Pattern & Enlisted: When Data Meets Design
This article was published in the Fall 2020 issue
by Melanie Alder, Co-Founder and Chief Investment Officer, Pattern
As unlikely a duo as Bert and Ernie or Han Solo and Chewbacca, the proposed alliance between David Wright—a seasoned data scientist—and Beau Oyler—a savvy product designer—initially raised some eyebrows. But here’s the thing: improbable pairs often achieve great things—like teaching children to read, saving the galaxy, or, in this case, helping brands win on ecommerce through data-driven insights and unparalleled design.
The stars aligned for Pattern and Enlisted Design when the two maverick CEOs crossed paths during the 2020 Silicon Slopes Tech Summit in January. They shared the same stage, one right after the other—both presenting their insights into data, ecommerce, and design. Dave Wright shared how Pattern’s proprietary platform and scalable services are helping brands crush ecommerce globally. Enlisted’s Beau Oyler invited a few visionaries to join a panel discussion on why brand matters, and how to create meaningful branded experiences.
When Dave and I met Beau following their respective presentations, we all knew that we had serendipitously happened upon something pretty special—and soon entered into discussions around how to formally partner together. The rest, as they say, is history.
Left and right, yin and yang
Pattern, the leading platform for data-driven ecommerce growth and control, acquired Enlisted Design, an elite design firm that creates cohesive brand and product experiences for the world’s most sought after brands.
This acquisition not only brings together two very different companies but two very different leaders. On one hand, you have Beau Oyler, Enlisted Design’s CEO, who has led his agency to every major worldwide design award, including being named "Design Company of the Year Finalist” by Fast Company. On the other hand, you have my husband and Pattern co-founder Dave Wright, a 17-year data veteran who uses mathematics and technology to improve the ecommerce performance for nearly 100 brands globally.
While Dave is very left-brained, analytical, and methodical, Beau is holistic, creative, and intuitive. The union, while seemingly unorthodox, is actually a perfect yin and yang that provides a complementary approach to tackling tough problems.
I sat down (well, had zoom meetings) with the two innovative, albeit very different entrepreneurs, to discuss the new partnership, what can happen when creative and cogent thinkers come together, and what they see for the future of ecommerce.
Nerding-out with Dave
The first thing that you’ll notice when having a conversation with Dave is a passion for numbers. He’s like Bill Nye the Science Guy, sans bow tie. He has a nerdy way of talking about ecommerce that lets you know he’s got it nailed down to a literal science. But Dave also has a contagious excitement that makes you want to get involved, jump headfirst into the topic, and “geek-out” with him.
Dave has routinely affirmed that winning on ecommerce is really a numbers game, and anyone who determines their online strategy without first consulting the data will inevitably lose.
“The reason we are so invested in data and the concept of patterns is because anything outside of that is luck or an anomaly.” He added, “Anyone who’s involved in statistics at all will look at patterns, and anything that’s not a pattern that they can’t reproduce is irrelevant and is just something that you throw out.”
“Success in ecommerce all comes down to a simple equation,” Dave continued (see below), “and if you can manipulate and increase any of the variables within that equation, you’ll increase your chances of winning online.”
Revenue = Traffic x Conversion x Price
(Repeat for Customer Lifetime Value)
“A big reason we wanted to join forces with the team at Enlisted Design was their uncanny ability to impact the ‘conversion’ piece of this equation,” Dave said. “A lot of ecommerce brands have very similar products and similar value propositions, but what helps one brand win over another often comes down to design and the overall customer experience. That’s why we partnered with a company whose literal mission is to create ‘Next-Level Shit.’”
Dave is excited about being able to provide Pattern’s partners with an entirely new offering to its already extensive number of ecommerce services.
“Our goal has always been to be the premier platform for global ecommerce, and this acquisition deepens our relationships with brand partners, provides them more value, and helps their brands consistently exceed expectations. Enlisted will continue to work with their client partners and will begin to bring their design expertise to our partners, enabling us to change ecommerce forever.”
After geeking out on data-winning ecommerce strategies with Dave, it was time to talk product design with Beau.
Capturing the essence of a product with Beau
When you meet Beau, you get the distinct impression that no detail has been overlooked. When I spoke with him, his backdrop was a beautiful 40-foot perforated wood wall showcasing the products, packaging, and brands his team has created. I immediately recognized some of my favorite brands behind him on the wall, like Allbirds, Stance, and Creminelli. Our conversation was geared more towards the creative process, and how to produce something that will ultimately inspire customers.
In stark contrast to my conversation with Dave, Beau’s passion lies in the touch, look, and feel of a product, and the degree to which it can inspire an emotional connection with the consumer. He posed the question, “Why should we care about products, or brands? Why is it that people care about their phone, their car, their shoes, clothing or bags, all of which are inanimate objects?” Beau continued, “What we do here is design products that create an emotional connection between the consumer and an inanimate object.” He reminded me that, “people don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves. We create that better version of themselves.”
Consumers are looking for products that inspire them. Beau and the Enlisted team have mastered creating beautiful brands, packaging, and products, but he explained that partnering with our team of data fanatics at Pattern brings an additional, important dimension to their offering.
“Throughout my career, I’ve launched numerous award-winning brands and products that can be found at MoMA, Apple stores, Target, Whole Foods, and Best Buy,” Beau said. “But as I focus on launching new products, I know that ecommerce will be the best way to reach tomorrow’s consumers. The Pattern platform brings real-time market data to the design process, targeting exactly what consumers are looking for. This has never been done before to this degree. Enlisted interprets that data to create next-level design, and together we win for our partners, and they win at ecommerce.”
The individual strengths of these two founders make Dave and Beau both forces to be reckoned with in their respective fields—but bringing them together as a united front in ecommerce and they become unstoppable.
More alike than they are different
While very different, Dave and Beau both share an enthusiasm for innovation, hard work, and an obsession for their partners.
The Enlisted website states, “Collaboration is what sets us apart from all other creative agencies. We enlist your team, you enlist ours, and together we create. This deeply collaborative approach enables us to tie every effort back to our partners' needs, creating the right brand experience, for the right consumer, at the right time.”
Pattern’s website has a similar mantra under its core value of Partner Obsessed: Partners come first. We do what’s best for them. We listen. We see the world through their eyes. We earn their trust through our quality of work, honesty, impartiality, and responsiveness. We succeed only when our partners succeed.
The two companies and CEOs, while different, are bringing complementary skill sets to the table to change the world of ecommerce. By offering a partner forward, data-focused and design-driven approach to ecommerce, I fully expect that they will help change the game for hundreds of brands here in Silicon Slopes and around the globe.
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*Read the latest issue of Silicon Slopes Magazine, Fall 2020