Data Science Meetup

In an attempt to broaden my horizons, I went to a meet up on Data Science. I figured, I could hang, I took statistics one summer at UCLA, I paid attention in math class. The two speakers at Cross Campus, a shared office for teck start-ups in Santa Monica, presented cogent words on this burgeoning science.

Szilard Pafka presents at Cross Campus

Szilard Pafka presents at Cross Campus

Szilard Pafka shared ten pit falls on data science. He admitted there were many more, but he only had 30 minuets to give his talk. He presented a graph that outlines the “science”. “This is my only slide” he admitted. It out lined the circular elements that make up the field: Understand, collect, explore, clean, model, validate, communicate and understand. It is a circle after all. “The point” Pafka said “is to extract business value from data; Collect more money or create actionable information; Do ‘B’ instead of ‘A'”. Pafka warned about coming up with ideas, procedures or goals that were so complex, they could never be implemented.

The second speaker of the evening was Eduardo Arino de la Rubia: “Bootstrapping a Data Science Practice at your Company and in your Career”. Eduardo was a personable speaker who engaged the audience first with photos of his dogs and then of the $6 million dollar printing presses he performs data science on for INGRAM. He outlined his career, and how, with the help of paid and free on line resources, he taught himself data science. “Ask simple questions to smart people” is his credo. The science was more about choosing which algorithm to use than writing them. “Stand on the shoulders of giants” he told his audience. He also counseled “don’t order a big computer system on your first day. You can do the whole job on your lap top.”

“Art” could be substituted for science, but with all those numbers and statistics and upper management wondering why you are employed, “science” is better for the ego, until your work saves the company $100 mill; again.