90% data-based decision making, 10% gut sets Dream11 apart; says Data Engineer Salman Dhariwala

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There was curiosity— a thirst to unravel the potential concealed within data's labyrinth for Salman Dhariwala, Director of Data Engineering at Dream11.  His focus was clear - to build robust pipelines and transform raw information or data into priceless insights.  More than just a tech pursuit, Salman has been keen to shape how organizations leverage data for strategic victories. Salman shares with us how his transition into the sports-tech industry allowed him to pursue his two greatest passions – technology and sports.

Let’s go down memory lane. What inspired you to pursue data engineering?

It all started with a fascination for the power of data & harnessing it to fuel innovation and business success.

The idea of building robust pipelines to collect, process, and transform data into valuable insights is truly captivating. Data engineering enables us to work with cutting-edge technologies and plays a pivotal role in shaping how organizations leverage data for better decision-making.

Tech Leadership Dinner at Sofitel, Mumbai

What motivated you to join the sports technology industry? And what exciting problems are you solving?

Given my passion for technology and deep-rooted love for sports (I practised weight-lifting during college days), joining the sports technology industry seemed like the perfect choice.

At Dream11, I am focused on enhancing the user experience through the personalization of our app. We're working on tailoring our app experience to meet user preferences, ensuring interactions that resonate with their unique needs and interests. This increases engagement while creating an immersive and satisfying experience for our users. The culture of experimentation runs deep in our DNA. Internally, we synergise with the experimentation team to continuously refine and optimize the app's features and functionalities. By conducting experiments and analyzing user data, we make data-driven decisions to improve the app's overall performance and usability.

Data team meet to kick-off IPL 2022 preparation

Please share a moment when you felt like you’d hit a home run at Dream11.

Absolutely! The moment I realised the vast potential of data to elevate user experiences was pivotal. Understanding how to harness the extensive data for a more enjoyable and insightful experience was a defining moment for me. It was a clear indication that we were on the right track, and it filled me with a sense of accomplishment and excitement about the possibilities ahead.

Longtime Dreamster - Appa’s Farewell at the Stadium

How do you and your team work towards building a world-class user experience for sports fans?

My team plays a pivotal role in ensuring we deliver a world-class user experience for sports fans. We do this through a two-pronged approach focused on personalization and experimentation. Here’s what I mean by that:

Personalization: We understand that every sports fan is unique, and what they want varies. To cater to this diversity, we harness the power of data to create personalized experiences. We analyze user behaviour, historical data, and other relevant information to build user profiles. These profiles help us recommend customized content, including player statistics, match highlights etc.  We aim to make every interaction on the app feel like it is tailored for individual use.

Experimentation: The sports landscape is dynamic, and user expectations are ever-evolving. To stay at the forefront of this, we regularly conduct experiments. Our experimentation platform allows us to test new features, designs, and functionalities. We gather feedback and analyze data to understand what works best and what needs improvement. This iterative approach ensures we can rapidly adapt to changing user needs and provide a seamless and engaging experience.

Combining these two approaches, we aim to create a dynamic and responsive user experience that keeps sports fans engaged and excited while using the Dream11 app.

Meeting with the AWS Leadership at the Stadium

What do you think about Mumbai becoming India’s next technology hub in India?

Mumbai has great potential to become India's next technology hub. With companies like Dream11 leading the way in the sports tech industry and the city's burgeoning tech ecosystem, it's clear that we are on the right path.

Additionally, Mumbai's large base of tech startups is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit and a clear indication of the city’s growing pool of tech talent and resources available for innovation to flourish.

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