From left: Tom HC Anderson, Jamin Brazil, Steve August, and Julie Kurd
This year’s IIeX Conference at the beautiful University of Texas at Austin was a whirlwind tour of what’s next in insights. The content was exceptional across the board, and because others have offered terrific recaps, I’m going to just focus on three other reasons why this conference is such a success:
1. Data Scientists and Data Citizens
One question on my mind is the role “Citizen Data Scientists” will play in democratizing big data—what is the right mix of data scientists to data citizens in the game we are all entering?
I got to see this play out in real life when Anuraag Verma and Aaron Davis of Alpha let us conduct a hands-on experiment to customize the machine learning classifier on their converseon.ai platform.
The engaging experiment became even more fun when Annie Petit (@lovestats), a colleague whose PhD credentials, super intuition, and talent we all admire and I, a curious data citizen (hint: NOT a scientist) approached the algorithm training in very different ways.
I quickly started focusing on hand coding only the negs to pos where appropriate, where Annie reported proceeding with a balanced approach. At the first level, my trainer number and hers were both over 94%, but the proof is in the model score after it's validated against a larger holdout set of data and machine learning enters the scene. It turns out, the F1s were all fairly well clustered except for a winner (screen name “Kermit the Frog) who was higher than the rest. Our industry needs our data scientists, but the data citizen may yet play a role.
2. Founders on Hand
I’ve never met more company founders in a 3-day span. Some had their pitch down to 120 seconds, and others, deep in love with their product, were a little less polished but often just as fascinating. There were so many, to name them would mean slighting someone, but let’s give a few companies I learned about who actually presented or were in the ‘meet the startups’ sessions:
- Scalehouse–Identify which parts of your business are primed for scaling and growth @kristinluck and @jaranderson
- FocalCast–CEO Devin Turner @focalcast talked about his live focus groups and interactive stimuli that work on any device, anywhere in the world
- Adrich’s Adhithi Aje, founder and CEO @adrichtech talks about her thin sticker type IoT sensor that goes on your product, so you can track (with permission) the usage of anything from salad dressing to industrial equipment.
- @collaborata founders talked about their product being for a buyer who only has $10k left in their budget and they can then pool that extra cash with others for some foundational deep dive research that costs maybe more like $100k but is funded like a multi-client.
3. Voices of the Industry
The IIEX is the most exceptional mix of industry amplifiers and emerging thought leadership, and I participate in a lot of conferences.
- First, Jamin Brazil was on hand conducting podcasts throughout the sessions. His podcasts were casual and straightforward, the true sign of a master. He even demonstrated live to us with Amy Snow. During the 8-10-minute podcast, we learned that she outlived a terminal diagnosis, has two kids, was a founder of Kelton, built the team at Wonderful, and founded High 8, a firm that occupies the space between traditional research and a consultancy. Subscribe at the Happy Market Research Podcast. Thanks, Jamin!
- Greenbook’s Lenny Murphy (@lennysim) and team including Dana Stanley (@danamstanley) and Gregg Archibald (@greggarchibald) brought together an intense mix of amplifiers and founders. Follow this influential bunch on Twitter, including Jeffrey Henning (@jhenning), Tom Ewing (@tomewing), Steve August (@steveaugust), Jamin Brazil (@jaminbrazil), Annie Petit (@lovestats), Reg Baker (@thesurveygeek), Tom Anderson (@tomhcanderson), Kristin Luck (@kristinluck), Jackie Rousseau-Anderson (@jaranderson), Roddy Knowles (@roddyknowles). And if you're not already, you can follow me at @julie1research.