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We watch it for mul­ti­ple rea­sons ... I think peo­ple don’t re­alise what im­pact it has on our lives,” says Dil Khosa, op­er­a­tions man­ager of Par­rot An­a­lyt­ics, a New Zealand-born TV data-sci­ence com­pany, which now has an of­fice in Los Angeles and clients around the globe.

Khosha doesn’t have much time for TV (“My life is re­ally work right now,” she says), but when she does get time to re­lax, she mostly en­joys those with strong fe­male leads like Scan­dal. “I love any­thing by Shonda Rhimes,” she says.

And al­though TV is her “es­capism”, Khosa’s oc­cu­pa­tion cen­tres around new pos­si­bil­i­ties for TV.

“It’s re­ally hard to de­scribe my role,” says the 28-year- old. She makes sure strate­gies are ex­e­cuted and a strong cul­ture is kept alive at the fast-grow­ing com­pany.

Strong women in the real world in­spire Khosa, who says New Zealand is lead­ing the women in tech­nol­ogy move­ment in many ways. As the re­cip­i­ent of a Diane Fore­man schol­ar­ship, Khosa com­pleted the EY Dar­den ex­ec­u­tive pro­gramme at the Uni­ver­sity of Vir­ginia this year, where she learnt more about eco­nomics, tech­nol­ogy start-ups and lead­er­ship. Khosa thought she might have been too young for the pro­gramme, but “con­sid­er­ing my role and ev­ery­thing I have to achieve ev­ery day, it was im­por­tant and ex­tremely eye open­ing”.

“I’m one of those peo­ple who was prob­a­bly a prod­uct of the coun­try's ini­tia­tive to cre­ate a knowl­edge-based econ­omy,” she says, re­fer­ring back to New Zealand’s early-2000s ini­tia­tive.

Khosa is also cur­rently a board mem­ber of The New Zealand Tech­nol­ogy In­dus­try As­so­ci­a­tion (NZTech), as part of its in­tern­ship ini­tia­tive. The six-month place­ment gives Khosa a first-hand look at gov­er­nance and the board ben­e­fits from her young tech­nol­ogy start-up per­spec­tive.

“I think that di­ver­sity is so hugely use­ful in a board set­ting,” she says.

Khosa was born in Malaysia and moved to Auck­land at the age of 18, then moved to Dunedin to em­brace the new and ex­cit­ing learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment. She says all her ex­pe­ri­ences, in­clud­ing po­si­tions at Pa­cific Chan­nel Lim­ited, Fu­turetech and the Min­istry of Sci­ence and In­no­va­tion, de­lib­er­ately ex­panded her knowl­edge in tech­nol­ogy star­tups. Her biotech­nol­ogy de­gree at the Uni­ver­sity of Otago and masters in bio­science en­ter­prise at the Uni­ver­sity of Auck­land made her aware there was great sci­ence but it needed to be com­mer­cialised and shared with the world.

As a leader, Khosa fo­cuses her at­ten­tion on oth­ers by lis­ten­ing and sup­port­ing.

“I want to see peo­ple flour­ish and I want to flour­ish with them,” she says. As one of the first em­ploy­ees at the startup – founded by CEO Wared Seger and cur­rent so­lu­tion en­gi­neer Chris Rid­dell three years ago – Khosa’s role has ex­panded.

“The great thing about be­ing in a startup is your rate of learn­ing is three-to-five times more than at any other place you can think of,” she says. “Ti­tles don’t mat­ter at a startup.”

And she rel­ishes the op­por­tu­ni­ties that come from the flex­i­bil­ity and di­ver­sity of work.

“Be­cause I’m a gen­er­al­ist, I want to be in­volved in ev­ery­thing across the com­pany,” says Khosa. “The best part of my job is the team that I work with. Ev­ery­one there is so spe­cial and in­tel­li­gent.”

The in­ter­na­tional team in Auck­land also ben­e­fits from di­ver­sity, with 23 lan­guages spo­ken among them.

In a world where big data is big busi­ness, Khosa’s team is dis­rupt­ing one of the last in­dus­tries to be up­turned by new data tech­nolo­gies – tele­vi­sion.

“It’s entertainment and it’s prob­a­bly the largest in­dus­try in the world … We al­ways say it’s worth US$800 bil­lion per year,” she says. “But it lacks good data-based de­ci­sions.”

Par­rot An­a­lyt­ics tracks so­cial me­dia, blog posts, Wikipedia, stream­ing ser­vices, file shar­ing and more to fol­low “ex­pres­sions of de­mand”. This en­ables the entertainment »

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