Top data scientists often share three characteristics: they are creative, they are curious and they are competitive. Anthony Goldbloom, CEO of Kaggle, a company that hosts data prediction competitions, has figured out how to tap all three of these characteristics to help companies crowdsource their analytics problems.
During a 2008 internship at the Economist, economist-turned-journalist Anthony Goldbloom made an important discovery: many organizations that want to use predictive analytics don’t have the skills to do it well, if at all. In response, he came up with an interesting business idea: create a company that allows anyone anywhere to compete to solve other business’s analytics problems.
Today, hundreds of organizations have submitted their datasets and business problems to Goldbloom’s company, Kaggle Inc. Sixty five thousand data scientists from around the globe have signed up with Kaggle to compete to develop the best algorithm for a given problem, anything from predicting click-through rates on ads to predicting who will be admitted to a hospital within the next year (a current competition with a $3 million purse). Their results are displayed in real time on a virtual leaderboard.
In a conversation with MIT SMR Contributing Editor Renee Boucher Ferguson, Kaggle founder and CEO Goldbloom talks about the motivation behind Kaggle and the outcomes of its data science competitions.