Customer Insight Leader podcast

Latest from the Customer Insight Leader podcast (episodes & where to find it)

Welcome to the Customer Insight Leader podcast. An audio podcast designed to complement this blog by enabling you to hear first-hand from today’s leaders. So you can get beyond the spin, to hear what they really do and what has helped them in the real world.

Each episode features Paul Laughlin interviewing one of today’s leaders, working in the field of Data, Analytics, Data Science or Customer Insight. Most are senior “client-side” roles, within large organisations, so you get to hear the reality behind their job title & avoid the hype.

My goal is to provide a real-world view from practitioner leaders. With practical takeaways each episode for everyone, from experienced leaders to those starting out in their data/analytics/data science career.

Episode list (latest 5):

Series 2, Episode 7: Tony Saldanha (skill = Use Cases)

For episode 7 of season 2, I am very excited to welcome my new guest, ⁠Tony Saldanha⁠

Tony is the CEO & co-founder of Inixia, a global standards and certification body for the Shared Services industry. Before that, he ran Procter & Gamble’s famed multi-billion-dollar Global Business Services (GBS) division and IT operations across every region. So, he comes to us with a wealth of commercial & senior leadership experience.

Importantly, Tony has also put his time into educating others and is the author of an excellent book on leading digital transformations, called “Why Digital Transformations Fail” and more recently the co-author of a new book: “Revolutionizing Business Operations: How to Build Dynamic Processes for Enduring Competitive Advantage”.

In our conversation, we explore both lessons from those books (and Tony’s career) as well as what these mean for data leaders. What could it mean for data leaders to focus on processes not just data products? Why should data leaders see their main calling as delivering use cases?

Plenty of wisdom for data professionals with all levels of experience. Well worth considering Tony’s challenge to not be a bureaucrat but rather transform your processes to change your team & organisation.

Series 2, Episode 6: Tristan Mobbs (skill = Simplification)

For episode 6 of series 2, I am joined by Tristan Mobbs who will be known to regular readers of this blog (here is a link to all his guest blog posts).

Tristan is Kite Packaging’s Data and Analytics Manager and has over 10 years experience of working in data-related roles. He started out in energy forecasting before moving on to roles within construction, pharmaceuticals, and now packaging. Tristan focuses on ensuring that we use data effectively for business benefit without getting too distracted by all the shiny new technologies.

In this conversation, Tristan & I explore his career story, focus on business processes and the value of simplifying the technical. He honestly shares with us both his triumphs and his challenges. Tristan really brings to life the value of data leaders developing the skill of simplification.

Series 2, Episode 5: Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic (skill = Communication)

For episode 5 of this second series, I am proud to welcome Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic as my guest. She is most famous as the globally praised author of ‘Storytelling with Data’ (SWD).

For over a decade, Cole and her team at SWD have delivered interactive learning sessions sought after by data-minded individuals and organizations all over the world. Now she has published a new book, Storytelling with You, which we explore in this episode alongside hearing her own back story.

Listen out for tips on introducing yourself, getting better as a presenter or trainer and why presence matters. Cole’s wealth of experience shines through as she helps us realise the need to also develop ourselves if we are to be effective communicators.

Series 2, Episode 4: Rob Winters (skill = Joining the dots)

For episode 4 of our new season, Rob Winters joins me from the Netherlands. Rob has been working in data for almost 20 years (across both the USA & the Netherlands) at businesses including Miro, Naval, Travel Bird & Spil Games. He’s also led data programmes for over 12 years in multiple companies across several industries. His hands-on data roles have included data analyst, data engineer & data scientist. Plus, Rob has recently made the transition (that many data leaders dream about) starting work as an independent consultant. Today he helps businesses develop a higher proficiency in data.

During our conversation, we explored the softer skills which have been key to Rob’s development as a data leader. He cites examples of the importance of negotiation, tailoring your approach to each person, prioritisation and saying no. He also shared his personal experience as to the effectiveness of journaling. But the unifying theme of this conversation was the power of data leaders joining the dots. How to see the big picture in terms of commercial needs and join those dots. How to get to know your stakeholders & team members, to join some more dots between commercial and personal development needs.

Rob concludes by explaining what he means by even joining the dots that aren’t there yet (the need for a specific data vision, rather than vague wishes). Plenty of practical wisdom to prompt us all.

Series 2, Episode 3: Brian O’Neill (skill = Empathy in Design)

For episode 3, I am joined by Brian O’Neill who is the self-styled “UX for Data Products guy“. He’s the founder of Designing for Analytics, an independent consultancy helping data leaders turn their data into valuable data products. Through his UX consulting, speaking and design training, he’s helped launch several software companies (Apptopia,, Akorri) and has worked with businesses including DellEMC, Tripadvisor & Fidelity. 

Brian hosts the Experiencing Data podcast & advises for MIT’s Sandbox Innovation Fund. Plus, he leads a double life as a professional percussionist where he’s played with The Who and Donna Summer. So, a unique personality to talk with as we explore the “real skills” that data leaders need.

During our conversation we explore the need for softer skills in data leaders, beyond their technical expertise. This includes the challenge of hiring for such skills not just technical screening. Brian focusses on getting to know the person you are serving with your work. Not just as a set of requirements or role, but as an individual. What is in it for them personally? How can your design effort help them achieve that too? Empathy in Design thinking if you will. 

How to access earlier episodes

For earlier episodes, you can search the full episode lists on each of the podcasting platforms below. You can also use these platforms to subscribe so that new episodes will be automatically downloaded for your listening pleasure. Enjoy!

Available on these platforms

To access (and hopefully subscribe to) the Customer Insight Leader podcast, just choose your favourite podcast platform from the selection below:

(1) Apple podcasts

(2) Spotify

(3) Amazon podcasts

(4) Google Podcasts

(5) Overcast

(6) Radio Public

(7) Pocket Casts

(8) Castbox

(9) Anchor

Hope you enjoy that, let me know your feedback

I hope you find our new podcast helpful & perhaps encouraging. Do let me know any feedback or suggestions for content/guests. If you are a practitioner leader in the fields of Data, Analytics, Customer Insight or Data Science & would like to be a guest, please get in touch.

The music for our podcast was kindly released for free reuse by Purple Planet Music. It is entitled “Being Happy” with HiFi download available.

Happy listening & I look forward to any comments you may have.