Interviews with Data Scientists:
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Interviews with Data Scientists:

A discussion of the Industy and the current trends

About the Book

Interviews with Data Scientists is a collection of interviews with twenty-four of the world’s most influential and innovative data scientists from across the spectrum of this hot new profession. “Data scientist is the sexiest job in the 21st century,” according to the Harvard Business Review.

By 2018, the United States will experience a shortage of 190,000 skilled data scientists, according to a McKinsey report.

Through incisive in-depth interviews, this book mines the what, how, and why of the practice of data science from the stories, ideas, shop talk, and forecasts of its preeminent practitioners across diverse industries:

* online dating (Thomas Levi, Plenty of Fish)

* Web data extraction (Ignacio Elola,

* E-commerce(Dr Andrew Clegg, Etsy)

* Intellectual Property and the Blockchain (Trent McConaghy, Ascribe)

*Geoscience big data (Matt Hall, Agile Geoscience)

* Data tool development (Hadley Wickham, RStudio)

* E-commerce and consultancy (Jeroen Latour, and formerly IBM)

* Insurance and FinTech (Jon Sedar, Applied.AI)

* Data Science Consultancy (Ian Huston, Pivotal Labs)

* E-Commerce and Product Analytics (Cameron Davidson-Pilon, Shopify)

* TelCo and Consumer Tech (Shane Lynn, KillBiller)

* E-commerce and Marketing Analytics (Vanessa Sabino, Shopify)

* Supply Chain Management (Peadar Coyle, Formerly of

* Academic Research and Hedge Funds (Professor David Hand, Imperial College London and Winton Capital)

* Insurance and Re-Insurance (J.D. Long, Renaissance Re); Music Streaming (Erik Bernhardsson, Formerly Spotify);

* Natural Language Processing (Ian Ozsvald, ModelInsight)

* Crowd-sourced Hedge Fund and Trading algortihms (Thomas Wiecki, Quantopian Inc)

* FinTech (Natalie Hockham, GoCardless)

* FoodTech and Sports (Trey Causey, Sports Analytics Consultant and ChefSteps)

* Data Mining Consultancy (Rosaria Silipo, DMR)

* Fashion E-commerce (Brad Klingerberg, Stitch Fix)

* Scalable Machine Learning (Alice Zheng, Dato)

* Publishing (Maria Mestre, Skimlinks)

* Marketing Analytics (Kevin Hillstrom, MineTheData formerly Nordstrom)

Each of these data scientists shares how he or she tailors the torrent-taming techniques of big data, data visualization, search, and statistics to specific jobs by dint of ingenuity, imagination, patience, and passion. Interview with Data Scientists parts the curtain on the interviewees’ earliest data projects, how they became data scientists, their discoveries and surprises in working with data, their thoughts on the past, present, and future of the profession, their experiences of team collaboration within their organizations, and the insights they have gained as they get their hands dirty refining mountains of raw data into objects of commercial, scientific, and educational value for their organizations and clients. Readers will learn:

  • How the data scientists arrived at their positions and what advice they have for others
  • What projects the data scientists work on and the techniques and tools they apply
  • How to frame problems that data science can solve
  • Where data scientists think the most exciting opportunities lie in the future of data science
  • How data scientists add value to their organizations and help people around the world

The ideal audience is specialists in big data, but we expect interest from HR, Recruiters and Managers. ‘Big Data’ and ‘Data Science’ are too important to only be left to the experts.

About the Author


I’m Peadar Coyle, a data scientist specialising in applying robust statistical or machine learning models to big/medium/small data to extract business value such as new revenue streams or business process optimisation. I am currently living in Luxembourg, but I was born and bred in Ireland.

I’ve been in the analytics space for a few years now, and I’m interested in developing in a senior fashion. I’m passionate about solving what I see is the ‘last-mile’ problem of Data Science, which is getting the insights into action. 

I'm an international speaker and open source contributor. When I'm away from a keyboard I enjoy the outdoors, cooking and watching Rugby Union.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


“Knowledge of the Business Really Influences How One Approaches Analyzing Issues”-Interview with Minethatdata’s Kevin Hillstrom

“I Don’t Think That You Should Approach Big Data as a Solution in Search of a Problem”- Interview with Skimlinks Maria Mestre

“Data is the First Class Citizen. Algorithms and Models are Just Helpers” – Interview with Dato’s Alice Zheng

“Being Comfortable with Ambiguity and Successfully Framing Problems is a Great Way to Differentiate Yourself” – Interview with Stitch Fix’s Brad Klingenberg

“I Often Warn Data Analysts Not to Underestimate the Power of Small Data” – Interview with Data Mining Consultant Rosaria Silipo

“I Suspect In Five Years or So, the Generalist ‘Data Scientist’ May Not Exist” – Interview with Data Scientist, Sports Analytics expert and Blogger Trey Causey

“To Avoid Losing Great People, They Need to be Developing All the Time.” – Interview with GoCardless Natalie Hockham

‘An Interview with Quantitative Analyst and Probabilistic Programming Expert Thomas Wiecki from Quantopian Inc’

“Justify the Business Value Behind Your Work.” – Interview with Data Scientist and Natural Language Processing Expert Ian Ozsvald

Write a Ton of Code. Don’t Watch TV.” – An Interview with Data Engineer Erik Bernhardsson - formerly of Spotify

“Be a Profit Center” – An Interview with Data Artisan J.D. Long

“Playing in Everyone’s Back Yard” – An Interview with Data Scientist David Hand

“Tactical Empathy” – An Interview With Data Scientist Peadar Coyle

“Constantly Ask Why” – Interview with Data Scientist Vanessa Sabino

“Get the Basics Right First.” – Interview with Data Scientist Shane Lynn

“Big Data”: A Problem, Not a Solution – Interview with Data Scientist Cameron Davidson-Pilon

“My Role is Often More About Managing Relationships” – Interview with Data Scientist Ian Huston

“Those Who Rely on Gut Instinct or Trivial Analyses will be Out- Competed” Interview With Data Scientist Jon Sedar

“Smile and Nod.” – Data Scientist Jeroen Latour on the Value of the ‘Big Data’ Buzzword

“Three Main Classes of [Big Data] Problem.” – An Interview with Chief Scientist Hadley Wickham

“I Sense the Field of ‘Data Science’ Seems in Danger of Moving So Quickly That It Trips Over Itself”: An Interview with Geophysicist Matt Hall

“I Strongly Prefer Looking Forward. There’s So Much to Build!”: An Interview with AI Researcher Trent McConaghy

“Most Organisations Have Interesting and Potentially Valuable Datasets That Can Fit on a Laptop”: An Interview with Data Scientist Andrew Clegg

‘Big Data Started a Mentality Revolution’: An Interview with Data Scientist Ignacio Elola

“Important Questions about the Human Condition Should be Addressed with Data Science”: an Interview with Data Scientist Thomas Levi.

The importance of Consulting skills in Data Science - Peadar Coyle 

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