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Six Questions with SAS: Mia Baker

Mia Baker, B2B Product Lead at Prenetics International

Winner of the Tech Leaders Awards 2019: Future Leader of the Year
Shortlisted for Future Stars of Tech Awards 2019 in 2 categories: CTO and Tech for Good

1- How did you get started in this industry?
I started out as a technology consultant for Deloitte which I stumbled on by chance. I wanted to work for a company where I could be surround by smart, like-minded people, and have the opportunity to make friends for life. Deloitte seemed to match all my criteria. I ended up choosing tech in particular after speaking to a number of existing employees and just loved the type of projects they were involved in. I was particularly fascinated by the talk of disruptive technologies such as Blockchain, VR, AR and IoT. The potential for discovery of new use cases is enormous, and as we become more advanced in these areas I could sense there was opportunity to do something truly groundbreaking!

2- What are the 3-key tech/ software tools that you depend the most?
Slack - Slack is an application we use for team messaging. Sometimes you need answers to questions quickly and the instant messaging functionality of Slack enables you to do just that. As much as emails are a great way to communicate and ensure you have audit trails on discussions, they can often be a much slower method of communication which could potentially cause delay to projects - especially if you’re working to short time frames! Additionally, it’s the perfect application to use for remote working. It’s easy to quickly call colleagues, instant message as well as share files both individually and in groups making it all the more easy to collaborate, have transparency on projects, and work no matter where you are in the world.

Sendgrid - Sendgrid is a tool we use to build our transaction emails. That is an email triggered by an event or interaction. For me, the customer journey is extremely important and it’s our duty as the creator of products to ensure the customer feels at ease and well informed throughout their experience. This means transaction emails are crucial at all the right points, with the right information. In turn, if done well and effectively planned and implemented, this will lessen the load for customer service teams and the amount of queries coming through. It’s a win win for both sides!

Adobe CC - Adobe Creative Cloud is a fantastic piece of kit to use for design work. I typically use XD to create UI mock ups for web and app, or even to quickly design email mock ups etc. Its great because you can create a perfect visual easily so developers know exactly what they should be delivering with little ambiguity. This helps prevent guesswork and saves time as it ensures you’re aligned with your brand and tone of voice before you start development and implementation. What’s more, is it doesn’t stop there! Our designers will often be using Illustrator, Photoshop, In-design etc. depending on whether it’s a physical or technology based product or requirement in creation. I can’t imagine my job without it!

3- What is your favourite book or podcast?

As a first, my number one recommendation would be “How I Built This”. Host, Guy Raz, interviews founders of various well known companies to find out their story behind their success. It’s a truly fantastic podcast to listen to and be inspired by some of the most successful business people in the world. It also helps you look at things from a different perspective and learn from some of the mistakes they made along the way.

4- Do you find any technologies too hyped up or unnecessary?
The great thing about technology is that you can never truly estimate the potential impact that it’s going to have in future. That means to me, anything is possible! Therefore it’s very hard for me to say exactly which technology is over hyped because advancements are happening so quickly all the time. Although one type of use case may not work today, another use case in future could change the way in which do everything. Saying this, Blockchain is a technology that has had a huge amount of press over the last few years, both good and bad. I think it’s becoming obvious now, with Facebook’s work on Libra and China’s advocacy for Bitcoin, that it’s power as a digital asset is becoming apparent. Despite this, perhaps the claims that Blockchain’s wider use as the “new internet” may be somewhat overstated, but let’s wait and see...

5- What have you learned since becoming the B2B Product Lead?
The best data you can get is from customers and how they interact with your product. You may have noticed a lot of start-ups focusing on their customer support teams to ensure they, as a business, are providing their customers with the best possible service. What I think we should be doing more of, is placing focus on analysing the types of questions and queries customers are asking and using this as insight into developing the future product roadmap to improve their overall experience. The customer support team is a goldmine for data, so businesses should be using it to their advantage. I’ve also learnt that confidence goes a long way. Even if what you say isn’t classed as ‘right’, it may be the starting point to a broader discussion that in turn leads to an overall better solution. It’s not about right or wrong, it’s about the process of getting to the optimal solution from all the possibilities available to you - and it takes a team with many ideas and lots of varied inputs to do that!

6- Which technologies would you like to implement over the next few years?
In my current role, we will be playing a huge focus on Whole Exome Sequencing technology. Implementing such a technology in a way that can turn complex science into easy-to-understand information for the every day person has the possibility to be instrumental in helping identify inherited disorders, cancer risks, disease risks and more. It’s science and technology like this that can truly change the healthcare system starting with prevention. I’m also extremely excited by AR and VR technology and the potential use cases it has in healthcare. Although there is a lot of investment into preventive health, I believe there is also great opportunity in finding solutions to help those who are already suffering.

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