Podcast

Episode: 478 |
Brad Schneider:
Find the Data You Need:
Episode
478

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Brad Schneider

Find the Data You Need

Show Notes

Brad Schneider ran a data analytics firm for five years before founding Nomad Data in New York City where he is currently CEO. His experience includes but is not limited to HR technology engineer at Goldman Sachs, an equity analyst at Palo Alto Investors and Aragon Global Management, and CEO of the software company Adaptive Management. In today’s episode, Brad shares insights on how to find the data you need. You can learn more about Brad’s company at Nomad-Data.com.

Key points include:

  • 01:12: How the Nomad Data network works
  • 04:13: The vendors of data – who they are
  • 06:45: The company pricing model
  • 08:35: Surprising data sources

 

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

 

  1. Brad Schneider

 

Will Bachman 00:01

Hello, and welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host will Bachman and I’m here today with Brad Schneider who runs nomad. Brad, welcome to the show.

 

Brad Schneider 00:13

Thanks for having me.

 

Will Bachman 00:15

So Brad, you told me that Nomad is like an expert network for finding data. Tell me more about that.

 

Brad Schneider 00:23

Absolutely. So we work with a lot of investment firms, management consultancies, and there are things they need to know about the world, how certain products are performing, how certain markets are developing, what’s market share, and they don’t know where to find data that would tell them these things. And so you can think of us as an expert network, but to connect knowledge workers with companies that have data to address the knowledge needs that they have. So almost like a GLG for for data. And so we work with 1000 different data vendors across the globe, covering everything imaginable. And our goal is to understand all the different uses of these datasets. So when our customers have needs, we can make the correct connection. And it’s all online and all automated.

 

Will Bachman 01:09

So how does it work?

 

Brad Schneider 01:12

So a customer signs up for our site, they can do that online, create an account describing their consulting firm, for example. And then they literally type out their use case for data. Now, for example, you know, we need to track, you know, breakdowns of equipment in the auto manufacturing industry. And we need a data set that can do that more, we need to understand every company in the United States that does X, Y, and Z, we need to know their phone number, their email address, we need to track micro economic indicators for New York City. And you just describe your need. And rather than endlessly searching on Google to find that dataset, and probably unsuccessfully, you merely describe the use case, our machine learning and natural language processing engine looks at that search matches it to roughly five of our 1000 providers. And those providers and login, they review the use case, and if it’s a fit for their data, they’ll respond. And so you are only speaking to the people that have what you need. And you are not spending hours endlessly looking for it.

 

Will Bachman 02:20

Okay, so they respond and then as a user as a consultant using the service. So I can go back and forth with the different vendors. How How does, how do you kind of know in advance if it’s going to be what you need? Do you get to see like a sample of the data? Or? Or how does that whole negotiation back and forth work? Yeah, so

 

Brad Schneider 02:44

we we ended the point where we made the introduction between you and the sellers that you want to connect with. But typically, the way the process works is, you would request some some type of sample data, some type of data around correlation of the specific metrics to reported metrics, if you are tracking a company or an economy. And when you are comfortable that that is the accuracy that you need, then you would go ahead and purchase either a subscription or a one time data dump, it just depends on what kind of data we’re talking about.

 

Will Bachman 03:16

Okay. And do you typically get to actually, you know, buy the data and have it? Or do they kind of rent it to you where you can maybe do an analysis on it, but you don’t actually get to calve the Excel file? How does that I’ve actually never, you know, purchase data. Occasionally, I’ll buy like an Excel sheet of some information. But so how does this work of buying data from a data vendor?

 

Brad Schneider 03:43

Sure, I mean, it comes in a lot of different formats. One could be as simple as an Excel file, they could summarize this complex thing and give you the answer. Some companies sell you a user interface where you can log in and interrogate the data. And for more demanding use cases, they might deliver, you know, a very large file in a CSV, which they may put on an FTP or an s3 bucket on Amazon. And then you’d need a little bit more advanced approach to work with.

 

Will Bachman 04:13

Who are these vendors of data?

 

Brad Schneider 04:18

Again, we work with about 1000 vendors. So you know, it’s everyone in the world. It’s the Nielsen the IRI guys. The NPD is the GF Ks, the big the big guys, Bloomberg definitives. The fact sets all the way down to companies that are one or two people based in Eastern Europe or South America that are all tracking something very specific. It’s extremely broad.

 

Will Bachman 04:42

Can you I mean, you shared a few earlier, but could you maybe share some use cases or share some success stories or case studies?

 

Brad Schneider 04:55

Yeah, so for example, we had a client that wanted very granular cross information for specific cities in the United States. And typically, that data is only available as a risk score, as opposed to an actual feed of this crime happened on this date in this location. And that that firm was able to use our product to find somebody that actually could supply that, you know, we’ve had clients look for labeled medical images, which they’re using the train machine learning algorithms, we’ve had people look to track certain direct to consumer health products, they want to understand, how are they selling? How are they doing versus competition, and then we need to see this on a on a weekly if not daily basis. Those are some examples. We’ve had people that want to track employment history of, you know, every senior executive in the Fortune 500. They want to know, you know, their their career history, they want to know, what schools they went to. And then they’re using that for some type of analysis. Those are just some examples. I mean, the common the common use cases tend to be around market sizes, market share specific consumer information, so that we can reach out to a certain audience or for b2b sales, it could be, you know, I need a list of businesses that look like this, because that’s who we want to sell to. And I don’t know a good way to generate that list. But again, it’s it’s so broad. I mean, right now we’re working, you know, to have defined insurance losses of a particular type of equipment in a particular industry. And the client needs data sets around that.

