Web Summit 2019: Appier COO Winnie Lee speaks at the world’s largest technology conference

Appier COO Winnie Lee was invited to speak at Web Summit and she was in good company- the speaker list included politicians, celebrities and C-suite executives from prominent global organizations.

Web Summit has been called the most important technology event in the world, and it’s certainly the largest with 70,000 attendees- huge growth from the first event in 2010 which had about 400 people!

This year our COO Winnie Lee was invited to speak at Web Summit and she was in good company- the speaker list included politicians, celebrities and C-suite executives from prominent global organizations. 

On Wednesday November 6, Winnie first joined a panel on the Binate.io Stage entitled ‘Big Data = Big Gains?’. The panel, moderated by Recode’s Rani Molla, aimed to uncover how effective use of data can help businesses stay relevant and competitive.

The panel began by diving straight into use cases in which data-driven decision making led to positive business results. Karthic Bala, Chief Data Officer of Conde Nast, shared how Conde Nast used data insights to address the concerns of its more mature audience- namely healthcare- by developing and distributing content that met that audience’s needs. Winnie told the story of Neogence, an Appier client who used our AI to drive sales around Singles Day 2018, and in doing so uncovered new insights about its audience, leading to the development of new product lines and longer-term marketing strategies. Ilan Twig, CTO of TripActions shared that effective analysis of customer data before they onboard- predicting what customers are likely to spend on business travel, for example- makes customer onboarding extremely smooth later on. 

The group also addressed internal challenges when it comes to encouraging management to act on what the data is telling them. Both Karthic and Winnie agreed that it’s about empowering people to take ownership of their own data and learn how to work with it. From Appier’s point of view, this means making it simple for our clients to us our AI solutions so that it’s easy for them to analyze and act on the data. 

Of course, no data discussion is complete without touching on the topics of privacy, regulation and trust. All the panellists agreed that instilling trust in customers in vital, and of course a big part of doing this is to comply with all laws and regulations. However, there are ways to show people how having access to their data can lead to more positive outcomes for them. For example, Xandr (part of AT&T) Chief Legal Officer Lori Fink explained that when customer calls drop, they are given the option to share their location so that Xandr and AT&T can directly asses if there’s a problem on the network, improving service in the future. 

Ilan highlighted that while it’s important to be clear in writing about how data is used, ultimately it comes down to how brands behave. They need to consistently demonstrate responsibility and make it a core pillar of the business. Winnie emphasized that clear regulations will ultimately be a good thing to help both businesses and consumers gain confidence about effective and safe use of data. 

After the panel, Winnie held a keynote session on the Growth Stage where she told the Appier story. The audience was keen to hear how Appier has achieved its success to date and overcome the inevitable challenges that face startup businesses. Winnie shared that although she and the co-founders had boundless enthusiasm for and extensive education in AI, they were new to the business world, and it took a lot of learning and pivoting to find Appier’s sweet spot. She shared a few other lessons learned, particularly that it’s important to listen closely to your customers’ needs and be willing to be flexible and adjust your vision to deliver something they really need. She also emphasized that having the right talent is vital and must be a priority for entrepreneurs- don’t settle for quick hires who are not the right fit. Winnie also encouraged the entrepreneurs in the audience to stay strong when challenges arise- each time a problem is solved, it boosts confidence for the next one!

Finally, Winnie shared Appier’s vision for the future, including continued investment in talent, market expansion and product innovation. She asked the audience to stay tuned for exciting news from Appier coming soon!

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