Analytics with alums

Rory Partalis (BBA ’04) Product Manager, A9/Amazon, San Francisco, Calif.

Peter Stoddard | Nov. 08, 2018

A9 fuels the Amazon search engine, and their work starts long before a customer types a query. Using analyzed data, past traffic patterns, and index text describing every product in their catalog before the customer decides to search, they’re ready with instant suggestions and a comprehensive set of search results.

At A9, Rory Partalis manages the AR (augmented reality) View product, allowing customers to see how thousands of products look before buying. From bedroom furniture Rory Partalisto kitchen appliances, one can virtually stage their home via smartphone camera and Amazon’s product catalog.

“Even as an undergrad at UGA, I dabbled in mobile apps, launching a music streaming app of local Athens’ bands for Palm PDAs through the Grady New Media Institute,” he says. “This was before Pandora or even smartphones existed, so it’s not a total coincidence I ended up at Pandora Radio a few years later.”

He gained an academic leg up in marketing classes by creating websites for several projects, and was an early recipient of UGA’s New Media Interdisciplinary Certificate, which was instrumental in preparation for his tech career. 

At A9/Amazon, analytics plays a role at the beginning and end of every AR View project. He first analyzes a problem then partners with design and engineering staff to manage the roadmap to solutions. Once the project goes live, Partalis uses analytics to measure core performance indicators and other benchmarks of success.

His advice to students wishing to pursue a career in analytics: “Become fluent in the SQL programming language. SQL is now the most widely used database language, so I recommend becoming comfortable writing queries and presenting structured data to show the results of your work or support the points you are trying to make.”