As an undergraduate at Princeton University, George Boomer learned to program some of the first mainframe computers and after graduating became a commercial programmer. Later, when the Wharton School introduced George to econometric forecasting, he observed that software could help make new and powerful forecasting tools more accessible to business applications. Then came the Microsoft revolution, when Excel became the lingua franca of corporate data analysis as well as a powerful and full featured development platform.
Having gained business experience in working with Data Resources and McKinsey & Co., George began to appreciate the power of Discrete-Choice models, a technique that won Dan McFadden, a professor at U.C. Berkeley, the Nobel Prize in Economics for 2000.
After a number of successful proj-ects under his belt, George realized that much of what he was doing could be encapsulated in software and made available to others. Thus, his programming, forecasting, consulting and quantitative modeling background led to the creation of StatWizards.
Founded in 2003 and based in Coronado, CA, StatWizards is a market research firm specializing in Excel add-ins that help enterprises make billion-dollar decisions. Now with 30 years’ experience in helping global 1000 companies, StatWizards’ software helps companies with their product positioning and pricing, new-product forecasting, customer attrition, calculating customer lifetime value and much more.
StatWizards’ collective backgrounds extend far beyond the domain bounded by software. Over the years, the company has worked on projects for 130 clients across 66 industries. In the Discrete-Choice space alone, StatWizards has had over 230 engagements, not counting proprietary work the company does for investors who wish to remain anonymous.
The First Project Roll-On
StatWizards started its venture with three products, jointly named the Discrete-Choice Suite. Rolled out at a meeting of the Advanced Research Techniques Forum held annually by the American Marketing Association, the suite’s components correspond to the three phases of a typical Discrete-Choice project.
The first phase involves the assembling of a list of attributes for the product or service being studied. The Design Wizard organizes these attributes and builds a set of special questions for a survey. These ques-tions show hypothetical products to potential consumers, who are then asked which one they prefer.
The second element of the Discrete-Choice Suite takes responses from the field and reformats them into any of the many programs that estimate Discrete-Choice models.
The third and most striking product is the Simulator Wizard. This wizard converts a Discrete-Choice model to an Excel-based simulator, which product managers can use to specifyCEO a marketplace of competing products, either actual or projected, and then see the impact on potential market share, revenue, and profits.
Managers can also view results by customer segment, construct price curves, determine the optimum product for a given marketplace, examine customer’s willingness to pay for individual features and much more.
As the company’s first product, the Discrete-Choice Suite was successful enough. Many customers have embraced the product and made numerous suggestions which helped StatWizards to polish and improve the software through additional features and smoother operation.
The Success Saga
It is never easy to run a show, especially when starting a new business or creating a new product. It takes patience and perseverance to stick to a core plan of delivering a perfect product, because demands for cash flow tempts owners to cut corners, compromise organizational values and deliver mediocre products or services in the name of cutting costs.
Awareness for such a unique prod-uct was also a massive challenge, but because of George’s strong mindset and good consulting base, StatWizards’ consulting generated revenues while the software took hold. Consulting remains the chief source of revenue.
It’s been more than a decade, but because of the company’s philosophy towards software design, which is always driven more by business principles than statistics, StatWizards’ popularity is still at a peak and growing at great speed.
“We have tried to go where the market leads, though we have such a unique offering the direction is not always easy to fathom. New product ideas arise both from our customers’ ideas and our own.”
The Future Sight
The Company has seen its tools influence multi-million-dollar decisions which would have suffered without them. The goal has always been to spread the use of amazing quantitative techniques to help organizations around the world, because the company and its clients have experienced the benefits firsthand.
StatWizards believes that the company will continue to move in the same direction, helping organizations harness quantitative tools using Excel-based solutions. With a mix of consulting work, software development, marketing efforts and financial planning, StatWizards hopes to roll out in the next year a new Modeling Wizard that will remove the need for expert help in building Discrete-Choice models.
The Real Wizard behind StatWizards
George Boomer – Founder and CEO- George Boomer’sexperience includes two years at McKinsey & Co., the international consulting firm; seven years at Data Resources,an econometric consulting firm; and five years as co-founder of Strategy Analytics, an international consulting firm. George’s educational background consists of an A.B. in Economics from Princeton University, an M.B.A. in Finance and Information Systems from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and studies with Kenneth Train at the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Boomer has engaged in over 230 projects involving discrete-choice modeling, segmentation, and other topics.