News & Blog

Learning Journey: meeting Thought Leaders in New York and attending Strata 2018

Posted on September 26, 2018

Two weeks ago we took a fantastic group of people from Scotland to New York to attend various meetings with Thought Leaders in the Data Science community in New York and also attend the Strata Meeting.

The visit, like previous visits, was a roaring success, with plenty of learning, networking and lots and lots of laughs along the way.

The group also helped with meetings to attract inward investment into Scotland, and give their views of launching a data company in Scotland.

A very warm welcome from Nielsen, Mastercard and IBM Watson

During the week we visited Nielsen, Mastercard labs and also IBM Watson, we were "bowled over" by the generosity of these organisations who went above and beyond to support us with these meetings.

All the meetings had various members of their organisations attending who were so generous with their time, and they were not expecting anything in return, they were happy to help us out and showcase their organisations.

I would like to thank Stephen Leonard, one of our fantastic Global Scots at IBM, who has assisted us for the 3rd time, and makes time personally to come along and visit the group. We really appreciate this and will be forever grateful for all his help and support.

It struck a cord with me that I hope we are all doing the same in our organisations when companies come to visit Scotland, as we have just as much or even more to showcase around innovation and talent right here in Scotland, but we need to ensure we are rolling the red carpets out for these visits and making a collaborative, joined up approach to ensure visitors to Scotland have the same memories going back to their counties as we do when we leave New York.

We in Scotland are punching well above our weight and have a compelling, passionate, innovative and proven story to tell here and also to shout about worldwide.

Bayes Centre @BayesCentre · Sep 11
Working on connecting Scottish businesses with partners in US, we had a fantastic visit to @ibmwatson in #NYC today. Did you know that 30% of IBM Watson leadership team comes from #Scotland? Thanks for organising @DataLabScotland! #ScotlandIsNow


Thoughts from some of the other attendees

“Attending the Strata Conference in New York has been an amazing and enriching experience. It has certainly jump-started and accelerated my knowledge of all things digital, ML and AI.

It has kick started my learning for my current role with SG such as data governance, ethics and how some forms of intelligent automation that can support our development work in the space of data sharing and linkage. It was also fascinating to hear first-hand from big players in the digital domain including Microsoft, Google, Linkedin and Wikipedia. Informal networking with the other members of the Scottish delegation (also amongst much hilarity and camaraderie!) and conference attendees was an added bonus from this trip. I have made a few links I am hoping to follow up over the coming weeks and months with a view to bringing some of the experience and expertise available Stateside over to Scotland”. Alessia Morris – Scottish Government


Neil Brown @TheBroonster · Sep 11 Fascinating visit to @IBMWatson in #NYC today in advance of our trip to @strataconf and great to hear some familiar Scottish accents amongst the IBM senior management team! @DataLabScotland


"The meetings with Nielsen, IBM Watson and Mastercard were all very interesting to me. I extracted something particularly useful from each that I would not have been able to obtain from other means. The ability to chat directly to these people following the main meeting was key, although being part of the meetings in general provided for interesting discussion."

"The conference itself was interesting too. For me, the biggest outcome was that it validated a number of our processes as talks confirmed our design choices, our methodologies and our general approach. There was also a talk which centered around a VC discussion panel that provided some excellent insights, considering our imminent funding round. Additionally, the expo booths gave me a glimpse of what is available in the marketplace and offered a nice overview of how companies are currently handling their data."

"Socially speaking, the other folks in the party were all wonderful, and I have made great contacts to continue working with back in Scotland."

"The trip has helped me immeasurably with networking skills, reassured us on a number of strategic elements, confirmed our implementation with regard machine learning and already impacted our roadmap as I share new ideas with the team, so thank you to everyone at the Data Lab for making all this happen for us." Kieron Smith – Snap Dragon


Neil Brown @TheBroonster · Sep 11
Visits coming thick & fast! Blown away by some of the clever stuff coming out of @Mastercard. Some exciting products coming! @DataLabScotland – at MasterCard NYC



Meeting Ted Dunning, Chief Application Architect, MapR and Ellen Friedman, Principal Technologist, MapR on the launch of their new book “AI and Analytics in Production”

"Just wanted to say a big thanks to Jude, Neil, Adam and at The Data Lab for organising the trip and ensuring we were able to make the most of the organised meetings and Strata Conference. It was a fantastic opportunity to spend time with The Data Lab and SDI representatives, to talk around the topics of data, and to better understand potential support and collaborations. It was also great to meet other companies with a focus in the data sector, and to open up about opportunities and challenges that we are all facing."

"As a small business it’s easy to fall into an inward perspective and work within a vacuum. To be a part of this enlightening trip gives courage to our convictions we’re on the right track with our business and further fuels our desire to push for success."

"The meetings organised with Nielsen, IBM Watson and Mastercard were excellent; both educational and motivational. Each helped provide insights into how such larger organisations value data as a commodity, and how they are applying data and analytics to bring new opportunities and competitive advantage."

"We are very grateful for the support provided by The Data Lab to date and hope we can continue to work together to the advantage of all." – John Armstrong - Weatherads


Alessia Morris @Alessia_AM_AV · Sep 12 #StrataData Powerful messages on the ethics of AI, its use for social outcomes and the role of data professionals who should reflect the "moral compass" of their own organisation and put technology to social good @scotgov @ScotStat @ScotGovAmericas @DataLabScotland @ScotDevInt


We will be announcing another overseas learning journey over the next few months so watch this space, but if you are interested in attending any please give us a call and we would be delighted to have a chat!


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