Meet Arnold Macauley, Partner and Co-Owner at Nansen and Self-Described “Motor Head”

Meet Arnold Macauley, Partner and Co-Owner at Nansen

As the Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Owner at Nansen, partner Arnold Macauley holds a fair amount of sway over the agency’s current and future direction. His vision for Nansen draws on what he sees as the company’s greatest strength: building true relationships with customers that help generate innovation and success.

As the Chief Strategy Officer and Co-Owner at Nansen, partner Arnold Macauley holds a fair amount of sway over the agency’s current and future direction. His vision for Nansen draws on what he sees as the company’s greatest strength: building true relationships with customers that help generate innovation and success.

Arnold Macauley Self-described "Motor head"

What's your career background? Where were you before Nansen?

I come from a technical background; I was a developer for many, many years. I don't think anyone on the team would let me near a keyboard now but I still definitely enjoy solutioning through pet projects at home.

I started off my career in the public sector and worked for the police force in the UK.  Using my skills for the public good was a great fit and something I was very passionate about.  This is where I started to understand the value and power of web-based applications and connected data.  We transitioned from native desktop to web portals, and making data accessible which could be consumed by other systems, which improved the experience for officers and how they did their work.  They became more efficient by accessing their systems in real time.

After 5 years of working for the police force, I started to realize that I thrived on solving complex business challenges via some form of digital experience.  It was the late 2000s / early 2010s and with the rise of the smartphone and the start of the digital transformation era I took the next step and worked for several well-known marketing agencies such as Digitas, and LBI, and focused on providing amazing experiences to clients such as Lloyds Bank and Virgin Airways. This is where I came across Nansen in 2013 - a Swedeish based agency using technology in a strategic way to provide unique user experiences. It was a clear differentiator for our clients with an apparent return on investment and increased growth and revenue. I felt I’d met my perfect match!

Nansen had a different employee-centric culture, so I took the jump to become a permanent employee and haven’t looked back since. I worked in our UK office and shortly afterward transitioned over to our office in Chicago USA.

At Nansen, what was your journey to your current role?

In Chicago, initially, I was focused on the delivery of projects—how we deliver projects for our clients, faster, whilst maintaining our high quality standards. The end goal was how we can provide our clients a return on their investment at the earliest opportunity by focusing on the things that will help them “move the needle”. 

From there, I transitioned into the role that I'm in now, which is helping our clients strategically craft and implement forward-thinking strategies that drive growth, innovation, and a competitive edge.  From my perspective and based on what I have seen throughout my career, the experience that we provide for the end user is going to be the key differentiator.  My role involves leveraging this knowledge and insight to guide our team in delivering customized, impactful solutions that help our clients not only meet but exceed expectations.

You’re an Optimizely MVP. What’s that process like?

I was very honored to be categorized as an OMVP. A lot of work went into making sure I could get onto the list and everyone in the community is super smart. There's a lot of imposter syndrome at points, which is reassurance you are with a lot of inspiring and talented people.

There are two MVP tracks: there's a strategy MVP and then a technical MVP. The technical side is more about doing the actual implementation and best practices and coming up with new solutions that can be put back into the platform. I was on the strategic track, focused on helping educate the Optimizely community, but also clients and others, on how they can utilize the platform from a strategic perspective to achieve the goals that they were looking for. I also shared thoughts to help enhance the platform. 

What do you think is unique about Nansen's work?

Without sounding too cliche I would say it's the relationships with our clients I think that's one of the things that drew me to Nansen initially, I feel that is very rare.

It's not just camaraderie, but that is certainly part of it. It’s more that we can come in to understand our clients' problems/opportunities and put this into the context of their business goals.  This enables us to enter into a true partnership where our clients can trust that we have an understanding of them and their business.  I think once you've obtained that trust is when you are able to then explore some of the more innovative approaches and push the boundaries of what's possible in terms of innovation. And that's really where the magic happens and we can do the most impactful work, which is our mission.

What are some recent Nansen projects that you're particularly proud of?

One project that stands out for me involved a financial services client looking to transform how they presented product information to increase lead generation. Faced with their existing limitations in content management, we identified an innovative solution that aligned closely with their strategic goals.

The idea that we came up with was very forward-thinking and would revolutionize their core processes. So it was amazing to have a client who trusted us and our partnership to bring this to fruition. The system allowed for more agile content management, enabling the client to update and distribute product information efficiently and effectively, leading to a significant uptick in user engagement and lead conversion.

The collaboration between our team and the client was key to this project's success. It was not just about implementing new technology but integrating it in a way that meshed seamlessly with their business operations and objectives. The result was a substantial increase in their operational efficiency and lead generation capabilities, which ultimately earned them an industry-recognized award.

So the fact that we were able to come in with the idea, align with our client, have this solution out in the world with end users using it, and, have it be externally recognized—that's something that I’m really proud of.

As a partner at Nansen, what excites you about the future of the company?

I’m extremely excited about the future of our company especially as we delve deeper into the realm of experience-led growth (ELG).  ELG ties right into our company vision which is to unlock a better way to experience the world, leveraging technology and creativity. This vision fuels our pursuit of expanding the scope of our engagements beyond traditional digital interfaces i.e. the website, to encompass every facet of the customer journey. Whether it’s enhancing a mobile app or creating dynamic sales support tools, our goal is to harness our comprehensive expertise and robust data analytics to craft solutions that not only meet but exceed customer expectations across all touchpoints.

There is so much potential to help both new and future clients with developing innovative services that can improve their operational efficiencies.  So not only helping them make money but also save money.  I feel these types of projects represent our commitment to driving growth and facilitating seamless experiences that benefit both our clients and their customers.

From a cultural perspective this focus on growth has the promise to bring more dynamic and diverse projects for our team, enabling them to work on the latest technologies and foster an environment of continuous learning.  This aligns with our company mission by introducing exciting challenges that can inspire and unite the team.

I feel this helps reaffirm our position as a leading player in today’s digitally transformed world, and each success along this journey is like a stepping stone towards realizing our vision of creating a world where businesses and more importantly people thrive through innovative, seamless experiences.

Outside of work, what do you like to do?

I am a huge motor head. I'm not sure if that term translates into the US, but anything to do with driving and racing is my passion and hobby. I’ve been a fan of Formula One since I was 5 years old and never miss a race on TV, and I used to race go-karts with a 125cc 2 stroke engine that can do 75mph.  

What initially got me into [Formula 1] even at that young age was how they were using technology to push the boundaries of innovation. I think it was 1993 when the Williams F1 team introduced a car that could essentially drive itself. The car was ahead of its time because it included a number of onboard computer systems. I remember watching with my Dad as the engineers connected about 3 or 4 different laptops, with a number of engineers huddled round each laptop, and this was just to start the car!

I can still vividly see their demonstration of one of their new features which was called “active suspension”. It was linked to a button on the steering wheel that would lower the car to eliminate the drag and increase the top speed. When they released this in 1993, watching what the engineers had envisioned actually come to fruition on the racetrack, is honestly what got me hooked.

That level of innovation to really break the boundaries of what's possible is what this is all about right?

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Meet Arnold Macauley, Partner and Co-Owner at Nansen

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