Back in grad school, Informs was the conference for those of us in Operations Research (aka optimization) looking to share our research each year and connect with the community. It’s been over 10 years since I attended my last Informs (I’ve focused more on machine learning specifically ever since - even though that is a large part of Informs, it’s also central to other conferences) and this week I am back! This time at the Informs Business Analytics conference, focused on practitioners, conveniently located in Denver this year.

One of my friends from the data community, Zohar Strinka, invited me to speak in the session she organized around “SaaS & Technology”. My talk is about the challenges of SaaS in the Creator Economy, focusing on lessons learned in this space as part of my role as CTO at Pex.

My biggest lesson learned is around how to balance innovation (investing in new machine learning projects, that might not pan out) with less risky execution (shipping a product that customers love and will pay for). The tl;dr is that you need to do both, and you need to structure your teams appropriately to cultivate both.