January 22, 2020
Nathan Pickard is the Founder and Data Analyst of 9b, a data analytics consulting startup formed in 2018 that is passionate about the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of the Tulsa community. 9b specializes in connecting data from disparate systems and creating insights for audit and management in appealing, easy-to-understand visualizations. The idea for 9b developed out of demand for Nathan’s data analysis skills and his passion for sustainable business through his experience with edible forests.
How, where and when do you get your best ideas?
The big ideas always come while reading books about current issues we face as a society. Restoration Agriculture, Your Money or Your Life, The B Corp Handbook, and Restoring At-Risk Communities are a few books that have inspired me.
What's a work tool or ritual that you couldn't live without?
The Daily Scrum with my team. We have a 15-minute standing meeting at the same time every morning to talk about the work we completed yesterday, what we plan to work on that day, and any impediments to resolve. These meetings help us prioritize what needs to get done every day and keep us on track.
What skill would you like to master?
Slowing down and enjoying the present.
What advice would you give to someone seeking to launch or grow a business?
Be open to an outsider’s perspective to help you think through basic but important questions about your goals. I mentioned we do a Daily Scrum, but Scrum is an entire framework for working through problems while remaining productive and creating value. We hired a Scrum Master to help us put this into practice. Having guidance from a third party has been essential for our product development and company culture. We also found a B Corp in North Carolina to do our accounting services and really help us through how best to set up our company as a "for-benefit" corporation.
What's a big "win" you experienced in the past year?
2019 was our first full year as a company. While working hard to create amazing data analytics for our clients, we also grew over 1,000 pounds of produce at Emerson Farm, maintained around 1,500 fruit and nut trees and berry bushes in the community, and built the exterior shell of The Joinery, the only Living Building Challenge project in Oklahoma. At 9b, we focus our resources as much on our clients as on our community and environment.
What are you most looking forward to in the year to come?
I am looking forward to rolling out our complete financial process monitoring solution. It uses thousands of data points in ERP financial systems to find fraud, inefficiency, training opportunities, bottlenecks, and cost savings. I am hoping this part of the business will grow significantly this coming year so we can hire more employees to help Tulsa’s food deserts.
Why 36 Degrees North?
Whenever I need a change of venue from working at a client’s site, I head to 36 Degrees. I love the design of the space and the opportunity to bump into friends. It’s also an enjoyable walk or bike ride away from my house.
Do you want to give any shoutouts?
Daniel McIntosh for always being welcoming. Tim Powell of Tallgrass Estate Planning for making sure our children will be taken care of. Gerren DePoy for being a great neighbor and always being willing to share wisdom and resources on our shared entrepreneurial journey.