2014 Schedule
Interactive: March 7–11  •  Film: March 7–15  •  Music: March 11–16

Monkeys with Lazers: How MailChimp Does AI

#sxsw #MailChimp

MailChimp.com enables its 3 million users to send 5 billion email newsletters each month. The site is key to many nonprofits’ and small businesses’ efforts to stay in conversation with their audiences.

MailChimp's success and rapid growth are attributable to its design, ease-of-use, and fanatical attention to the user experience. And because of this success, the company is swimming in data.

MailChimp doesn't need to use this data – it doesn’t have to build AI models. The company is focused on user experience, not analytics, not data-driven advertising, not dynamic pricing. But MailChimp realized that its data could improve the site’s user experience in ways that were complementary to its focus on clean design.

This talk will cover the AI modeling architecture MailChimp has set up for its internal compliance efforts and its user-facing audience segmentation products. The organizational, cultural, and technical challenges faced in releasing these AI models will be discussed.



John Foreman

Chief Data Scientist


John is the Chief Data Scientist for MailChimp.com. He's also a recovering management consultant who's done a lot of analytics work for large businesses (Coke, Royal Caribbean, Intercontinental Hotels) and the government (DoD, IRS, DHS).
These days John does all sorts of awesome data science for MailChimp, and he blogs for fun about analytics through narrative fiction at AnalyticsMadeSkeezy.com.
John's book on data science, Data Smart: Using Data Science to Transform Information into Insight, is due out from Wiley in Fall 2013.

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