// . //  The Alumni Network //  Sebastian Wernicke

Sebastian serves as chief data scientist at ONE LOGIC, a German software and consulting boutique for massive-scale data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Sebastian originally studied bioinformatics and has worked across disciplines, from strategy consulting to building massive-scale platforms for genetic data analysis. With more than 4 million views, he is widely known for his TED Talks on data and statistics. Sebastian previously held the position of principal at Oliver Wyman’s Munich office. We had the opportunity to catch up with Sebastian and learn about his journey post-Oliver Wyman.

Since my company is actually working with Oliver Wyman on projects now, there's also a fascinating intersection of old and new
Sebastian Wernicke, Oliver Wyman Alumni

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your career path since leaving Oliver Wyman.

I left Oliver Wyman in 2012, a year when biotech — in particular genomics — and cloud computing started to take off seriously. I joined a Boston-based startup working within this intersection. We grew from 20 to more than 250 employees in just three years, and I spent my time in a transatlantic quantum state between Boston, San Francisco, London, Munich, and Belgrade. When my son was on the way, it was time to commit to one location. I moved back to my hometown, Munich, to become chief data scientist at ONE LOGIC, supporting organizations across industries to gain actionable insights from their vast data collections.

How is what you're doing now similar or different to what you did at Oliver Wyman? 

It's a comparable level of intensity, and I depend as much as ever on having a smart, dedicated team and amazing colleagues. The main difference is that scaling a company is one gigantic, open-ended project without a defined end. You have to see every action and decision through to the end. Most decisions will have an immediate impact, and you will have less control over your agenda than you'd like. Since my company is actually working with Oliver Wyman on projects now, there's also a fascinating intersection of old and new.

What was one of your most important experiences at Oliver Wyman?

Working on a very intense 15-month project to restructure a large insurer was an awesome demonstration of what a truly capable and tightly-knit group of colleagues can achieve. The friendships from that project last until today, as do the results.

What do you do when you're not working?

Usually, I start with a plan to cook an elaborate recipe based on food science. However, I quickly simplify things when my 1½-year-old son makes it quite clear that he expects a fast turnaround on his request for noodles.

What advice do you give former and current consultants and staff?

There are two ways to react to a fire-hose of information and data: increasing processing speed and seeking ground truths and first principles. So far, I have yet to meet a successful person subscribing to the first way.

Sebastian unveils the secrets of a successful TED Talks

 Sebastian uses statistical analysis tools to develop metrics for "the ultimate TED Talk" based on user ratings. According to Sebastian, the most successful TED Talks include:

  • A topic that listeners can connect with easily and deeply.

  • A strategic delivery of its diction, references, and presentation.

  • A visual that sets the mood on the stage.

Using these findings, Sebastian has created the tedPAD, which serves as a tool for everyone to create their own ultimate TED talk. In his own talk, "Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics," he humorously  analyzes TED talks. You can watch it on ted.com by clicking the link below.


This page was originally published on June 25, 2018.