July 2016, New York
Each month we hold an informal Q+A with one of our associates. This month we caught up with Dinyar M.
You can view Dinyar’s full associate profile here.
You live in New York City, is that where you are from originally?
I was born in Scotland and moved between the US and Continental Europe throughout my childhood. It was an amazing experience that exposed me to many cultures and lifestyles. Austin, TX is now my primary home, but I find myself in New York City much of the time.
What made you choose to study at University of Texas, Austin?
The first dotcom boom hit Austin hard and I spent my senior year of high school working at a startup. I stayed in Austin after graduation to see it through (and hoped to retire at 20). That didn’t quite happen and we did not survive the dotcom crash. However, the Management Information Systems program at UT’s business school is one of the best in the country and was an excellent choice. It helped me build a great foundation in business and technology.
What was your first ever job?
I was a courier, doing pickup and delivery for the local newspaper. My job quickly transitioned to running their network and helping them make the shift to digital publishing. An interesting time for that industry.
Who are 42Stats, and how did it get started?
My family moved around so much when I was young, primarily as a result of organizational changes in the companies my parents worked for. That process fascinated me. As a result of being curious about organizational design and Shared Services, I began partnering with The Amherst Group Ltd. and Dr. Leland F almost 10 years ago. Working with Leland and the team at AGL, and working with their technologies, led to the foundation of 42stats. With Leland as our Chief Knowledge Officer, and Aalok Shah, an incredible financial technologist, as our CTO, we are building some great tools and technology and are excited about what is to come.
If you hadn’t got involved in this field, what do you think you would be doing now?
I’d like to think I’d be traveling the world as a food writer. However, I’m much better with data than prose so the world has been saved from a series of bad e-books.
What is your source of motivation at work?
I have two motivations: the challenge and impact of the work.
I love the challenge of addressing and solving highly complex problems. The organizations we work with typically have extremely complex structures, a global workforce, active M&A, and disparate data sources. We have the opportunity to study and integrate all of this information. It’s similar to the satisfaction of completing a million piece jigsaw puzzle, and the resulting picture is something no one has seen before.
Then there is the impact. As we work with companies over the years, we get to see how they evolve and leverage the information we provide. We really get to see and measure positive shifts in satisfaction, organizational stability, and the improvement of thousands of employees’ work lives.
If you could only give one piece of advice to a company thinking about SSO or BPO, what would that be?
Sometimes it’s a lot harder to inch your way into the ocean than to jump right in and fully submerge. Either way, make sure you’re partnered with people who know how to swim and know where the rip tides are.
What do you think is a common mistake people make when managing Enterprise Performance?
Indulging in confirmation bias. We tend to ignore details that contradict our own beliefs. Whether you lead an organization or a single service, the information you are provided and manage by has almost inevitably been skewed by confirmation bias. This escalates the more senior an executive is, as they have less visibility into the core activities being performed and their teams have more incentive to tailor the narrative. We should strive for neutrality and reward transparency.
You recently got to run a restaurant kitchen in NYC, how did that come about and what was it like?
I’ll preface this by saying that this experience gave me an exceptionally high level of respect for anyone who works in a professional kitchen. It was serendipitous as I was in NYC weekly and an acquaintance had just taken over management of a restaurant in the East Village. Their taco chef quit, and my love for tacos is well known. I agreed to fill in one night, and it turned into a weekly engagement. It wasn’t gourmet, but it was visceral and a great challenge. From designing a menu, sourcing ingredients, to running the line, having this diversity of tasks along with producing something physically tangible was wonderful. My passion may be creating information products, but sometimes you just want to see and touch the output of your work, that’s why cooking is such a great hobby. I keep it in my own kitchen now though, those chef hours are killer!
What’s next for Dinyar?
Now that we have developed a robust data and analytics platform, we are focused on expanding our understanding of work and the application of management science. This is a challenge, many findings in management science cannot be reproduced. What sells a book or packs a seminar often has no grounding in science at all. As we develop analytical products within our platform, we balance embracing the latest innovations with a strict focus on ensuring repeatable and consistent results. That said, more data, more insights, more impact, more tacos.