Experience Lead PlaceOS
Data is what helps people to connect with technology, even if they don’t see what’s happening behind the scenes to make this connection possible.
Q. How did you initially get a job in PlaceOS? (Emma, Babinda State School)
A. I was hired by PlaceOS after my (now boss) Jon McFarlane, who is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of PlaceOS, contacted me on LinkedIn after seeing the content I had been posting online. Jon lives in Sydney and I live in Brisbane, so we had a quick chat via video conference and then I started with the company a couple of weeks later.
Q. You studied mathematics at university, what mathematics did you take in high school? (Emma, Babinda State School)
A. The schools I went to only offered one maths class option up until Grade 10, but in Grade 11 and 12 I did Maths B and Maths C (replaced last year by Mathematical Methods and Specialist Mathematics).
I actually found Maths C a bit easier than Maths B because it was great to dive deeper into concepts and I loved the problem solving aspect.
Q. What types of mathematics do you need for your job? Chelsea, Hervey Bay State High School
A. I use lots of statistics and set theory, but also I use lots of creative problem solving skills that I really developed during my maths education at school and university. It’s a great skill to be able to break a problem down into smaller pieces, and then work through solving each piece to get to the final result.
Q. I am interested in data analysis and communication yet have no interest in programming, would there still be opportunities in this field? (Allegra, Stanthorpe State High School)
A. There’s still opportunities but I really would urge you to reconsider a blanket-ban on programming!
It’s sort of like food in a way – there’s some things that you won’t like the taste of initially that will grow on you over time, and there’s lots of different options to try! Opening yourself up to trying new foods (and learning new programming languages!) is fun and really worthwhile, and can open up lots of new adventures as your career progresses.
Q. Why did you decide to complete further training in marketing and behavioural science? Were you already employed at PlaceOS when you started this training, or did you need this training to get this position? (Bernice, Southport SHS)
A. While I was studying maths at university I also worked as an international fashion model. It was great to have a creative outlet and meet lots of new people, and I got really interested in the other side of the marketing campaigns that I was being booked to model.
It was interesting to understand how these campaigns were put together, and I got really excited by the idea of tying this together with data so I built up lots of knowledge over time.
Q. What kind of data do you work with? (Marni, Atherton SHS)
A. I work for PlaceOS which is a smart building and smart workplace technology platform – essentially it gets all of the technology within a building to ‘play nicely’ with each other so we can create and automate digital experiences for the building users and owners..
Data comes from all sorts of sensors and hardware – from car parks to lifts and doors, and locating people in a building using their wifi connection.
We tie all of this together to tell a story about how the people in the building are choosing to interact with the space.
Q. Why do you believe that UX is so important for a business to consider? (Emma, Babinda State School)
UX (user experience) is really important – what’s the point of having a product or service if no one knows how to use it?
Designing products that put the user first means that you stay focused on what’s important, and it makes sure you’re super driven towards continuing to improve over time.
Q. How do you respond if people say data is boring?
A. I used to get this a lot!
I think a lot of people think data is boring because they’ve told themselves for a long time that “maths isn’t for me” or they might not understand how influential data actually is.
Data is a key piece of the puzzle for every industry – from fashion, to sports, to all of the apps that lots of people use every day like Instagram and Zoom. Data is what helps people to connect with technology, even if they don’t see what’s happening behind the scenes to make this connection possible.
Q. How important have your marketing and consumer behaviour skills been in making people listen to your data stories?
A. When people ask me what I do for work, I say that I talk to people to find the questions and talk to data to find the answers.
I’m a big believer that there’s no point getting great results with data if no one cares when you tell them about the results.
Understanding what’s important to people and how they make decisions is key when you need to present results in a way that makes people listen and remember.
Q. What got you interested in data and mathematics as a career?
A. I have always really liked problem solving, and I’ve always been really creative, but I didn’t really know when I was younger that these were the key parts of being a mathematician!
I grew up in regional Queensland, I wasn’t really aware of any careers within data and maths as a child. That all changed when I moved to Brisbane to study and got to meet lots of really talented people!
Q. Where did you think a degree in science and mathematics would lead you when you started your university course?
A. Honestly I had no idea where it would lead me, but I was really excited to find out!
A lot of people just kept telling me I’d never get a job with a Bachelor of Science with an extended major in Mathematics but I’m really happy I never let this get to me.
Data is involved in every industry, and I’ve been really lucky to apply my skills to solve lots of different problems in different industries.
A lot of the jobs I’ve had are new roles working with new technology, so they didn’t even exist when I started my degree. I think it’s more helpful to focus on the tools that you can use to solve problems, and then keep an open mind when looking for roles and industries that have problems for you to solve, or systems for you to optimise.
I talk to people to find the questions and talk to data to find the answers!
I’m Experience Lead at PlaceOS, a global Smart Workplace Technology Platform. Essentially, this means I combine my formal mathematics training with professional experience in UX, Marketing, Consumer Behaviour, Behavioural Economics, Web Optimisation and Persuasive Communication to help people get the most out of data generated by their smart buildings.
Overall, I specialise in researching & developing technically robust UX that helps “non-data people” harness the power of data and communicate this effectively.
I graduated from The University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Science – Extended Major in Mathematics, and I’ve since done further training in data science, programming, cloud computing, UX, Marketing and Behavioural Science. The intersection of my curiosity, creativity and analytical skills is where the magic happens, and I harness this skill stack to optimise business processes through mathematics layered with persuasive storytelling and visualisations.