Today marks the start of our new series, Meeting the Team, where we introduce you to the hard-working Embracians behind your favorite mobile analytics tool. This piece will introduce you to Ray Nakada, the newest member of our Embrace family and a Product Data Analyst on our Customer Success team.
Ray moved to over 10 cities starting in middle school and hasn’t stayed put for more than five years.
“I’m an East Coast guy born and raised in Jersey but when I was 10, I moved to Japan because my parents were expats. After 3 or 4 years, I realized that while I’m ethnically Japanese, I didn’t feel like I fit in. So my dad sent me off on my own to the states again. I actually went to middle school in Japan and then high school in Massachusetts,” said Ray.
He attended college in what he says is a tiny school of less than 2000 kids out in Maine, still on the East Coast.
“But I became so tired of that culture and the importance of a family name on identity,” said Ray. “When you’re leaving college, the only places you’re thinking about are the big cities, so San Francisco was the first place that came to mind.“
A college degree in Biology pushed him to start his career in healthcare consulting before settling into the tech scene.
“That’s where I tried to tie my studies with my career, but it wasn’t the case. I’m grateful to them though because they allowed me to understand that data is very valuable in this day and age, opening my eyes to more efficient ways to analyze data than manually,” said Ray.
Starting from that background in healthcare meant Ray had to self-study SQL, Excel, and Python.
“I thought joining a more tech-heavy startup would accelerate my growth. When I decided to look for a new job, I was looking to move out of San Francisco,” said Ray. “I joined Embrace because it was such a cool concept of being a data guy on the Customer Success team—the true definition of a consultant.”
Ray currently serves as a Product Data Analyst, interfacing with partners and optimizing the visualization of our data.
“It’s about the balance of being a good Customer Success Manager while being able to dive deep into the data in a meaningful way. What I found more difficult is that the job was more client-facing than I anticipated. I had to wrap my head around that because in terms of the tech stack, I have more experience,” said Ray.
The new analyst hopes that combined with the fact that Embrace doesn’t operate on a ticketing-basis, his casual attitude reassures partners.
“Talking to customers has added to this whole discussion of us being partners and how much they value our product,” said Ray. “I really hope they do see me as a partner and not as someone who’s trying to push Embrace’s services on them. I’m just so grateful they’re giving us this information that’ll help both us and them improve.”
One of Embrace’s cultural tenets, ownership, is something the autodidact is already familiar with.
“It helps that Embrace is super small. There’s so much on everyone’s plate and nobody is directed to do work specifically. It’s more like, ‘Hey, this is what I want to do. This is what I came up with and how it works. it can help XYZ teams do this’, said Ray. “Emphasizing ownership makes it easy for me to pick up what I want to do depending on how I want to see the team grow.”
Ray’s first day at Embrace was actually just two weeks before Stay-at-Home orders started in Los Angeles.
“My friends are really big on surfing, so we went to the beach. But I’m terrified of the water. One of my goals for the summer was to learn how to surf, but now, I guess we’ll see. I also want to see what LA nightlife is like. I went out a few times, but there’s more to explore. Now, it’s different.”
The Embrace team still made sure to welcome him to the city with a night at KBBQ.
“It was when I first joined—it was really fun. We went out to drinks, and it was super welcoming. They made sure I knew that we had a relaxed, casual work environment. It helped break the ice, because I didn’t know what to expect,” said Ray.
He has no plans to leave any time soon and hopes to settle in as a Los Angeles resident after quarantine ends.
“I’ve moved around so much now, and it’s so tiring. I don’t want to do that again but I don’t want to limit myself like that,” said Ray. “LA is nice, and the tech scene is up and coming. I don’t want to leave for another 5+ years. I want to get a foothold where I am right now.”
But in the meantime, he’s had his hands full with work and worrying about cutting his own hair.
“It was scary. I get a simple ‘shave the sides, keep the top long’ and gel it whenever—that usually takes fifteen minutes, but this took me an hour. I was all alone, I didn’t have a comb, and I didn’t have enough mirrors. At one point, I considered giving myself a buzzcut because that would’ve been so much easier,” said Ray.
Before I let him go, I had to reassure him that I couldn’t even tell. He already knew.
"I know, right? I’ve been getting that a lot. In a couple weeks, when I have to do it again, we’ll just have to trim that time down,” said Ray.