My learning journey: Strata

Takeaways from the Strata Data conference (London, May 2017)

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Image Credit: Jackie Niam/Shutterstock
  • They know how to avoid (and understand the importance of) the model overfitting (this is their main priority when it comes to modeling);
  • They use version control (at the end of the day they are scientists and manage their data as scientific logs and notebooks about their experiments).
  • A data engineer: this is the guy maintaining the architecture and making the data available for the data scientist to be used straight away;
  • A business intelligence analyst: this is the liaison between executives & other teams and the data team;
  • A customer intelligence analyst: this guy is in charge of increasing customers satisfaction through the use of data models and communicating with the final users.
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Kim Nilsson from Pivigo presenting her data science journey
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Stages of data maturity
  • Absence of scalability, or project not correctly sized;
  • Absence of C-level or high management sponsorship;
  • Excessive costs and time, especially when people with wrong skill sets are selected (which is more common than you think);
  • Incorrect management of expectations and metrics;
  • Internal barriers (e.g., data silos, poor inter-team communication, infrastructure problems, etc.);
  • Think the work as a one-time project rather than a continuous learning;
  • Data governance, privacy and protection.
  1. Maintain Agility throughout the entire project;
  2. Select the right skills you need. You don’t need by default a machine learning superstar, but you need a stellar team;
  3. Manage the expectation correctly. This will really make your team becoming essential in the company or being discarded in a few months;
  4. Convince the skeptics. Data have value, so convince who does not think so.
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Harvinder Atwal’s analysis (@HarvinderSAtwal)
  • Github accounts and packages look better and have a greater impact than a well-written resume in this world;
  • It creates a competitive advantage in data creation/collection, in attracting talents (because of higher technical branding), and creating additive software/packages/products based on that underlying technology;
  • Data scientists and developers are first of all scientists with a sharing mindset, and part of the industry power to attract and retain talents come from augmenting the academic offer (i.e., better datasets, interesting problem, better compensation packages, intellectual freedom);
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Analysis by Prasad Pore and Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro (
  • It increases the overall value, easy of integration and reliability of internal closed source systems;
  • It lowers the adoption barrier to entry, and gets traction on products that would not have it otherwise;
  • It shortens the product cycle, because from the moment a technical paper is published or a software release it takes weeks to have augmentations of that product;
  • More importantly, it can generate a data network effect, i.e., a situation in which more (final or intermediate) users create more data using the software, which in turn make the algorithms smarter, then the product better, and eventually attract more users.
  • Making codes that others can read and understand is what makes you better developer and scientist. This is something you know only if you have ever done it.
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  • What’s the solution to our broken data landscape? (spoiler: Metadata!)
  • How much is important the causal impact relationship in machine learning modeling and how do we measure it?
  • More data beat a better model? (spoiler again: a big YES!)
  • Instead of using a single big deep learning network, can we use more networks?
  • Can data be useful and perfectly anonymous at the same time?
  • Are big data technologies ethically neutral?

Written by

Research Lead @Balderton. Formerly @Anthemis @UCLA. All opinions are my own.

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