Meet Martin Stein, the new GM/VP of DefinedData
He was the first European editor of Macworld to be sent to Silicon Valley where he spent a year getting to meet with some of the tech greats, including Steve Jobs, Steve Case, Bruce Chizen, and John Warnock. He reviewed a staggering 5000 software and hardware applications during his time as tech editor. He’s worked for large tech companies, like Apple, IDG, and Quark and startups like FileThis.com, where he was the 4th employee. In his most recent role as Chief Product and Analytics Officer at US MarTech company G5, he won the award 2018 SuperNova award for Digital Marketing Transformation and Sales Effectiveness, using NLP based solutions for automatically detecting call-based leads in real-time.
Meet Martin Stein, the new GM/Vice President of DefinedData, DefinedCrowd’s latest product offering. We’re thrilled to welcome him to the team and spent some time finding out a little more about the man behind the reputation.
Martin, you’ve had an extremely impactful and successful career. How did it all begin?
Technology has always been at the center of it all. When I was 19, I started my own business, Stein Computer Tech, as a self-taught software engineer. I wrote accounting software for my parents’ jewelry business. I didn’t know much about coding but ended up writing an application that was used for over 5 years. I kept the business up and running for about 6 years while getting my degree. Starting my own business was my first step into business.
After university, I leveraged the degrees I received in sociology and political science with focus on empirical research and statistics to become an editor of Macworld Germany. It was a fun time, transitioning content from Print to Online.
That must have been a fascinating time?
It was. I was at Macworld during the dotcom bubble and bust – working in the US and in Europe. I saw a lot of startups making it and many more failing. I saw the return of Apple and the investment of Microsoft into Apple. It was incredible to witness information technology history being made.
What made you leave the world of publishing?
After writing about technology, I realized that I wanted to be more directly involved in the creation and implementation of it. I joined Apple in Europe as a business development executive and helped to evangelize state-of-the art enterprise technology, like Xserve and Xsan, that Apple rolled out with a new operating system called macOS X. It was brand new at the time.
In 2005, I moved back to the US, and have been in various product development and marketing positions and companies since.
Will you share some of the significant moments of your career with us?
I joined Nero AG in 2010 as their Global Business Unit Manager for all of their applications except for OEM. I helped them transition and pivot from a shrink-wrapped software company into a SAAS-based, cloud-based subscription company. It wasn’t easy.
I then joined a cloud-based Fintech startup called FileThis as employee number four. I was their CMO and headed up their product lines. We built a really cool solution, similar to Mint.com, which is a transactional data aggregator. We created a solution that downloaded all your online invoices and statements automatically, converted them into searchable PDFs, and stored them on Cloud storage from Amazon, Google or others. I became a board member and we sold the company in January 2020.
Another highlight was winning an AI award for sales and marketing innovation at G5 – a private equity-based company based in Oregon. G5 is a cloud-based marketing agency for major real estate companies. I developed much of the product stack. We created an algorithm that allowed us to score the propensity of an interested party to lease an apartment when they made an inquiry to the front office of an apartment building. It had a lot of impact, as agents would know who to follow up with quickly. The product increased front- office efficiency massively, and it won me the award.
And now you’re at DefinedCrowd. What made you decide to join the team?
In my career, I have met many great leaders, visionaries like Steve Jobs who have gone on to build really great companies. From this experience, I have a unique advantage to spot if a company is on to something. After conversations with Daniela and the DefinedCrowd leadership team, I saw how clear they were in their goals and realized they had the chops to achieve them. Passion is a big drawcard for me, and DefinedCrowd has that in spades. It’s a big part of what attracted me to the role.
In fact, I had a few offers from some huge software companies in Seattle, but I think I can make the biggest impact at a company like DefinedCrowd.
What excites you most about the new role?
For me as a data science practitioner, I never had enough training data to build models. I hired a lot of temps, including a company to transcribe one million phone calls for me. Now I am working for a company whose whole business purpose is to actually create those much-needed datasets.
The really exciting thing is that we have a very unique chance to create a world-leading marketplace for AI datasets and potentially more. Offering off-the-shelf datasets available for immediate use will enable so many data scientists to accelerate the production of their AI models.
DefinedData solves a huge problem in the industry. At G5, it took me 6 months to build a complete training set. I could have saved a half a year, time to market. DefinedData is a great opportunity to put data in the hands of data scientists without delay. I am super stoked about that.
For you, what’s the most important factor in launching a new product?
It’s simple. It’s the team. Everything else, like customer focus, is a function of the team. If you don’t build the right team, if you don’t focus on team building and culture, you won’t get the full value of the team’s effort.
If you build a team and the team is aligned and clear about what we’re doing and why we are doing it, then you are setting yourself up for success.
What was the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career?
When I joined an Apple Magazine, the company moved their HQ from Hamburg to Munich. On the first day of my new job the entire editorial team quit. The graphic department quit too. They didn’t want to move to Hamburg.
One editor didn’t get the memo. He was sitting next to me and he started crying. He was shocked he wasn’t told by his former colleagues and friends. The people who quit decided to create another magazine and called me to say I shouldn’t take it personally, but that the competition is on.
That was really tough. I managed to hire people and produce a magazine and web content quickly. I didn’t disappoint my subscribers. I also beat the other magazine and even hired some of their employees as contractors. We succeeded and we existed, and the other guys gave up after a year.
It was difficult in that it showed often things don’t go the way you expect. But it turned out well though, which shows how important determination is!