Ville Satopää is an Assistant Professor of Technology and Operations Management at INSEAD. His current research explores different areas of forecasting: judgmental and statistical forecasting, modeling crowdsourced predictions, combining and evaluating different predictions, and information elicitation. This involves developing general theory and methodology but also specific projects that analyze real-world data. In addition to working on forecasting, Ville has experience in applying Bayesian statistics to rank hospitals in terms of disease-specific mortality rates.Before joining INSEAD, Ville received a M.A. / Ph.D. degrees in Statistics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a B.A. in Mathematics and Computer Sciences from Williams College.
What do you do best?
I obsess over research questions and never give up. I don’t dwell on one potential solution for too long. I quickly move on from an unsuccessful attempt and try another approach. I can stay focused for long periods of time and not get side-tracked on "cute’’ projects that ultimately have very little impact on the real-world. To do this, I talk to a lot of people from different fields, frequently take steps back, and evaluate my research from a distance.
What makes you the best?
I only work on projects that I truly care about and believe in. This helps me to obsess and look for the solution much harder than I otherwise would. As a bonus, it barely feels like work. I also look for ways to improve myself through challenges. These can be as minor as reading a book outside my field or as extreme as throwing myself into a situation that I am not qualified to handle. I know if I work hard, I will somehow make it and come out stronger than before.
What are your aspirations?
Personal: Travel to remote places, meet new people, enjoy nature, always develop new skills.
Business: Carry out research that impacts society, change the way people think, never get too comfortable.
Having made best friends with people from all around the world.
Most Challenging Moment?
I believe the biggest challenge and impact comes from little choices of everyday life. It is challenging to keep in mind the big picture and remain true to oneself. It is hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance while aiming for a good tradeoff between money and passion.
"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.’’- Albert Einstein
Favorite People/Role Models?
My family and friends.
Alaska, Iceland, Patagonia, and Tokyo (in that order).
My Kindle. Best 100 dollars ever spent.
Scuba diving (the dream is to dive with a blue whale one day), board games, floorball (a type of floor hockey), and studying French.