Eric Colson: Shopping and Machine Learning at Innovate! and Celebrate

August 31, 2016

1:30 pm

Tech.Co and Consumer Technology Association (CTA) this upcoming September for the Innovate! and Celebrate conference in San Jose, CA. Register now to attend!

With the advent of artificial intelligence and machine learning, companies are going to great lengths to understand human behavior. Between virtual assistants and platforms that predict our needs, humans barely have to lift a finger to get what they need done. One person who has seriously contributed to building out products that streamline our life is Eric Colson.  At Innovate! and Celebrate 2016 in September, you’ll have the chance to hear him speak about everything from machine learning to shopping.

Eric Colson is currently the chief algorithm officer at Stitch Fix, a women’s clothing retail website that prides itself on providing personalized shopping experiences to everyone that click on their link. His contribution to the website is immeasurable, as he provided the company’s first machine learning algorithm in 2012, helping them to establish a personalized retail experience for their customers.

“Clothes are an extremely personal thing for consumers, so it’s important that you both cater to their individual preferences but also factor in social norms, such as current fashion trends,” said Colson in an interview with the Center for Data Innovation. “You have to balance in that bit of conformity with people’s need for individual expression. Fortunately, through our business model we have this nice symbiotic relationship with our customers.”

If “chief algorithms officer” is a title you aren’t familiar with, you aren’t alone. Colson has struggled in past jobs to explain what he does in a simple and understandable way. For him, “data scientist” never sat right because he didn’t want to get lumped in with the IT department. He knew that algorithms was a way to improve companies, and he wanted a title to reflect his skills.

“Chief algorithms officer was the right fit,” said Colson in the same interview. “We have algorithms all over the company, for style recommendations but also to manage inventory, to support customer outreach, and dozens and dozens of other places.”

Speaking of past jobs, Colson has the golden standard for tech resumés. In addition to being an advisor to budding startups like Data Elite and Mortar Data, he’s held analytical positions at Yahoo, Blue Martini Software, Proxicom and Information Resources. Oh yeah, and he was the vice president of data science and engineering at Netflix. Heard of it?

Innovate! and Celebrate 2016 is over so join us for 2017

Come join us at the Innovate! and Celebrate conference in San Francisco, CA. The event will take place October 9 – 11, 2017, and is held in partnership with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA).

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Conor is a writer, comedian and world-renowned sweetheart. As the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co, he’s written about everything from Kickstarter campaigns and budding startups to tech titans and innovative technologies. His background in stand-up comedy made him the perfect person to host Startup Night at SXSW and the Funding Q&A at Innovate! and Celebrate, posing questions to notable tech minds from around the world. In his spare time, he thinks about how to properly pronounce the word "colloquially." Conor is the Assistant Editor and Writer at Tech.Co. You can email him at conor@tech.co.

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