Jon Grunwaldt
Senior Manager, Strategy & Analytics
Live Nation

NextGen is all about the up and coming, and what better example than analytics to show not only what’s happening, but what’s next?

“A big responsibility of our team is to build tools that deliver insights to our colleagues so that they can use data to make operating decisions,” says Jon Grunwaldt, who about six years ago applied for a job at a newly formed team at Live Nation focused on financial analysis. “From annual planning to midseason testing, seeing data drive a positive impact on the business is super rewarding. Over the last six years, I’ve had a blast growing with the team.”

Grunwaldt got his official start as a waiter and barback at a family-owned restaurant in high school, where he enjoyed the hospitality aspect and bringing people together. Although he pursued internships in finance throughout college, he missed the energy of the hospitality industry. He credits Live Nation senior vice president of revenue and analytics Joe Taylor for believing in him.

“Using data to drive informed decision making is where I feel our team makes the biggest impact,” Grunwaldt says. “Continually helping my colleagues understand how we can do that is part of where I will continue to drive impact in the future. Beyond sending out reports, I constantly try to step back and learn more about the business and understand others’ perspectives.”

It’s no surprise that the younger generations are already familiar with advances in technology and the ability to adapt, which Grunwaldt says is particularly important in his role.

“A lesson that goes way back for me, that I still try to live by and share, is to never say no to a project,” he said. “There are very few manuals for what we do — so don’t be afraid to jump out of your comfort zone and trust that your leaders and team have your back. Never be afraid to ask a lot of questions which will help you learn and demonstrate your ability to understand the business. Lastly, stay humble. Confidence is important but always be receptive to feedback and different perspectives.”

The old adage is “time is money,” and analytics may have a similar need for speed, which Grunwaldt says he finds exciting.

“Over the last couple of years, there has also been a big desire for closer to real-time data,” he said. “It’s been exhilarating to work with my team and push the envelope on this one, delivering faster insights every year.