Eliot's Ramblings

My Fireside Chat at Data Driven NYC

A couple of weeks ago I did a great fireside chat with Matt Turck at Data Driven NYC.

I’ve always found that the fireside chat is a format with a lot of potential to be boring, but Matt is a great interviewer, and interacting with him on stage definitely adds to the event. For example, when I was talking about the headline features of our 3.2 release, I omitted a significant pair – the BI connector and Compass – and he reminded me to talk about them. It’s things like that which enhance the experience for the audience. At their best, a fireside chat interviewer takes care of the setup, makes sure you’re staying on track, and grabs opportunities to dig deeper.

One thing that Matt brought up (at around 12:40 in the video) was how, after an explosion of alternatives to relational databases, it’s starting to feel like things are converging again. Now, when you do one of these, you get a list of topics to prepare for in advance, but that’s a question that emerged organically from our conversation. I appreciated the opportunity to address that by citing a core tenet of MongoDB (at 14:45):

“We really want you to be able to configure yourself into different use cases, rather than having to use different kinds of products.”

All the other speakers were very interesting. I was particularly into the Dr. Kieran Snyder’s Textio presentation – that’s a cool product, with cool tech, and a lot of potential. Think about it: there’s an enormous amount of text in the world. You will never be able to read it all. Algorithms that understand those vast swaths of things you will never be able to personally consume have the potential to revolutionize knowledge. Or consider influential articles that wind up with thousands – or maybe some day millions – of comments… stuff like this can sift signal from noise. There’s a lot of promise there. Kieran and I had a really interesting chat about this stuff after the event, and I’m looking forward to see where they take Textio.

All in all, a really enjoyable evening, I would definitely recommend Data Driven NYC to anyone in New York with an interest in tech at all. They happen monthly, so it should be relatively easy to catch one.

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