Economic Insights and Analytics Leader | Data Science | Data Strategist | Instructor
Currently, the Head of Experimentation, Economic Insights, and Analytics at Yelp. Mr. Weber also advises and teaches at Product Faculty and Propulsion Academy, after teaching for years in academia.
Eric worked in senior leadership and individual contributor roles at Yelp, LinkedIn, and CoreLogic after an academic career as an assistant professor. He enjoys working with data, educating others about data’s value and helping people excel in technical roles.
Eric has a PhD and Masters in mathematics from ASU, a Masters in Business Analytics from University of Minnesota, and is currently completing the executive MBA at University of Chicago-Booth.
What attracted you to data management or IT, and why did you choose to pursue this career?
Since the day I learned about data science, I have been fascinated by the asset that makes it all possible: the data. The way we collect, curate, evaluate and update data as it makes its way into different data products is a science. The algorithms and models we build depend on it, and that has massive implications for the future.
What has been your greatest career accomplishment so far, and why has it been important to your career?
I am so fortunate to have the opportunities I do and my greatest achievement is finding ways to enable others to have the same opportunities and platforms that I have gotten to experience. My greatest accomplishment is seeing the growth of people I manage, directly or indirectly, and seeing the positive impact they have on the companies they lead.
What are the two or three biggest challenges you face as a data management professional / CDO and how can we address them?
While there are multiple challenges in this space, the single biggest one is companies understanding the value proposition and need to invest in fundamental data management. Everyone wants the next big thing, the next AI, the next ML technique, the best data product. But getting those has a cost. People need to trust the data that flows into those products and algorithms. As a field and in our organizations, we need to continually focus on helping people understand that value proposition, and the risk present when companies do not focus on it.
How do you see data management / the role of the CDO / IT changing in the next 2 – 3 years?
The CDO role is made up of so many responsibilities that it is hard to see it going in a single direction. What I am confident in is the CDO will need to act more in the capacity of a Chief Product Officer for data. Data is a valuable asset; companies build products around it and it requires people who think like product managers to truly unlock data’s value long term. I predict we will see several technical people from the product space move into CDO-type roles in the near future.
Do you have any planned next steps for your career?
My next steps are uncertain right now, but I do not anticipate a massive amount of change. I am really focused on how to keep teaching in different settings. While I do not have any plans to move professionally, I find a lot of value in working with business schools to help them think about the things we deal with in industry, from experimentation to analytics and beyond.
What is the single best piece of advice you have received in your data management / IT career so far? Why has it been so important to you?
You are always a teacher. In the data and technical space, we work with products and assets that are black boxes for many. We gain a great deal from approaching our work with a teaching mindset and bringing a good attitude of helping others make sense of the things we know well. Being a teacher is part of my identity and I have been able to see that it does not always require being in a formal classroom to make that happen.
Can you share something about yourself as a person that people wouldn’t know about you?
I write a lot and have done a lot of education. But my happy place is outdoors. I absolutely love the mountains and cannot think of a better place to spend my time.
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