An Open Letter to Women in Data Science

It was my honor to present at the Women in Data Science convening at the New College of Sarasota last week.  The agenda featured prestigious speakers from Stanford streamed in, along with local speakers like me who could attend in person.  I was extremely fortunate to discover this amazing event and get onto the agenda at the last minute.

You see, these are my people.  Women in data science are what I need in 2017.*  

My company, Big Mountain Data, is designed to solve one of the most horrific problems that impact women around the world – every day: Intimate Partner Violence a.k.a., Domestic Violence.

My presentation briefly described what we aim to do and how we can disrupt this seemingly intractable societal issue.  I then described the success we’ve had so far in proving our thesis.  I showed a short clip from our documentary about a town that effectively short-circuited its domestic violence problem.  One woman told me she cried after she saw the short film clip. Crying absolutely permitted in social impact startups solving big world problems.

A career in data science is one of the most lucrative, interesting, and potentially ground-breaking pursuits in the tech field today. Name an industry, and it has an acute demand for data scientists and analysts.

But what if you could use your talent and passion to really make a difference on a horrific scourge that impacts women every day? Here is what you need to know: behaviors in this field follow a standard pattern. They are predictable.  Much of the data we need to make these predictions, we already have in structured databases.  If we layer on unstructured data, the possibilities are limitless to intervene – and disrupt –these cycles of violence.

Would you like to know more?  Contact me.  I would love to talk to your company, university or data science meetup about the possibilities.

*Of course, we are an equal opportunity startup.  But, how cool would it be if women solved this problem?  Very cool.

Let’s go!


Hacking Domestic Violence Pays Dividends

Big Mountain Data made its debut into the “data science for social good” arena by participating in the inaugural hackathon hosted by Y Combinator-backed Bayes Impact.  Bayes Impact is a nonprofit dedicated to solving big social problems with data science.

Five teams submitted a range of solutions based on datasets we provided via our data partner, the High Point Police Department (HPPD).

The hackathon teams performed brilliantly.  We’re in the process of following up with all of them to get feedback on all the HPPD submissions, as well as the team ideas on further recommendations on next steps.

The net result for HPPD and Big Mountain Data is we proved our initial hypothesis: that data science can be a powerful tool in the fight against domestic violence.  This is an important, validating first step in our journey.  We have great admiration and appreciation for the brilliant teams that worked on our data.

Here are a few of the teams who made our dream come true.

The Justice League – warming up


Team Quid


Team WillitBlend?


The Justice League – Victory Lap