Big Data: Spills, Thrills, Intrigue, and Excitement!

Panel Discussion
Friday, May 8, 2015 - 2:25 pm

... Also, spending six hours building a lookup table.

Data is exciting. But behind the brilliant technologies and insights, are a bunch of real jobs in real companies, with real humans. It's complicated and hard to create real measurable value. You can learn code, algorithms, and statistics, but text books (or academia) can never prepare you for exactly what to expect in the real world as a data scientist. Let's have a conversation about the implementation problems we're all trying to solve, and the solutions we're finding along the way. 

Representing some of the top tech companies, this panel will give you an honest look into the truth behind what was called the sexiest job for the 21st century, and how universities can better prepare their graduates for successful data science careers. 

Big Data: Spills, Thrills, Intrigue, and Excitement! - DataEDGE 2015

Data Science Manager

Elena Grewal is a Data Science Manager at Airbnb. She joined Airbnb three years ago, when the company had 200 employees, and has seen how data science has been used to help drive the growth of the company to now over 1500 employees with over a million hosts and guests staying with each other around the world. Her team of data scientists partners with the product team, using experimentation and exploratory analysis to guide and inspire product changes, and also building innovative data products to empower hosts and guests. Examples include optimizing search ranking, improving the booking experience, and creating tools for hosts like dashboards and pricing suggestions. Most recently she spearheaded a series of improvements to Airbnb’s review system that enabled greater trust in the platform through more honest reviews. Elena has a BA from Yale University. She received her MA in Economics and PhD in Education from Stanford University.

Senior Director of Analytics and Data Science

Cameran is the Senior Director of Analytics and Data Science at thredUP, a startup inspiring a new generation to think second hand first.  There she helps drives top line growth through advanced and predictive analytics.  Previously, she served as the Director of Data Science at VMware where she built and led the data team for End User Computing.  Before moving to the tech industry, she spent five years at The Disneyland Resort setting ticket and hotel prices and building models to forecast attendance. Cameran holds an undergraduate degree in Economics/Mathematics from UC Santa Barbara and graduated with honors from UC Irvine's MBA program.

Head of Data Science
Social+Capital Partnership

Jonathan Hsu is the Head of Data Science at the Social+Capital Partnership, an early stage venture capital firm in Palo Alto that focuses on deploying capital to address big problems with some of the world's best entrepreneurs. At S+C, Jonathan works on predicting the future and advising portfolio companies on their growth, analytics and data science activities.

Prior to Social+Capital, Jonathan spent several years at Facebook where he built out the analytics and data science functions and led several such teams working on a wide variety of features in the Facebook product including the platform, profile, feed, engagement and sharing. Before Facebook, Jonathan led the analytics team at Slide which was subsequently acquired by Google. He joined Slide via the acquisition of Superpoke, one of the first Facebook applications, which he co-founded on the side while being a PM at Microsoft. Jonathan did his PhD in theoretical physics at Stanford and his bachelor's degree at UC Berkeley in Engineering Physics.

Data Scientist

Kimberly Stedman does big data in the games industry. She was originally a field anthropologist, and has lived in five developing countries. Kim has a Master’s in Social and Organizational Systems Analysis.

Kim specializes in the design and management of the social systems that surround data technologies. In other words: Awesome! We’ve got a better algorithm running on faster hardware! … Now what? Kim gave a 5-minute Ignite talk on this topic: How to Build an Effective Data Science Department.
Kim also blogs as K2. She wrote Brosie the Riveter, a comedic article on gender issues in gaming and STEM.