I’m honored to be giving a keynote talk at the 2013 BigData TechCon conference in Boston (April 8-10). There are a lot of excellent speakers at the event that I’m looking forward to seeing, including Claudia Perlich (Media6Degrees), Jonathan Seidman (Cloudera, formerly Orbitz), and Oscar Boykin (twitter).

Registration is open hereHere’s a short abstract for my talk:

Social networks are able to collect large amounts of activity data from their user and customer base. As Big Data professionals, we conduct experiments on custom data sets to measure the effectiveness of our products or advertising methodologies. Since a social network is effectively useless without an active community, our companies owe it to their users to create new and better products based on this information. Learn how our data analysis and predictive analytics must take a different approach than Big Data in fields like finance, medicine, and defense.

I’m extra excited that the conference is in my home town. It’s been a while since I’ve spent a few days in Boston and I look forward to seeing all of my friends up there. I can already taste the Silhouette popcorn.

New year, new projects.

Happy new year! 2012 was a pretty crazy year for me. The biggest thing was probably moving into my great new apartment with Lana, but I also worked on a bunch of great projects, including:

I also made (and almost completed) a little app for displaying trending data. It’s probably not in good enough shape for someone to easily clone it and use it out of the gate, which is really why I’m making this post. I have a lot of ideas for 2013 that I think have great potential, and I don’t want them to get stuck in limbo like that last project (which I will definitely finish, I promise).
My plans for 2013 start with this blog. I just found a nice and simple bootstrap-based tumblr theme on github and modified it to my liking. It’s not perfect yet, but that’s part of the plan. I’m also building a website testing framework that will help me tweak the remaining details.

The framework is an API for A/B and various bandit algorithm tests, where a web app can request a version of the page to display, and then report the results of the test back, thus influencing the version shown to the next user. The idea for this was inspired by John Myles White’s excellent book on the subject (watch his talk about it here).

It’s been fun to have a big project to work on again. Let’s hope 2013 turns out as well as 2012.