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Patrícia Osorio: “A failure is not always a mistake”

Probably the best advice I ever received was to find people that are better than me to work with. I heard it several times, from different people, and I never really understood that until a few years ago, when I had the opportunity to build a team that challenged me daily and made me learn […]

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Probably the best advice I ever received was to find people that are better than me to work with. I heard it several times, from different people, and I never really understood that until a few years ago, when I had the opportunity to build a team that challenged me daily and made me learn a lot. Since then, that’s one of my top priorities as an entrepreneur and executive, and one of the reasons why we are being successful at Birdie. My team of co-founders is really strong: one of my co-founders is the youngest Ph.D. in Brazil (age 26) and has been working with AI and Machine Learning for more than 12 years. The other is an Endeavor entrepreneur who was listed by CNBC as one of the 20 most innovative founders in Latin America, and the third is a self-taught multiskilled entrepreneur who learned to code, to design UIs and DataViz and several other stuff all by himself.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Patrícia Osorio. Pat is a serial entrepreneur and the co-founder of Birdie, an AI-based Insights-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform that helps CPG brands extract actionable consumer insights from unstructured data to predict category trends, anticipate product crises, and discover promotional opportunities in key retail channels in real time. Developed in collaboration with industry-leading veterans of the CPG and AI technology worlds, Birdie offers brands a powerful new system of intelligence that puts valuable, but previously neglected, data to use.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I’m a hard worker who is passionate about building things that will impact other people’s lives, and who really enjoys working and helping other people achieve their goals. My parents are really visionary people who always pushed me to challenge the status quo and not to accept something until I really understand the why behind it. Their example made me become one of those “Why” persons who asks this all the time, to everyone. That definitely influenced me a lot to look for a career where I could challenge and improve things and led me to become an entrepreneur — which I think that is, in most cases, a person who wants to challenge existing models. I also had the luck of being exposed to the right opportunities and people, and that led me to where I am today.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

Sure! Birdie is disrupting the Market Research Industry, an 80-billion-dollar market that is led by huge companies like Nielsen and IPSOS. Even though traditional surveys are — and will always be — relevant, they take too long to get to results, cover a smaller part of the population, and tend to be biased as we decide the questions we ask.

Our approach is different: we are a system of intelligence that captures millions of conversations and opinions from product reviews, discussion forums, and other sources — including internal data from our clients, and uses them to understand consumers’ opinions and perceptions about brands and products. This is a key difference for two reasons: first, our clients get insights up to 60% faster as they stop spending time with implementations and setups. Second, they stop having the risk of missing insights or relevant aspects according to the consumer just because they didn’t think about asking — we say that we eliminate the Insights FOMO.

Birdie also innovates by focusing on business and product aspects instead of being a broader, more generic solution. This focus allows us to go much deeper into analyzing the data and organizing it automatically according to product attributes, the context of use, personas, SKUs, price tiers, sales results, and much more. That approach allows our clients to stay up to date with what consumers think, learn what is working or not, and create products and campaigns that drive growth — makes it easier to prove the ROI of Consumer Insights.

Finally, Birdie is focused on making the insights as actionable as possible, becoming a trigger to different areas take actions based on the insights we uncovered, connecting with other tools our clients use — like their CRMs and Marketing Platforms — to ensure insights are activated and to break the silos between different data sources and tools.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

I did what a lot of entrepreneurs do: I fell in love with our product and stopped to really listen to our customers’ feedback. If somebody told me that our product was amazing, but they never bought it I’d still believe them, instead of realizing they were just afraid to tell us what was wrong and hurt our feelings. It made me learn how to validate and revalidate anything we heard and to value actions much more than words.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I am really lucky I had a lot of help from several people, each one in their own special way, but I’d say especially my family. My parents and my brother were the ones who were always supporting me from day one in any way they could, even when I made decisions that they didn’t agree with. My wife is the one who is always there at the end of the day either to cheer me up, to celebrate with me or to help me with a hard decision. They are all teaching me lessons every day about how to become a better person before anything.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Disrupting can be bad sometimes, especially when that disruption favors only a specific group over others. True and positive disruption, for me, happens when it can benefit society as a whole and impact positively on people’s lives, normally by giving them access to something previously inaccessible or harder to find. A disruption that works based on the oppression of several people just to benefit a few and that increases prejudice, lack of transparency, or doesn’t contribute to diversity is questionable, and ideally shouldn’t be supported nor praised.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Probably the best advice I ever received was to find people that are better than me to work with. I heard it several times, from different people, and I never really understood that until a few years ago, when I had the opportunity to build a team that challenged me daily and made me learn a lot. Since then, that’s one of my top priorities as an entrepreneur and executive, and one of the reasons why we are being successful at Birdie. My team of co-founders is really strong: one of my co-founders is the youngest Ph.D. in Brazil (age 26) and has been working with AI and Machine Learning for more than 12 years. The other is an Endeavor entrepreneur who was listed by CNBC as one of the 20 most innovative founders in Latin America, and the third is a self-taught multiskilled entrepreneur who learned to code, to design UIs and DataViz and several other stuff all by himself.

Another piece of advice I got that changed my life (I’m actually still working on it) was to stop trying to fit. You don’t need to be like everyone else to be successful or happy. Examples and references from others are great and they should inspire you to become the best version of yourself, not a version of someone else. I remember that before accepting who I was, I forced myself into becoming someone I was not for several times, and that drained my energy and took my focus from my strengths. Discovering that I needed to be neither perfect nor like others expected took a lot of pressure from me and allowed me to find my space and develop my own way of leading.

And I’ll stick with these two : )

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

My mission is to impact people’s lives by supporting outstanding and diverse entrepreneurs. So my idea is that, after Birdie shows the value of real-time actionable insights based on consumers’ opinions, I use my experience to support other entrepreneurs with bold ideas and the desire to change the world.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

As a Reid Hoffman’s fan, I love his books The Startup of You and Blitzcaling and his podcast Masters of Scale.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

There are several quotes that inspired me during my journey. One that really moves me is one that was said by Skinner, an American psychologist that pioneered Behavioral Psychology. He said, among several other amazing things, that “A failure is not always a mistake, it may simply be the best one can do under the circumstances. The real mistake is to stop trying.”. I love this quote for a few reasons: first, because it makes us more tolerant of other people’s mistakes — and our own — by framing the fact that sometimes that is the best someone can do at that moment given his circumstances and background. Second, because it states one of the principles of behavior psychology, which is that we can teach almost anything to anyone if we give them the right stimuli. Last, because it reinforces one of my great beliefs, which is that we shouldn’t stop trying and pursuing something and that the worst we can do is give up.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I believe education and self-knowledge are the most powerful things in the world, so I would probably create a movement around making sure education and therapy were accessible to everyone since their early days.

How can our readers follow you online?

My Linkedin — where I’m most active — is linkedin.com/in/patriciaomg. I also plan to get back to tweeting soon at @patriciaomg.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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