do you feel energized after being together? Do they create a space where you feel psychologically safe to share your ideas?
  • Select a team of people who inspire you and from whom you can learn.

A tailored role

We’ve now talked about the problem and the team, which means the last piece of my career framework is the role.

Before joining Validio, I had made a lot of decisions based on “keeping doors open”. I decided to study Industrial Engineering and Management, which was engineering, but not deep tech. It was also “business”, but not finance or business administration. Joining BCG was of course also a move designed to keep options open (any management consultants out there who can relate?).

I used to think that I had to eventually choose between business and tech, but I came to realize this hybrid profile of mine was actually one of my biggest assets.

The role of Product Marketing at Validio wasn’t actually one I had applied for. It was one Oliver, Patrik and I designed together, based on me communicating what I wanted to do and where I could add the most value. That’s why I call it a “tailored” role as opposed to an “interesting” role, or something else. Product Marketing at Validio is the perfect cross-functional hybrid between a very technically complex product and a strong commercial opportunity, and it fits me like a glove.

What I learned

  • Be very vocal about what you know and what you want to do. Also be vocal about what you don’t want to do. That’s the only way other people can help you define and ultimately help you find what you are looking for.
  • Base your role search off of what interests you and what you’re good at. Don’t shoehorn yourself into applying for Data Scientist roles if you aren’t actually interested in or good at data science, or just because those roles are “hot” and readily available.

Final thoughts

In summary, I’m hugely grateful for being where I am right now, and I can’t wait to be part of building Validio as a company and as a product. It’s a cliché, but when someone offers you a seat on a rocket ship, don’t hesitate to jump onboard (given there’s a role that fits your strengths). We’re only getting started at Validio and I couldn’t be more excited to be part of building a category-defining company in the world of data.

Stay tuned for more!

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