This month, we’re going to get to know one of our data scientists, Pietro, a bit better.
Tell us a little about yourself, Pietro.
I’m from Torino originally and have been centred here most of my life other than when I studied for my Master’s and PhD in Germany. I’ve very happy to be here. I enjoyed Germany, but it was always meant to be temporary. I like Turin. Many of my friends since childhood are still here. In my free time, I get to hang out with them.
I like to do sports, especially football and climbing. There’s an indoor climbing gym I like near here. I go bouldering without a harness or anything. I started doing this in Germany because it’s prevalent there, and then I discovered I could keep it up here.
What do you do at Evo?
I’m a data scientist at Evo. In particular, I work on the Product Team dealing with everything that has to do with product development. I’ve been at Evo for three years, and here everything moves really fast. My position has changed quite a bit over time, and I’ve gotten to work on many different products. Right now, I’m responsible for the development of the tools related to pricing, especially Evo Price and Evo Markdown.
You could say those are my “duties”, but my preferences are to focus most on the technological part of product development and full-stack development. We have two main roles on the Product team: research and technology. On the research side, we continually find ways to improve our product functionality through testing new features, algorithms, scientific methods etc., to incorporate into the tools. On the technological side, we find concrete ways to implement the latest ideas from the research side. That’s my favourite part: working with the Tech Team to implement the theory. Of course, I do a bit of both, but I have a lot of flexibility to choose what I want to focus on.
Having ownership of pricing tools required you to take on a leadership role within the Product Team. What is that part of your job like?
Yes, this part of my job came about kind of spontaneously. Partly because of seniority, but I also hope in part because I’m doing a good job. I help our team leader, Elena, manage and lead the team. There’s also a split of duties. Because of her background, Elena focuses more on directing the development of Replenish and the supply chain tools, while I’m focused more on pricing. We work together to integrate work and balance product needs, as well as maintain pace with the Client team.
This has given me an excellent opportunity to grow my role and leadership skills. I’ve been able to do a bit more people management and make critical decisions. I like that I’ve reached the level where I can impact the tools with my choices and take on the responsibility for those decisions as well.
How’d you end up at Evo?
I studied mathematics at the University of Turin. In the last year of my master’s degree, I was looking for a project for my thesis that I could do abroad. My professor recommended me for a project doing computational neuroscience in a laboratory in Cologne, Germany. They did two primary things: simulations of artificial brains and computational analysis of physiological data related to brain function. After completing my Master’s, I was offered the opportunity to complete my PhD in the same lab. I ended up staying in Germany for four years.
When I graduated in 2019, I wanted to find a job back in Turin, ideally not in academia. I reached out to the same professor who connected me with the lab in Germany. She had worked with our CEO Fabrizio and Evo before and recommended me for a job. Initially, I was going to work temporarily on a research project shared between Evo and the university, but I ended up getting hired as a full-time data scientist. I’m happy because I really like my current position.
What do you love about your job?
The freedom is the best thing. From the first day here at Evo, we have the chance to put ourselves in the game and make crucial decisions. This obviously scales up as you grow into your role, but you can choose what you want to do to make the products work and deliver on client needs. Even if you are very young and inexperienced, just graduated or coming from academia or a slightly different field when you start at Evo, you are given the freedom (and consequently the responsibility) to make decisions and create a positive impact.
The same is true of the work/life balance at Evo. You choose the times you work, the things you prioritise and even where you work. So I’m pleased with the freedom that we have at Evo and the responsibility that comes with it. We don’t have anyone checking in on us every day or every hour, so long as we do what needs to be done. Working remotely really improved my quality of life. It’s something that I wouldn’t want to give up. All this freedom helps us grow in our independence and self-management.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced at Evo?
Working with clients. Client needs mean that we’re dealing with many “ill-posed problems” to use a mathematical term. That is, the problems we need to solve have more than one solution, or the initial data doesn’t 100% fit the solution. During my PhD, I dealt with many complex problems, but all the variables and the actual requests were known. You just had to match the two and use the available data to find a solution.
With clients, you also have to understand what’s needed, what the actual problem is for clients, not just what they think it is. There’s more interpretation and context required. We don’t just find a solution for the problems the clients believe they have; sometimes, we have to show them another root problem. We need to make them aware of issues and explain why they need to be solved first, whether there is missing data, incorrect data, or even an impossible request. Luckily, I’ve learned, and also the Client Team helps a lot with this. I’d rather focus on the backend and the technology stack and have client needs identified by the Client Team.
What excites you about Evo’s future?
I’m repeating myself a bit, but it goes back to freedom. We’re at the point where we have a lot of space to grow, but how we do it is really up to us, both in terms of how we handle growth and where we want to go. From the top-down, we’re all involved in choosing where we’re going. We’re able to shape our products into what we want them to become. Now that the products all work well, we can change how we look at them to shape them for the growth I hope we will continue to have. It’s really exciting to contribute to this, as well as motivating. It’s way easier to feel committed to your job if you have a say in where you’re going.
What is it like working on the Evo team?
I’m very happy you asked me this question because when you asked me what I love most about my job, the second-best thing would have been my teammates and the people at Evo. After I finished my PhD, I almost stayed in academia because of the stigma and negative perception that regular workplaces can be pretty cutthroat. From what I can see from friends who work for other companies, it’s pretty deserved. At Evo, I didn’t see any of that. This isn’t a super competitive workplace where people just want to climb the ladder and step on others on the way.
I love this. I always feel supported and helped by the team. I appreciate the environment a lot. As I grow in my role, I try to encourage this environment even more by selecting the right people. It may be harder to maintain as we grow, but the company will surely benefit if we can.
What advice do you have for anyone interested in becoming a part of the EvoFamily?
Come with the mindset that we are a community trying to support each other rather than a place where you want to climb the hierarchy as fast as possible. If you’re only concerned with yourself or salary and title growth, rather than trying to solve problems together, you won’t fit at Evo. We’re focused on growing as a community, not just personally. It’s certainly what I’m looking for and what Elena’s looking for on the team.
A community mindset is necessary to get into Evo. We’re looking for the best, yes, but not someone concerned about being better than anyone else. A show-off who doesn’t care about community isn’t welcome. It’s about cooperation first.
About the author
Kaitlin Goodrich is Evo’s main storyteller who helps communicate Evo’s message to the world.
Kaitlin received her BS in International Affairs and Modern Languages at Georgia Tech and then an LLM in International Trade Law from the University of Turin. She worked in Latin America doing education outreach for U.S. binational centers and has since worked as a content writer for international clients.
In her free time, she likes to travel or curl up with a good book.