By @SimonCocking

James Sugrue @sugrue  Lead Architect and Growth Hacker  @TeamCarma with Swift, Java and JavaScript powerups. Author of Beginning Backbone. A startup guy. Speaking at the Predict Conference  @predictconf September 15 – 17th 

How did you first become interested in data / predictive analytics?

I joined Carma back in 2013. Seeing as it was a small smartup, I was afforded the chance to work in number of different areas. I was especially drawn to matters involving getting our customers more engaged with the product, so that got me started on growth hacking. From there, I kept focusing on interpreting the data that we had to help influence the product’s direction.

How do you think data will change business (the world or your sector)?

I think that data has always been there to help business succeed. What’s different now is that we pay more attention to the data that we have in order to understand our customers better. I think that we’ll end up with products that do what customers expect, in a very similar way to the “it just works” reaction that Apple products get.

What is your best data (data modelling/predictive analysis) tip?

Work twice as hard on the presentation of the data as you do on the mining of the data. If more people understand the data your are presenting, you will get better opinions and ideas for next steps.

What was the most surprising thing you have found/uncovered from data analysis?

It’s very easy to get access data for so many things. The Open Data movement has made a lot of useful information available to anyone. There’s still a long way to go, but I look forward to a day when all services have a link to access their (anonymised!) data for use in other applications and websites.

What advice would you give to someone just starting out on their data journey?

Just keep iterating. Even though your data starts out basic, it will build a shape eventually. Keep an eye out for new tools and libraries, as well as new data sources.

What skills do you think a good data scientist analyst should have?

I think that you need to have a good analytical mind, but it’s critical to have a good understanding of the real world, and some empathy for what customers might need.

If you have training in statistics, even better. But I’m not sure it’s essential with the tools that are available.

What resources would you recommend (e.g. books, websites, blogs, data, technology, etc.)?

Two great books on presenting information
– Information Is Beautiful by David McCandless
– The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics – Dona M. Wong
Which trends in this area will make the biggest change in people’s lives in the next 2 – 5 years?

The growth of open data – as more of the information that we intuitively know, but find difficult to describe, discover or quantify becomes available, it will lead to some big steps forward.

You can see James Sugrue and many more speak at the Predict Conference in Ireland at the RDS, DUBLIN, IRELAND 15 – 17 SEPTEMBER 2015

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