I Am Merkle is a series of interviews that showcase the incredible individuals who make Merkle a unique and diverse place to work. This week we chatted to William Storey, data and analytics director, at Merkle based in the London office.
1. Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
I am born and bred Northerner who grew up in sunny Blackburn before heading off to study Maths at Newcastle University. After 3 fantastic years in the Toon, I packed up and headed down to London with nothing but a suitcase to start my adult life! I wasn’t quite sure what I was after, I’d just always been attracted to the idea of living in the middle of it all and escaping suburbia.
2. What drew you to your current career?
My previous role didn’t push me as much as I’d hoped for and I was finding it hard to motivate myself when I was in the office. Then I came across Merkle and the impression I got from a few conversations with them was fantastic. They were interested in more than just a professional relationship and seemed to really care about their employees well-being and career satisfaction. I’d always wanted to work in a role where I could put my degree to good use and Merkle really needed a new analyst to help kick-start their Media Science division.
3. Why Merkle?
Merkle stood out to me as being a company where it’s greatest asset was its people. It was clear that they valued their employees more than anything else and that by being a part of their team I’d be joining a company that would make me happy to go to work every day.
4. Tell us a bit more about your journey with us.
I first started as a member of the newly created Media Science team, which was – at the time – only 4 people strong. We didn’t really know what our offering was except “use our analytics backgrounds to help the media teams carry out their great work in a more data-driven way”. Over the years the team developed both in size and in offering and we now offering best in class solutions across attribution, audience frameworks, incrementality test, econometrics and analytics strategy, to name a few.
5. What do you enjoy most about Media/Data Science? And what do you think future developments will be?
What I enjoy the most is the freedom to be as good as you can be. If you have a new way of doing something that nobody has though of before – go ahead and try it. If you want to upskill in Python or in machine learning, you have 20% of your time at work which you can dedicate to doing so. If you want to start leading more client engagements we’ll try and make that a reality for you. There is no limit to your potential in the Media Science team.
In terms of future developments, the world is shifting away from reliance on cookies as people’s privacy becomes a issue which is taken more and more seriously. We are now focusing our efforts on solutions which don’t interfere with individuals privacy and rely less on the ability to have tracking set-up.
6. What would your advice be to somebody considering a career in your team?
You need a passion for data and analytics, want to be able to learn new things every day and have to be happy to talk to our wonderful clients on a regular basis to make sure they’re being well looked after. Aside from that, we’re open to as diverse a group of people as possible.
7. What is your greatest accomplishment?
I recently managed to do 8 press-ups with somebody sat on my back whilst I was on my stag do – it was caught on video thankfully because nobody wanted to believe me (I didn’t really believe myself).
8. What was your dream job growing up?
Aside from wanting to be literally James Bond for an embarrassing amount of time, I actually really wanted to be a detective when I was growing up, which is definitely a by-product of watching too much CSI. After realising that I’m not the most observant person in the world, I decided to focus on maths instead, given the huge range of opportunities that opened up to me. I can’t say that growing up I knew that the role I’m in even existed but, if I did, I think this is the job I would have wanted!
9. How do you like your eggs?
Depends on the mood – scrambled if I’m in a hurry, fried if I’m hungover, poached if I’m feeling fancy!
10. What are you currently watching on Netflix/Prime?
Currently watching Dexter on NowTV – a bit old-school but really addictive.
11. What’s your guilty pleasure?
I tell my wife that she can stick Gogglebox on the TV if I’m in a generous mood… but secretly I love it as much as she does, I just don’t want her to know!
12. What is your dream holiday destination?
I would love to go on a safari in Africa – I’ve never done anything like that before and I just think it would be amazing.
13. Best advice or mantra you live by?
No problem is impossible to resolve – you just haven’t thought of the solution yet.