 

Will Bachman 06:32

And you mentioned that you make the connection to the seller, and then you’re out of it. What’s your pricing model? Are you charging the searchers for data, the sellers of data, how does your subscription or how do your fees work?

 

Brad Schneider 06:45

Today, we just charge the searchers. So it’s a $300 a month flat fee to use the platform, and there’s no commitment, you can literally sign up for a month and go from there.

 

Will Bachman 06:56

Okay. How have you been finding the sellers of data and getting them to, you know, on? How, yeah, have you found those 1000, folks.

 

Brad Schneider 07:07

So I actually started another business in this space, basically working with these data companies to make their data more digestible. So I had known hundreds of them through that business. And then you know, we use a combination, in some cases, we scrape the web, we crawl the web to find more, in many cases that are coming to us. You know, very often times when we reach out to potential clients, to see if they want to buy data, it turns out that they’re interested in selling some of their data. I had a conversation this morning with a retailer in Benelux that was looking to sell some internal data that they had, talking to one of the largest carriers in Europe, about making their data available. So we get a lot of a lot of outbound that turns into inbound for data provider requests. And then on top of that, we have a research team where if a search is not matching enough providers, or we feel like we need more depth, to actually go out and recruit new providers in that space,

 

Will Bachman 08:06

you mentioned that you’re working with some larger consulting firms. And for those sorts of is it sort of $300 per month per seat I imagined, so that wouldn’t be obviously per firm.

 

Brad Schneider 08:18

Correct, it’s $300 per seat a month.

 

Will Bachman 08:22

So tell me a little bit about, you know, some kind of data sources that you’ve discovered along the way that just would be that are surprising to you that that they exist.

 

Brad Schneider 08:35

I’ve been doing this for a while. So I’m gonna have to say what used to surprise me. I think some of the geolocation data is a little shocking if you’ve not seen it before. So this is data coming off your cell phone that keeps track of near real time location for billions of people across the globe. Everybody’s phone is basically sending out things to the carriers to different applications. And this data is aggregated to produce some very interesting metrics. For example, I can see, you know, over a two year period, let’s say during COVID, how many people moved out of New York City? Where did they go? These sort of things were very hard to track in the past, you know, in terms of customer defections, you know, shopping at one store and going to another store, that data is aggregated to be able to do things like that. And if you’ve never seen it before, it’s it’s pretty incredible what you can see.

 

Will Bachman 09:29

That’s amazing. Have you noticed some trends of you know, certain types of consulting firms or consultants, just getting very expert at how to use these newer sources of data and like the types of newer types of insights they’re able to generate?

 

Brad Schneider 09:49

Yeah, we’re seeing all the big guys move in this direction. You just have such better granularity on what’s going on and then one did before you know again, to use the expert network analysis In one case, you’re being connected with a person who can give you color on what’s going on in the market. In the case of data, it’s not really color, it’s giving you the exact answer. It’s literally telling you, you know, this person is doing this thing, this business is growing exactly this much, whether or not they’re disclosing that information. So I think it’s becoming much have. Because if you don’t have access to this type of data, you’re at such a disadvantage. And so I think a lot of consulting firms are building out very, very large teams, in the in the 10s, of millions of spend a year already. And, you know, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that some of them start to break 100 million a year and spend on this area.

 

Will Bachman 10:37

Wow, that’s amazing. And what’s the broader landscape that you’re operating in? Are there, you know, other firms like yours are ones taking a different approach? There’s, I mean, one that just comes to mind that people would probably ask me about would be STATISTICA, how does what you’re doing differ from from them, because I mean, obviously, they’re selling a survey per month fee just for the data that they have. They’re not being a broker, but what maybe characterize some of the other firms out there, and how and how you’re different.

 

Brad Schneider 11:11

Sure, they’re in our minds, a data supplier, they sell data. So we have a collection of 1000 statistics that TISA sells one kind of data, they’re scraping that mostly off the web, but it’s a very specific type of data. If I need, you know, data on what’s going on in television, you know, very specific information, that’s not something that they would have, if I need to know something about lumber mills, very specific information on what equipment they’re ordering, that’s not something they would have at something someone else would have. And so when, when you think about all these different areas where one needs expertise, there’s no one data provider that covers everything, even the largest data providers are only covering a very small area. And so our job is to help stitch that together. So that consultant doesn’t need to be an expert in all those different microcosms of data, they just come to us with their use case. And our system worries about knowing about all the things that exist out there.

 

Will Bachman 12:07

What are some of your tips for consultants, when they interact with a data provider of, you know, just sort of to make sure that you’re getting what you need. And of course, that discussion and negotiation in any any recommendations.

 

Brad Schneider 12:25

I’ve been transparent transparency is probably the biggest one, if if the data companies understand what your goal is, they’re going to be in a better position to let you know if their data is going to be a fit. And potentially give it to you in a format that that’s going to make your job as easy as possible. The vaguer you are, the more work you’re probably going to have to put in to transform what they give you. And there’s more of a risk that what they do give you is not an exact fit for what you need.

 

Will Bachman 12:52

All right, fantastic. So for consultants that want to learn more, you know, where would you point them online.

 

Brad Schneider 13:02

So there’s a decent bit of information on our site, which is Nomad, and no Ma, d dash data, da ta calm, goes through some of the use cases. A little bit of color, sort of how the process works. But again, it’s a very simple to use application, you can literally sign up on our sites and start playing with it.

 

Will Bachman 13:22

Alright, fantastic. Well, thank you so much for joining us a great discussion and we’ll include that link in the show notes.

 

Brad Schneider 13:31

Great. Thanks for having me. Well,

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