Why Paddy Cosgrave hired Data Scientists to grow websummit from 400 to 20k attendees in just 4 years

Paddy Cosgrave Web-Summit


Arguably no technology conference in history has grown faster. Somehow we’ve achieved that growth with no background in the conference industry and no resources to speak of, and all from a pretty peripheral location called Dublin.

In a post on the Web Summit Blog, founder Paddy Cosgrave explains that this growth has been largely propelled by data science, or in his view, network science.

While conference companies hire event managers, he hired physicists with PHDs in areas like complex systems and network analysis. They were asked to create and optimise social networks.

We love stuff like Gephi, NetworkX and Datasift, and algorithms like eigenvector centralityForce Atlas and Fruchterman-Reingold.

As Paddy explains it, if you make good connections at Web Summit, it’s not by accident.

While traditional conference companies fret over manually curating seating plans, compiling speaker lists and handpicking invites for networking events, we approach the challenge from a technical and mathematical point of view. We build algorithms that take into account who you are and who you might benefit from being on a pub crawl with or at a table with or in a meeting with.

He calls this approach “engineering serendipity”, and he believes it’s the secret to their success.

… what we lacked in experience, funding and location, we’ve made up for by building software and using data

Read his story here

If you want to understand more about Social Network Analysis, come to our free Hands-On sessions the Brussels Data Science Community is organising in November:

Hands-on : Social Network Analysis Challenge part 1

Thursday, Nov 6, 2014, 7:00 PM

transforma bxl
Avenue du Pérou 80 Perulaan Brussels, BE

30 Business & Data Science pro’s Attending

During this hands on session we will focus on Social Network Analysis.The Format:Don’t expect  presentations, this is a hands-on session. You will be asked to collect and share datasets, work on it with your own tools, together or in group and present your method and outcome on the second day.The Challenge:We challenge you to come up with a …

Check out this Meetup →

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