Optimizely is kicking off a new program where we will spotlight one optimizer who is pushing the boundaries of A/B testing and personalization every month.
This month, we'd like to introduce you to Suma Warrier from Move Inc/Realtor.com, a News Corp company. @SumaW is our User Group leader in San Jose and is constantly looking for ways to turn data into action. I recommend you check out her slides from the last User Group event -- she explained a logistic regression model that was built by the Move Data Science team to understand consumer behavior and how the model was funneled into Optimizely via an API code to target users.
1. When did you start working in the optimization space?
I started in the optimization space around 2007, when Web 2.0 craze was just moving from hype to reality and people were looking for better insights, control, and analytics beyond what is provided by Webtrends, Google etc. In those days, there were a few tools available in the market, but we had to work with vendors to queue tests and then have quarterly reviews. We did not have the kind of immediate turn around we can now have with Optimizely. A lot has changed since then.
2. Do you consider yourself a data-driven person? Are your peers?
When I began this journey - there was little data out there about AB testing. We were only doing it because, let’s be honest, it was a shiny new toy! We looked at test results but never did a deep analysis of why a test worked or not. The goal often was to show how many tests we ran in a quarter. If we got some wins along the way that was considered awesome!
But I quickly learned and started to dig deeper into data and found patterns. Eventually it also helped me realized that I need to have a good hypotheses for test - guesswork, personal preference had no relevancy when data could speak volumes and give us the right direction.
Here with the Realtor.com team (Move Inc), it is great to be part of the analytics and data science team. There is always some discussion around data, to build the right models that help the consumers. Every team from Product Management to User Design is interested in analysis and data to understand if the product feature and designs are working or not and how to quickly learn via AB testing and research tools
3. How would you describe Optimizely to your friend?
I would tell her that it helps me perform “statistical hypothesis testing”. If she asks “what?”, I would point him/her to https://xkcd.com/882/ . We get to do that without wearing a mask and working in a lab for years! ☺
4. What's your favorite Optimizely feature?
Very easy tool to learn, but provides a lot of powerful tools right under the hood. It is a perfect tool for anyone to perform advanced AB testing without a sharp learning curve.
5. Okay, how about least favorite Optimizely feature?
The code editor’s preview could use a faster workflow. Today it has a few too many steps.
6. What would be the impact if you stopped using Optimizely?
Without testing and iterating, no company can survive in the long run in today’s market. We have attributed a significant portion of our annual revenue last year to optimization tests & are poised for even bigger contribution this year. This would all disappear if we stopped using Optimizely.
7. What's a website or app you simply cannot live without?
Apart from the usual ubiquitous tools like Google, Amazon, Netflix I cannot live without Stackoverflow, Optiverse, LinkedIn Groups, Hacker News. It seems I constantly learn something new here.
8. What's the most fearless thing you've ever done (personally or professionally)?
I have led a fairly normal life - no bungee jumps (I like my feet on ground), no cross country treks! You would find me doing two things during my spare time - with a good book curled up indoors or traveling to different places.