Fact-Based Decision-Making

I was immersed in “Big Data” and “Business Analytics” well before they were hip — or, for that matter, before these terms were coined. An economist and software programmer by training, I developed an analytical “hammer” which I generously applied to many business “nails.”

During more than 25 years of experience as advisor to senior executives on key strategic issues, I’ve worked across the technology space and opened new business opportunities for employers and clients; I specialize in bringing analytical rigor and strategic focus to critical business decisions. As an executive, advisor, and teacher, I am known to develop and communicate creative, fact-based solutions to complex business problems.

In a variety of strategy roles at joined Applied Materials, I leveraged fact-based decision-making to help transform the Company from a high-growth start-up to a robust multi-business enterprise. I also worked across the semiconductor industry to seek alignment around a new vision for boosting productivity, based on novel economic frameworks to analyze Cost of Ownership, ROI, and Cost/Benefit (see my papers on process technology investing and fab “lean manufacturing”).

I launched a consulting firm focused on bringing the power of business analytics to industries undergoing fundamental change, including clean energy, digital content, and life sciences; my analytical work helped early-stage companies to bolster their value propositions and business models, resulting in improved access to capital.

Now on the faculty of Stanford University‘s Continuing Studies Program, I teach a popular Financial Modeling/Decision Analytics class (focused on business risk and uncertainty); a follow-on class on valuation was recently added.

As I emphasize to my students and staff, analytical problems don’t always present themselves as such. Therein lies a great opportunity – to apply analytics in “unexpected” situations. Over the years, I leveraged quantitative decision-making tools to accelerate technology innovation and inform M&A planning and execution; and discovered a broad range of business situations which called for optimizing a portfolio of initiatives based on quantification of risks and uncertainty. Below is a sample of my work:

Business Sizing and Valuation

  • Telecom industry – market sizing, growth projections, segmentation
  • Semiconductor industry demand trends
  • Chip price elasticity estimation and sensitivity analysis
  • M&A investment valuation
  • Penetration scenario and sensitivity for next-gen technology
  • Concepts for defining a company’s financial model
  • Global macroeconomic scenarios → strategic investment envelope
  • Solar market demand projection (scenarios per oil prices)
  • Long-term barriers to corporate economic growth
  • Stock valuation levers → M&A plan , strategic priorities

Portfolio Planning and Optimization

  • R&D performance metrics: Benchmarked and defined key ROI metrics
  • R&D management: Standardized planning and monitoring dashboard to track performance throughout product life cycle
  • Performance “dashboards” for prioritizing and tracking technology investments—on financial, operational, and strategic metrics
  • Streamlining product development pipeline
  • Human resource pipeline strategy (recruiting, retention, promotion, …)
  • M&A funding prioritization/allocation across key technology and market change vectors
  • Screening criteria for M&A investments
  • Modeling uncertainty & risk in account penetration plan – viewing as a balanced portfolio

Value Proposition and Pricing

  • Pricing product options based on customer value of quality improvement and operational gains
  • Quantifying the customer impact of higher value-add products and services
  • Revised corporate pricing policy based on simulated customer productivity and business model
  • New business models and sales tools based on customer needs segmentation;
  • Revamping strategic marketing tools for new generation of products
  • Energy efficiency technology valuation and environmental impact
  • Pricing customer financing features
  • Performance-based (incentive, cost-share) pricing offers
  • Pricing intra-company transactions (to encourage cooperation and alignment)
  • Modeling financial and valuation impact of alternative acquisition scenarios

Operational Simulation and Costing

  • Cost and cycle models underlying aircraft manufacturing
  • Chip production detailed cost structure
  • Economics of learning and scale in semiconductor consumables
  • Semiconductor economics: fab “lean manufacturing” simulation; drivers of factory cycle time
  • Shop-floor inventory level optimization
  • Equipment cost models (including learning and scale impact)
  • Solar energy learning curves
  • Biotech startup capacity make/buy, sequencing of market entry
  • Factory productivity levers -> product development roadmap
  • Cost and capacity sensitivity to demand mix change and technology shift
  • Bottom-up account segmentation

 

As a senior strategy/corporate development executive, management consultant, and Stanford business lecturer, I’ve helped companies and organizations grow profitably by taking calculated risks and focusing resources on strategic priorities. Today I am a recognized thought leader in leveraging business analytics to drive marketing, operations, and investment excellence.

 

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