This article will discuss the position as Unit Manager of the PowerSuite at Squadra Machine Learning Company. For this, Joey Jacobs was interviewed, who has been working for MLC for almost four years now. Joey studied commercial economics in Tilburg and then moved on to the university to do the master Data Science. Today, Joey talks about his position as Unit Manager.

As Unit Manager of the PowerSuite, a series of software products developed by Squadra MLC, Joey works in a rather generic way: he is involved in both the operational and commercial processes. Within the PowerSuite are a number of software solutions, some of which have already been developed into full software products and others which are still at an earlier stage. Joey is also involved in the further development of the PowerSuite: “PowerText is already a real product, but a number of other services are more of an idea or concept, which we are currently approaching more as projects. If several customers subsequently ask for the same service, you can expand that into a product”. On the one hand, he therefore works as a project manager to develop the services within the PowerSuite into a product. During the projects he manages the developers and is responsible for the contact with customers. On the other hand, more as a product owner, he is working on the further development of the existing software products.

“That still provides proof that Machine Learning makes things possible that previously seemed impossible.”

One project that has stuck with him is the collaboration with Sligro. They wanted to translate their content from Dutch to French in an automated way. To ensure quality, Sligro also used translators. “Despite the fact that machine translations are sometimes considered to be less good, these translations were ultimately approved by professional translators. This confirms that machine translations have made great progress in recent years”. He also mentions the project with Medux, a company that sells healthcare equipment. “With hundreds of thousands of products in their assortment, manually categorizing them proved to be an unfeasible process.” To support Medux, Squadra MLC developed an algorithm that could perform this process in an automated manner, when doing so manually proved unfeasible. “That provides evidence that Machine Learning makes things possible that previously seemed impossible,” he adds.

Joey Jacobs

As for the Power-products, Joey explains that he is also working on sales once a lead is brought in. From that point on, he interacts with the lead and tries to make sure that this lead becomes a customer. “So on the one hand I translate the technical side to the human side, and on the other hand I guide the customer through the customer journey.” “The balance between the two activities is what makes the job so much fun: with projects you can be more creative and discover new things, but with the products you can see the development and growth of the product. With this, you can make the lives of dozens of customers easier with a single adjustment. That’s nice to see”. Squadra MLC is a relatively small company, with about 15 to 20 employees. “This way you get to experience everything, whereas in a large company you are mainly involved with your team. This is especially nice for young people, because in this way they quickly come into contact with different types of work, can gain experience and discover what they like.”

“On the one hand I translate the technical side to the human side, and on the other hand I guide the customer through the customer journey.”

Lastly, he was asked how much pressure the job entails. “That is very different and based on the customer’s expectation. For example, at the start of the project you tell the customer that it will take about six weeks: some customers want it faster and others don’t consider it as bad.”  According to Joey, this is also a matter of managing and that requires flexibility. “But you learn to deal with the pressure well that way”.

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