The end of June marked our 2nd Birthday; and to celebrate, we thought we’d host a series of talks, seminars and workshops all about our favourite thing: data! So we invited all our wonderful users to Level 39 at Canary Wharf to our first ever Data Summit for a full day of top notch speakers, informative workshops, delicious food and of course stylish data punk swag. It was a great day; full of some really stellar presentations, networking and fun. Here are 10 things we learned on the day:
1. You guys are our inspiration
Our CEO, David White, kicked off the Summit with a short, but very inspiring, presentation about the history of import.io and our company vision. In between the jokes and embarrassing photos of the founders in the early days; he talked about how important it is that everyone has access to data from the web. Here at import we all strongly believe that programmatic access to web data is going to be the most important technological innovation of the next 10 years. We’ve already seen the amazing things you guys are doing with data and it’s what inspires us to always keep improving and adding more functionality to our tools.
2. How to turn data into accessible knowledge
Just because you have more data, does not necessarily mean you have more knowledge. Data needs to be organized and analyzed before any real conclusions can be drawn from it. Wolfram Research’s Jon McLoone gave a very informative presentation on how they use their complex algorithms to turn raw data into actionable knowledge.
3. Data can be beautiful
Visualizing your data can be a really powerful way of using data to gain insights and tell a compelling story. Martin Vaivars from Infogr.am’s talk showed how you can use data to build beautiful infographics to help you tell simple stories. These infographics not only make your data look great, but help to make it more available and accessible to a wider audience.
4. Sex sells, even in data
CDO Andrew Fogg, presented to a packed house in the afternoon with his talk Sex, Drugs and Data in which he analysed the accuracy of the UK government’s claim that accounting for prostitution would add £5.3 billion to GDP. Keep your eyes on the news in the next few weeks for more on that story.
5. Webinars are even more fun in person
Our resident webinar wizz kid, Alex, had two packed workshops demonstrating to a data-hungry audience the best ways to use our tool. He was so popular, he almost couldn’t get into his own workshop!
6. Data can give you superpowers
Certainly one of the most impressive presentations came from Robin Hawkes, Founder of ViziCities. He showed us how they are using 3D technology and data from street maps to build a super realistic simulation of London. Then using a Milo, he gave us a Superman sty flying tour of Canary Wharf!
7. Our users are super cool
The really interesting thing about data is what people are doing with it everyday to get real insight, build businesses and disrupt industries. Nothing highlights this better, than the talks we had by real-life users of our tool who gave us a behind the scenes look at how they use data everyday. Former 90’s DJ, Ben Rush from Audiolock, gave a fascinating presentation about how they are using data to crack down on pirated music. He was preceded by Stephen Follows, from Ealing Studios, who showed us how he used data to answer 10 questions about the film industry in just 15 minutes.
Ben Rush (Audiolock)
Stephen Follows (Ealing Studios)
8. Journalists don’t just use data to write stories
It wouldn’t be a Summit about data without mentioning the data that is being collected on individuals. The Guardian’s Charles Arthur gave kicked of the days talks by giving us an in depth look at what data the Guardian collects on it’s readers and what they use it for. What was the top technology topic tag for the last year? Data protection, of course.
9. JP Rangaswami is hilarious
One of the best moments from the Summit was our closing keynote speech from Salesforce Chief Data Scientist JP Rangaswami. In addition to having some of our favorite slides, he gave an inspirational look at what a world driven by data could look like.
10. Founder love is a beautiful thing
With Andrew off spearheading our fledgling office in San Francisco, it’s rare that we get to see all three co-founders in the same room, but The Data Summit saw them reunited at last. Aren’t they cute?
Thanks to all our wonderful speakers, fabulous team and of course you, the user; the event was a smash hit! We had a packed house, with some attendees traveling from as far afield as Israel and the US. We can’t thank all of you enough for coming, and we hope to see you again for our 3rd Birthday, which promises to be bigger and even better. We’ll also be taking The Data Summit across the pond to San Francisco this fall, so keep your eye on our website for dates, speakers and tickets!
You can see all the Main Stage presentations on our YouTube channel.
– All images courtesy of Gary Kinsman