DC DATACON is here. Why now?

I am writing this post for two reasons. The first is to share with you why I am working with Data Community DC to produce DC DATACON. The second is to ask for your help to ensure we have the right people involved in the conversation so we accomplish our objectives. The stakes are high for our regional economy and for the future of Data Science.

If you are not familiar with Data Community DC, it is a network of over 20,000 data scientists and other data professionals in the DC region. Nine different meet-ups engage in a “program” throughout the year to address a diverse range of data science topics at locations across the region (namely DC and close-in NoVA). By going to any one of the meet-up sites (best accessed via the DC2 website), you can get information about all of these great events.

As I got more involved with Data Community DC as a Community Organizer with the founding and of the Full Stack Data Science meet-up (now 500+ data scientists strong) and later joining the Board of Directors, it became clear that something was missing. That was a unified conversation with all the meet-ups coming together to not only learn from one another but to create a larger conversation about the future of data science in the Mid-Atlantic region – led by data professionals.

DC DATACON is scheduled for October 3rd at The Marvin Center on the campus of George Washington University. Our registration site will be up soon. On the conference site, we will have all the information needed to register, sponsor and/or exhibit. DC DATACON certainly compliments other “new” forums taking on data-related topics. However, we are looking to accomplish something a little different. We aim to drive conversations about how to get data science out of the lab and into the enterprise so professionals of all makes and models can begin using data as a strategic asset. I believe the benefits to organizations large and small, public and private are well known so I don’t need to restate them here. What is not so obvious is HOW you actually do it. That’s DC DATACON; a focus on the applied tools, technologies, and methodologies that make data science work.

DC DATACON is also about defining our region’s “brand” of data science. What market sectors are we best suited to lead as data science becomes a more significant factor in the health and well-being of our regional economy. Another way of saying this is to put our stake in the ground for our areas of concentration to drive R&D, investment, workforce shaping, product development and so on. Think about, what region is top of mind when you mention the financial sector? As a data scientist, you would say NYC. For consumer applications, you think Silicon Valley. Not to say data scientists and businesses here in DC aren’t working in finance and consumer apps, but data science in DC will likely not be defined by either of these. Our focus, and what differentiates our region from others, are opportunities to lead and shape the future of intelligent transportation, autonomous air operations, cybersecurity, and bioinformatics for improved quality of care in addition to public policy, defense and intelligence. DC DATACON; a focus on our special concentration of the public and private sector organizations.

With that as context, I hope you will consider supporting the event on October 3rd by spreading the word and planning to join us on October 3rd. If you’re in a position to sponsor or exhibit, this is a chance to get really hands on. But, to the opening “ask” we want to make sure we have the right people involved. Therefore, I welcome any thoughts you have about who you believe are the leading people, companies and technologies in data science in our region (public, private, not for profit). If you take a look through the lens of transportation, cybersecurity, healthcare, defense, intelligence, and public policy, that would focus your response in a way to be particularly helpful.

You can respond to this post or message me privately with your thoughts. My e-mail is craigp@datacommunitydc.org. Thank you!