Meet the Team at GoustoTech - Interview Series - Catherine Burrows - Data Scientist

This post is the second in our series interviewing members of our GoustoTech team. In this post we meet Catherine Burrows who has recently moved from our Analytics team to become a Data Scientist in our Data Science (Artichokes) team.

Catherine Burrows - Data Scientist - Gousto

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your role at Gousto.

Hi, I’m Catherine and I am a Data Scientist at Gousto. We currently have a team of 5 data scientists and it’s our job to develop and maintain key products that make Gousto unique as a company, from the recipe recommendation engine, to the warehouse routing algorithm.

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Meet the Team at GoustoTech - Interview Series - Shaun Pearce - CTO

This post is the first in a new series interviewing members of our GoustoTech team. We start right at the top by interviewing our CTO, Shaun Pearce and over the coming weeks will interview a number of other members of our team.

Shaun Pearce - CTO - Gousto

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your role at Gousto.

Hi, my name is Shaun and I’m Gousto’s CTO. I’m responsible for all aspects of technology across our business. This of course includes our customer facing website and mobile apps but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg! Technology plays a crucial role all over Gousto. My team is also responsible for our bespoke order management system, internal tools supporting our customer care, marketing and recipe development teams as well as systems used to manage our supply chain, our warehouse and our automated pick lines.

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Killing the Quarterly Roadmap

Gousto, like many tech startups, used to build a product roadmap on a quarterly basis. Towards the end of each quarter our product managers would kick off the work by writing up a long list of initiatives for our business to focus on for three months, and would work closely with their engineering squad and stakeholders to whittle this down to a few key items with the strong business justification and estimated complexity.

However over the second half of 2017 we started to become frustrated with this process and found that it was not working for us. To start with, building a quarterly roadmap required a prolonged effort from staff around the business, and many hours of coordination by the Product Manager. The overhead of creating a plan and aligning with the wider business was very high. We also found that we were providing little visibility to our leadership team and other stakeholders, as this plan would only be reviewed every three months. Worst of all, the plan was misleading. Given we would begin this process before the start of a new quarter, we found ourselves projecting out 4 or 5 months into the future. In a fast paced business like Gousto the result was that we rarely stuck to the original plan. The quarterly roadmap felt distinctly un agile, but we quickly found a simple alternative.

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Pushing User Experience Boundaries with iOS

Introduction

In the iOS team, we are always trying to improve our app. Our mobile apps provide our customers with a platform to create new Gousto orders, edit orders, view recipe instructions and manage their account. These features are also available on our website, so we have to give our customers a reason to download and use the mobile app, which is why we must improve upon these core features and create a better more engaging user experience.

Tech 10%

On a day to day basis, we all work hard on company initiatives that directly relate to our business goals, but as a tech team we all take one day every two weeks to work on self-driven projects for Gousto, we call this Tech 10%. These projects enable our team to further their skills in different technologies, improve the user experience of our products and add features to the platform.

I have used this time over the course of the last couple of months to implement some app-specific features, that will take the user experience above and beyond the web. Some of these unique features I have worked on recently are using biometric sensors for authentication, Force Touch for navigation and Health Kit for nutritional information tracking.

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How We Work in GoustoTech - Part 1 - Team Structure

After joining Gousto as Head of Engineering in September 2017 I’ve spent a lot of time interviewing candidates as we look to scale out our engineering team. One of the most common questions I’m asked is how we structure the team here at Gousto. This is the first in a series of posts looking at ‘how’ (and most importantly ‘why’) we structure our engineering team this way.

At Gousto we actually split our Data Science team from our Software Engineering team, but work amazing closely. I’ve included both in this article so you can see how they fit together. At the current time our combined team is around 30 people but this is likely to grow up to around 50 by the end of 2018. This is the first part of our growth as we continue to scale the company and expect this only to continue into 2019.

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Turning Food Waste into a Byte-sized Problem

The Olympic swimming pool; the double-decker bus; the football stadium. Whilst researching stats to include in this post, it saddened me to discover that these are all units commonly used to quantify the UK’s food waste. As for where it’s all coming from, studies (for example, this study by WRAP) suggest that retail and household food waste accounts for around three quarters of the UK’s overall post-farm-gate total. Given Gousto’s rapid growth, it is now more important than ever for us to consider our impact in terms of food waste. So what exactly are we doing to help? In this post, I will attempt to answer that question, focusing particularly on our strong investment in data science and analytics.

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Data Science for Dinner at the University of Cambridge

The UK has a young, but fast-growing data science community, as evidenced by the growing number of regular data science meet-ups and companies offering training programmes like ASI or S2DS. As a data science team we are keen to learn from fellow data scientists, as well as to showcase our work and the impact it has had on the business. Giving talks at universities is one way in which connect with the community, while improving our chances to grow our team with the UK’s most promising new data scientists. Recently, we combined a team off-site in Cambridge with a workshop in partnership with the Cambridge University Data Science Society. You can find the slides we used for the event in this post, along with some learnings we took away as a team.

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12 Weeks as a Mushroom

A look back at my 12 weeks interning in Gousto’s Mobile Apps team

Hi, I’m Nik! I’m a 19-something Computer Science student at Imperial College
London and just finished my summer internship at Gousto, working in the
iOS/Mobile team called ‘Mushrooms’ (now the title makes sense) 😄.

This is my first internship and it was a super exciting opportunity to work
in a tech team at a company on a real product. That’s right, some of what
I’ve worked on is now out for the world to see and is hopefully benefitting
the business as well. It was also my first time participating in code
reviews, both having my code be reviewed and being the one who reviews.

I’ll try to catalogue what I’ve done and what it’s been like working here for
12 weeks in this post.

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An Insight into Gousto’s Data Kitchen

When I started my job at Gousto, I honestly struggled to get my head around how data-driven the company is, with every single team leveraging data in some way. Since joining, we (the analytics team) have undertaken some seriously cool projects across the entire business – a few examples being:

  • Building a predictive model to calculate the likelihood of a customer buying their next Gousto recipe box
  • Analysing customers’ online behaviour to make the website user experience seamless and as easy to use as possible
  • Working closely with Gousto data scientists to optimise the performance of our automated ingredient picking operation

With this in mind, it’s easy for our colleagues to sometimes forget that we don’t have a magical crystal ball to answer their questions. Instead of supernatural powers, we prefer a mixture of SQL and Python and tools like Periscope to solve Gousto’s challenges.

The area of analytics I want to focus on in this blog post is really at the heart of the business and is the main reason I (and probably most of my colleagues) joined Gousto – FOOD. Given the level of investment into data science and analytics elsewhere in the business, it should come as no surprise to learn that we crunch some serious numbers to understand what it is that tickles our customers’ taste buds and keeps them coming back for more. In particular, I will explain how we use data to inform the recipe development process here at Gousto. I’ll then showcase some of our tastiest dishes, before finally revealing some fun facts and interesting stats about our recipe collection.

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