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Make Data Work
Oct 15–17, 2014 • New York, NY

Solving the Right Problem

Max Shron (Warby Parker), Sasha Laundy (Warby Parker)
11:00am–11:40am Thursday, 10/16/2014
Business & Industry
Location: 1 E14/1 E15
Average rating: ****.
(4.00, 17 ratings)

Business problems don’t reveal themselves neatly as data problems. As we gather more and more fine-grained data (behavioral, event-based, machine collected), we see a shift in both the tools and technical skills necessary to answer tough questions. The tools are becoming more commoditized, but the problem remains to actually bridge the gap between business needs and the math.

Who will do this work and how will they do it? A decade of investment in BI made it possible for a manager to quickly pull up answers to questions that fit into an OLAP cube. Fine-grained data poses unique challenges that make it tough if not impossible to provide tools directly to those who most understand the needs of a business. Data scientists, most of whom have exclusively technical backgrounds, need a methodology for fitting together the pieces of the puzzle. Business leaders, too, need new skills to make sure that data science work yields actual benefits.

The tools, technology and even the people aren’t enough unless we can figure out how to solve the right problem. Based on material from Max Shron’s book Thinking with Data and his experience running a data strategy consulting firm, we’ll explore tactics for need-finding and problem scoping that make it possible to put investments in data to profitable use.

Attendees will learn:

  • Techniques for figuring out the right problems to solve.
  • Ways to keep data work smart and on target.
  • How to analyze towards an argument to keep the focus on insight.
  • Tested strategies for organizing data teams.
Photo of Max Shron

Max Shron

Warby Parker

Max Shron runs Shron & Company, a data strategy consulting firm based in New York. His team provides advice and analysis to help organizations tackle hard data challenges. Max previously was lead data scientist at New York-based OkCupid, and participated as the big-data side of its successful OkTrends blog. His work has appeared worldwide, in outlets including the New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Huffington Post and WNYC. Max holds a degree in Mathematics from the University of Chicago.

Photo of Sasha Laundy

Sasha Laundy

Warby Parker

Sasha is a senior data scientist at Warby Parker. Previously, she was a founding data scientist and engineer at Polynumeral, a data science consultancy in New York City. She also worked at Twilio and was an early employee at Codecademy.