Fireside Chat with Mike Baker – Co-Founder & CEO, DataXu

Friday Jul 25, 2014 by Josh Boyle - Director of Community & Marketing, VentureFizz

As Co-Founder & CEO of DataXu, Michael Baker is often out sharing his wisdom and passion for data-driven marketing and digital transformation. Last night he was at it again as General Assembly and VentureFizz played host to a Fireside Chat with Anand Chopra-McGowan of GA leading the discussion. 

Dozens of knowledge-seeking entrepreneurs joined together at WeWork on Melcher Street to hear Baker explain the evolution of DataXu, the future of data-driven marketing and the intersection of science and digital marketing. And of course answer questions and offer up some advice (remember, always be open to and seek out advice). 

It’s a bit difficult to do justice to Baker’s knowledge in a recap post, but if you’re not up to speed on his success you should spend some time reading up on how he was named the 2013 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Or how he led DataXu to #1 on the Inc. 500 as the fastest growing advertising & marketing company. Or take a quick glimpse of his entrepreneurial and investment history, including Enpocket’s acquisition by Nokia. 

And clearly you should be following Mike Baker on Twitter @MichaelkBaker

The guests in the room varied last night – some marketers, some data scientists, some neither. So, naturally, different points raised various levels of interest to different people. 

I think everyone enjoyed Baker’s take on the early fundraising days as he told us people would ask; “is this a dream you’re having or a real thing?” But as Baker said, “that’s how it goes in entrepreneurship.” Something many in the room could relate to. 

Chopra-McGowan and Baker touched on topics such as programmatic marketing, ambient intelligence and how television is the “Last of the Mohicans” when it comes to change and moving into and accepting digital analytics. General Assembly will be producing a video recap of the evening, which will provide greater perspective on these complex topics. We’ll keep you informed on the release. 


One topic that caught my ear was the “culture war” as it relates to creative versus analytics. The two are on opposite ends of the spectrum and marketers are being phased out, some would say, as analytics take over. This topic could very well be a standalone fireside chat. Or really, a debate… 

Baker served up one strong piece of advice - “Learning.” In fact, Baker said he hires learners. Being so innovative it is difficult for DataXu to hire talent with actual experience so he looks for young learners and trains them. (Take note if you’re seeking an exciting new role). 

As an entrepreneur, or really anyone looking to grow and succeed in the business world, you should keep an eye out for Baker’s next appearance or take in one of DataXu’s Webinars. It’ll be worth your while. Better yet, maybe we’ll lock him in for that debate… 

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Josh Boyle is Director of Community & Marketing, VentureFizz. You can follow him on Twitter: @jb_sid

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