Anne Milley and I recently had the chance to catch up with Eric Siegel, Chair of Predictive Analytics World for some Q&A regarding the upcoming conference that takes place during Data Driven Busines Week March 14-15 in San Francisco.
Question: What a great line-up we see shaping up for Predictive Analytics World 2011 in San Francisco! I see the most recent addition is Tom Davenport. Can you share any other things about how the speaker line-up is coming together?
Answer: The program for PAW which runs March 14-15 in San Francisco is here, see the overview at-a-glance, having grown this time to 40 sessions -- the richest and most diverse yet. It makes me think of that old TV ad catch phrase for Ragu spaghetti sauce, so rich in ingredients: "It's in there!" Beyond Dr. Davenport, other keynote speakers include Google's Sugato Basu and yours truly, as well as special plenary sessions from the ever-popular Andreas Weigend and John Elder.
And there are case studies from Bank of America, Best Buy, AAA, Bank of the West, Fidelity, Gaia, HP, Monster.com, Orbitz, PayPal, TXU Energy, Yahoo!, YMCA, and many more. We have expanded the pre- and post-conference full-day workshops -- there are now five, including a SAS-sponsored hands-on workshop (with SAS Enterprise Miner), and a workshop on Net Lift Modeling (a.k.a., incremental lift or uplift modeling -- see my answer to your question below on top topics), which is offered in cooperation and special arrangement with SAS, and includes "take-home" SAS macros that implement Net Lift Modeling. The list of workshops and their full descriptions can be seen online.
PAW has recently release online video access to the October 2010 conference in Washington DC, since this includes free previews, it is a good way to review the kinds of sessions you'll see this March at PAW San Francisco. One free session is your (Anne Milley's) Platinum Sponsor Presentation, "Analytics - The Beauty of Diversity" and another is a keynote from Target's Andrew Pole, "How Target Gets the Most out of Its Guest Data...". You can also see an overview of the online videos, available on-demand. Question: Looks like you picked up a few new sponsors; the growing interest appears to be both a testament to analytics as a hot topic as well as Predictive Analytics World as a well-regarded and established event now going into its third year. Congratulations!
Answer: Thanks :). The growth in this industry is just wild. My involvement with the conference's sponsorship operations is tangential (with the exception of SAS, actually, given your intense participation in helping grow the PAW community), but I did help put together a list of prospective sponsors as we planned for the inaugural event (Feb 2009). At the time, once we'd compiled the list, I was surprised to count there were 3 times as many vendors in the space as I'd informally assumed -- and, since then, I'm continually blown away as a new vendor I've never heard of before seems to pass my desk about twice a month! Of course, the growth of major vendors like SAS may itself be the more significant metric.
Question: What are the top 3 topics you think will be of interest to attendees at PAW in San Francisco?
Answer: If net lift modeling (i.e., incremental lift modeling or uplift modeling) isn't on the reader's radar yet, allow me to put it there. If you have a high response rate, what about those who would have purchased anyway without expending the cost of contact? If your targeted retention is saving customers, what about the "casualties," i.e., the customers who actually respond negatively to contact -- they would have stayed but now you triggered them to leave!? By scoring each customer as to the incremental benefit of contact (you need a second training set, a control set, to do this). Targeted campaign ROI has potential to go where no ROI has gone before!
There's a PAW conference session on net lift modeling from Fidelity as well as the new post-conference workshop I mentioned above.
Social data as a topic certainly isn't going anywhere -- PAW San Francisco includes six conference sessions on this topic, including a special plenary session from Andreas Weigend, and various other sessions covering social data methods, social data and financial services, social data and telecom, and social gaming -- all of which can be found within the second half of the second day of the conference agenda.
Amongst the remaining topics -- which include ensemble models, search marketing, blackbox trading, fraud detection, risk management and survey analysis -- I'd somewhat arbitrarily suggest, check out the inspiring session on crowdsourcing, an update reprise from the speaker's session at PAW London last year.
Question: Are you anticipating an increase in number of attendees given the growing interest in analytics -- or, since there are now so many others jumping on the bandwagon with events around analytics do you think it will draw numbers of attendees similar to last year?
Answer: All signs do indicate another increase in attendence. PAW provides a unique value to attendees since it's the central cross-vendor conference that is "pure play," focusing on the commercial deployment of predictive analytics. Our aim is to be the go-to event for industry professionals, and I'd say we're largely succeeding in that objective. Each PAW in North America has surpassed expectations (external as well as internal) in attendance. Also, while the number of related events is increasing, I'd say the space is growing faster!
Special thanks to both Anne & Eric for taking time to talk to us about he upcoming conference. In the meantime stay tuned for more pre-event interviews regarding the upcoming Predictive Analytics World conference! Please let me know what you want to hear more about prior to the conference!