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PERSPECTIVES


Blending retail passion with analytics precision: Meet John Squire

He has figured out how to connect the data retailers are drowning in. Learn the tricks of his trade.

John Squire John Squire

CEO, DynamicAction

Tell us about DynamicAction.

Our headquarters are in Silicon Valley and we have offices in London, Dallas and Sofia. We provide the most advanced analytics solution specifically designed for retailers. We help retailers increase profit—and we do it by connecting and analyzing data to identify opportunities for increased sales and profit, prescribe the actions to take and accurately rank those actions by financial impact. Our solution helps merchandising teams make data-informed decisions faster and sell more at full price.

Describe what you do in your role.

I like to look at the acronym CEO to mean “Chief Everything Officer.” Meaning, from the top strategic decisions to rolling up my sleeves and working through the product and math design or moving marketing boxes when necessary, I love all aspects that keep this business growing and thriving. I oversee everything from the scientists and analysts who design, create and develop our proprietary algorithms, to meeting with current and prospective clients.

What was your first foray into the working world?

I grew up on a farm in central California, which my family still owns and operates. So that was truly my first job; although my brothers and I are convinced we really didn’t have a choice in the matter. From working on our cattle ranch to harvesting cotton, barley and hay oats, there were plenty of incentives to pursue a more technical role outside of farming and ranching.

But when I think about the variety of roles I’ve held over the years, what I most often come back to as a central point is my years working in big oil. After completing my undergrad degree in chemical engineering, I began work at Chevron, where I designed computer control systems that, at a basic level, ensured refineries maximized their profitable production and didn’t explode.

And now, I’ve created a system that allows retailers to consider all possible data “wells” and many of the possible outcomes to drive revenue and profit.

What is innovative today in retail?

There are certainly people who envision a world where retail is 100 percent automated and self-driving. What I believe in is the ability for data action and understanding to amplify the intelligence of an organization. My vision is to deliver semi-automated commerce, where we automate the tedious tasks and proven decisions, but humans remain an integral part. We include advanced analytics and complete transparency as part of our solutions because people need feedback, measurement and ease of replication to be successful in the years ahead.

How do you envision the years ahead? Any trends catching your eye?

Ship from anywhere is interesting. Also the “individual” “first time” “unbranded” consumer. How do retailers meet the interest of “small and exclusive” and still scale? Influencers like setting trends, but if the world of many is trying to be unique, how do we identify trends and how do retailers “own” something?

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The power of repeatability always comes from understanding the details. Broad brushes are good for laying the vision and boundaries of the landscape of a solution, but rarely does a solution stand the test of time and hold up under pressure if the details aren’t figured out and filled in. Even with the details well understood, it is always better to measure twice and cut once, whether you are working with precious resources or commodities.

Where will we find you on weekends?

I love the outdoors. You can find me with my kids in the waves, on the slopes, in the mountains or at a sporting event. If it moves and gets us outside, we’ll be there. One of my key passions is abalone diving. The calm, the control and the clarity of the open ocean have always been factors that balance my nearly always-on professional life. Some of the best diving in the world is near my home, and we had an amazing summer this year when my teenage son got his first abalone solo.

Are your kids as connected as you are?

To say they are connected would be an understatement. My son recently asked me if we were “out of the drought?” I was a bit confused and said, "Why are you asking?"—and he was talking about our mobile data drought. I put all the kids on cellular data lockout since YouTube made our mobile plan explode.