Interview with Valéry Bollier – CEO Oulala Games

This article takes part from the interview series with our speakers for this year edition of Big Data Week.

Enjoy his thoughts on big data.

  1.    While Big Data is already a buzz term, what does it actually mean for you? (an old question with a fresh answer)

Big Data is starting to allow companies to switch from a world where they needed to guess to a world where they can deduce facts from data. The big data era will therefore lead to a rapid paradigm change. To me, Big Data is simply an amazing revolution.

  1. Is it important to be data driven nowadays? If yes, why (please use examples from your industry if possible)?

Can a company succeed and not be data driven in today’s world? In my opinion, the answer is no. Even a baker or an electrician can learn and improve their business substantially if they can acquire and properly analyse detailed information about their customers’ habits.


In our specific case, the promise we make to our clients is that we are a game that allows them to prove to their friends or community that they know football better than they do. In other words, we need to be a game of skills (rather than a game of luck) to deliver on this promise. Therefore, we are using data and processing power to create a game that is as close as possible to football reality.

Some of our smaller competitors that are not data driven struggle to deliver a similar promise to customers. They claim to be skill based games but the results of their game are much more random, meaning that if you win their game, luck played a much greater role and so it is less likely that it was a result of your superior skills. In our case, being data driven is the cornerstone to our success.


  1. What are the main challenges a company encounters when starting to look at their data? 

Companies have always needed to consider data before taking a decision, though many just do not do it. The revolution is that now, the amount of available information is much larger. Companies are therefore facing many challenges, but the most important one is always to separate the signal from the noise of their information and reports.

  1. What do you expect from your participation/talk at Big Data Week? 

Being a speaker at Big Data Week is a great opportunity. I hope to learn and share with specialists and leaders in this unique and fast growing ecosystem.

  1. Who should come and listen your talk in Big Data Week?

Anyone that is interested in understanding how big data will have a radical impact on the sports industry is likely to hear something new.

  1. Do we still need data scientists with all the tools existing today for data cleaning, analysis, machine learning?

More than ever! For example, one of the most important people in a digital marketing team is now the data analyst. Traditional marketing has always been an approximate science that replied upon experience, best guesses, and lots of hunches.

Thanks to big data – and the data analyst – digital marketing is becoming closer to an exact science every day. I firmly believe that the marketer of the future will be a statistician. Of course the machines and tools help a lot, but when it comes to interpreting the data and applying the knowledge to a strategy, no machine can replace a human, yet!  As it is said, a good data scientist is “half analyst, half artist”.

BIO:  Valéry Bollier is the co-founder and CEO of OulalaGames, a revolutionary Fantasy Football Game. He holds an Executive MBA at HEC (Major in Digital). Valéry worked for 9 years in media and online marketing and 11Vallery-Bollier-600x431 years in online gaming.

He is shareholder and former CMO of ZEturf (11% of the French horse racing market).


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