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 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. 

Series 2, Episode 2: Dr Andrew Rogoyski (skill = Translator)

In episode 2, we explore the softer skill of being an effective translator between technical teams and the broader organisation they serve. My guest for this conversation is Dr Andrew Rogoyski whose experience spans 30 years in industry, government and academia. Originally a physicist at the Rutherford Appleton Lab, Andrew joined Logica at the height of the early AI boom, a decade later moving to space consultancy Esys and next became MD of QinetiQ’s Space Division. He’s subsequently worked as a strategist, including a secondment to the Cabinet Office, a Vice President of cyber security (where AI methods were used for threat detection), and an Innovation Director, developing a number of products and services that utilised leading-edge AI techniques. 

Andrew returned to academia as Director of Innovation at Surrey University’s new Institute of People-Centred Artificial Intelligence. There leads a group that leverages the University’s 35 years in AI by creating AI solutions that focus on delivering benefits to people and society.

In this episode, we explore both the need for such a Translator role & how you can develop or maintain the skill and attitude needed for it to flourish. I hope some of the insights shared help business leaders and those leading data, analytics or AI teams. My thanks to Andrew for sharing his wisdom with us.

Series 2, Episode 1: John Conway (skill = Listener)

To help me kick off Season Two, I am joined by John Conway the founder of iota-ML. John has worked in marketing analytics since the early 2000s. His roles have supported RSA Insurance, MoneySupermarket & Cardlytics, before his agency experience and then setting up his own businesses.

He went on to work on Loyalty and Big Data before latterly becoming an independent consultant. His current projects include personal assignments, advisory positions, running a data studio company, as well as being the MD and co-founder of iota-ML, a machine learning platform for marketers.

In this episode, we drill down on the softer skill that John prioritises. Listening. We explore why developing that skill has been crucial to his success, not just his technical knowledge. I hope there is something to help everyone in this episode, from those new to analytics & seasoned data leaders.

Episode 69: Jesse Anderson (Big Data Institute)

In episode 69, I’m joined by Jesse Anderson from Lisbon. Jesse is the founder of the Managing Director of the Big Data Institute and we chat about how Data Engineering especially has developed over the years. Plus, Jesse has some challenging things to say to the training industry.

Jesse explains why leaders need to be clear on the depth of data engineering skills they require & the vital role of specialism in this field. He also shares the results from his latest annual survey of data teams which you can find here:

A self-taught data leader, Jesse’s practical perspective & technical depth is well worth hearing in a data science world that can be in danger of valuing qualifications above delivered value. 

Episode 68: Aubrey HB (Nationwide Building Society)

On episode 68 I chat with Aubrey HB. She is the Director of Advanced Analytics for the Nationwide Building Society in the UK.  Since completing her PhD in Pure Maths, Aubrey’s career has evolved into establishing and growing centralised advanced analytics capabilities that serve entire organisations. Her experience spans roles in Telecoms, Publishing, Entertainment, Healthcare and now Financial Services.

In this conversation, as well as exploring Aubrey’s career story, we consider different lessons from her experience. Do we need more of a focus on mathematical & scientific rigour in data science? Do data scientists & their leaders need to get closer to the organisations that they serve? Is it the leader’s responsibility to curate materials to help develop their teams and to select work that will help them grow their technical skills?

Aubrey has plenty of engaging advice to share with us. It’s also fascinating to hear her take on working in the UK compared to the USA where she built her data career. Prepare to appreciate some of the benefits that we have here (or consider moving here yourself).

How to get more…

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.