Speaker "Eric Colson" Details Back



Data (Art &) Science: How to combine data science with people work-flows.


Data Science can bring scientific rigor to an organization’s decisions and processes. However, empiricism often fails to properly account for social norms, human relationships, and phenomena that have yet to manifest themselves in data. This is where intuition, cultural values, gut feel, and judgment—or “art”—still provide value to decisions. There is a class of problems that calls for precisely the combination of art and science. For social products—such as books, music, video, and apparel—focusing on either art or science at the exclusion of the other will lead to less than optimal results. For years now we’ve espoused data-driven decision making into the organization. While we still need to take this further, there is equal opportunity in internalizing the “art” that exists within the organization. The judgment and cultural values that reside within the brains of our employees can be harvested and married with data science to produce new capabilities. In this talk we will share new ideas about how to systematically combine the assets of the organization—be they data or people.


Eric Colson is the Chief Algorithms Officer at Stitch Fix, where he specializes in social algorithms. He is also an advisor at several companies: Earnest Inc (consumer lending), Data Elite (Big Data incubator), Mortar Data (Big Data Platform). Previously, he was VP of Data Science & Engineering at Netflix and has held analytics positions at Yahoo!, Blue Martini, Proxicom and Information Resources. He holds a B.A. in Economics, a M.S. in Information Systems, and a M.S. in Management Science & Engineering.