I got turned on by what analytics could do in grad school
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It was at the University of Iowa, a pioneer in set-top boxes. These early data collectors were used to test television commercials. It was amazing—tying mass media ads to actual household level sales of grocery items.
Meet Scott Ulring, in many ways his graduate degree took place at Fingerhut, an early adopter of Big Data. “The analytics group was very systematic. It was a real education.” Ulring shares. “It was also no nirvana. The executives pressed us, tested us against outside analytic groups. It was deliver or die trying and we knew it.”
He consulted for companies here and abroad continuing his career at Carlson Companies, another real world laboratory, before founding Stone Arch Bridge Group with Douglas in 2007.
Scott was influenced by Kaplan and Norton and the emerging six sigma trends. He saw positives and negatives in bothbut realized, too often, measurement is not well connected to strategy at an enterprise level, that it is little more than window dressing or it becomes the science of mining data for small wins, focusing on efficiency rather than effectiveness. That more focused and strategic measurement could drive enterprise success across functional areas. “This is why we founded the business.” says Ulring.
His inspirations are many. He gravitates towards poly-maths who cross disciplines. His heros are those willing to subject their limited ability to reason against the crucible of scientific method and actual real world outcomes. “I find that people who have done this for real are both
humble and wise in ways that others are not.” states Scott. He believes most great thinkers are divergent thinkers before they become convergent— navigating the spaces in between, relentlessly pursuing the greater, but much less tidy wisdom of how things actually work like Darwin, Einstein, and more recently Tversky and Khaneman, Behavioral Psychologists turned Nobel Prize winning Economists.
Meet cofounder Douglas Donaldson, who started his career in manufacturing but decided a better plan was to evolve into a business executive. So, with an MBA from the University of St. Thomas, he took jobs in sales, production and planning establishing his first startup in 1980 in Mexico.
Douglas continued his corporate executive career untill 1990 when he started his first consulting practice around strategic planning and the use of customer information.
In 2007 Donaldson and Ulring formed The Stone Arch Bridge Group focusing on customer growth—the most strategically critical need of organizations.
What’s the best part of being a mirobusiness? We are responsible for what we accomplish. The hardest part? Continually improving the value we provide clients.
- Favorite song? The next one that moves me…
- One word that describes you? Revolutionary, I have been told…
- Wwish you would have tried? I wish there had been soccer in Iowa when I grew up…I picked up Ultimate Frisbee in ’87 and love it, a great game….
- Like to meet in an elevator? I agree with my partner, John Kerry.
- Favorite saying, quote or expression? “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die” Nelson Mandela
- Introvert, extrovert or ambivert? Introvert.
- Birthorder Youngest of five. Four years between.
- Favorite song? It’s a wonderful life.
- One word that describes you? Engaged.
- Wish you would have tried? Living in more foreign countries.
- Like to meet in an elevator? John Kerry.
- Favorite saying, quote or expression? One day at a time.
- Introvert, extrovert or ambivert? A little of each – in the middle of intro/extro- vert.
- Birthorder. Number 3 of 4.
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