On January 13th, DataScience.LA held its first Data Science meetup of 2015, hosting a speaker from a local semantic advertising startup, DataPop. Their CTO, Dr. Ben Zamanzadeh, gave an in-depth presentation (linked above) of his perspective on e-commerce and advertising, which focused on extracting semantic meaning and DataPop’s marketing knowledge graph. He began his talk by discussing the evolution of e-commerce and moved quickly to semantics, making some very strong statements regarding DataPop’s architectural choices. For example, even though they provide a semantic graph, they are based on Redshift and do not use graph databases – which was quite the surprise to us here at DataScience.LA! At one point, Dr. Zamanzadeh even commented,
“Nobody that has an industrial-strength knowledge graph uses RDF.”
He then went on to describe how DataPop has built an ontology of sales strategies, and provided great insight on how semantics can help you differentiate these strategies if you are marketing on the uniqueness of your product or the attractiveness of the overall brand.
Dr. Zamanzadeh also gave a tour of things that weren’t as effective. Machine generated ads, he claims, won’t work with current technologies. They’ve tried it, and machine learning is currently incapable of outperforming human creativity in this space. He also discussed challenges in building their data set, the realization that this same dataset was biased, and how they addressed these issues.
It was an enlightening and incredibly well attended event, with well over 200 people in attendance. This meetup was also summarized by a few different posts, with the most notable one by DataPop’s own Alissa Volosin, posted on DataPop’s blog. Another attendee, Data Science community member Phyllis Zimbler Miller, tweeted her response, with a link to her writeup on linkedin.
Check out the pictures from this event on our flickr page. We got some really great pictures of the crowd, and it really drives the point home – this was a huge meetup with really fantastic turnout!
On another note, we would like to continue to encourage the #dsla community to tweet more during events! We want to spread the word about the great content provided at these meetups and the diversity of perspectives in our community. Next time you’re at a meetup, go ahead and tweet your thoughts with the hashtag #dsla. Happy Tweeting!