BV I/O: Unlocking the power of our data

At Bazaarvoice, we strongly believe that our people are our most important asset. We hire extremely smart and passionate people, let them loose on complex problems, and watch all the amazing things they create. We had another opportunity to see that innovation engine in full effect last week at our internal technical conference and 2 day hackathon.

Every year we hold an internal technical conference for our engineers and technical community. If you are lucky enough to have been at Bazaarvoice, you remember our conference last year called BV.JS which was all about front end UI and javascript, and in years’ past we did Science Fairs. Last year at BV.JS we were focused on redesigning our consumer facing ratings and reviews product (Conversations) so we gathered some amazing javascript gurus such as Paul Irish (@paul_irish), Rebecca Murphey (@rmurphey), Andrew Dupont (@andrewdupont), Alex Sexton (@SlexAxton) and Garann Means (@garannm) to school us on all the latest in javascript.

This year our event was called BV.IO and we are focused on “unlocking the power of our data”, so we asked some great minds in big data analytics and data visualization to come inspire our engineering team.

The event kicked off with a day at the Alamo Drafthouse. Bazaarvoice is powered by tacos, so of course there were tons of breakfast tacos to get us ready for a fun filled day of learning and mind opening presentations, and a colorful pants competition, but I digress and will get to that in a minute.

First up was Adrian Cockcroft (‪@adrianco‬), cloud architect from Netflix. We are big fans of Netflix’s architecture and we use and have added to several of their open source packages. Some of the projects we use are Curator, Priam and Astyanax. Adrian gave us an update on some of the new advancements in Netflix’s architecture and scale as well as details on their new open source projects. Netflix is also running an open source competition called NetflixOSS and they have some cool prizes for the best contributions to their projects. The competition is open until September 15, 2013, so get coding.

Jason Baldridge (‪@jasonbaldridge‬), Ph.D. and associate professor in Computational Linguistics at the University of Texas, presented on scaling models for text analysis. He shared some really interesting insights into things that can be done with geotagged, temporal, and toponym data. Nick Bailey (‪@nickmbailey‬), an engineer at DataStax, presented on Cassandra best practices, new features, and some interesting real world use cases. And Peter Wong (‪@pwang‬), Co-founder and President of Continuum Analytics, gave a really entertaining talk about planning and architecting for big data as well as some interesting python packages for data analysis and visualization.

Ok, and now back to the most important aspect of the day, the Colorful Pants Competition. Qingqing, one of our amazing directors of engineering, organized this hilarious competition. Can you guess who was the winner?

We really enjoyed all the speakers, and we know that you will too, so we will be sharing their presentations on this blog in the coming days and weeks.

Check back regularly for the videos.