Next Play!

Every year brings its own adventures, but for me 2011 will be a tough act to follow.

A year ago, I’d just started working at LinkedIn, and my biggest concern was selling our apartment in Brooklyn so that my family could join me in California.

Little did I imagine that my new manager, who had just recruited me from Google to LinkedIn (and persuaded my family to change coasts!), would leave three months later for a startup. Welcome to Silicon Valley! At the time, I felt unready for the abrupt transition into the product executive team. In retrospect, I’m thankful for the kick in the pants that helped me transform my role and brought the best out of a great team.

Summer brought the excitement of LinkedIn’s IPO. The process was exhilarating, especially to someone who had worked for over a decade at a pre-IPO company.

Nonetheless, we didn’t let the IPO distract us from our mission. In March, we celebrated our 100 millionth member; by November, we passed 135 million. And lots more. We released new data products like Skills and Alumni. We won the OSCON Data Innovation Award for contributions to the open source software for big data. We also acquired a few companies, including search engine startup IndexTank. In short, we heeded the two short words on the back of our commemorative IPO t-shirts: “next play”.

Fall was an intense season of conferences. Between CIKM, HCIR, RecSys, Strata, and a talk at CMU, it was a great opportunity to connect and reconnect with researchers and practitioners around the world. I am particularly proud of the success of this year’s HCIR workshop, which showed how much the workshop (now to become a 2-day symposium!) has grown up in five years.

But what capped my year off was seeing Endeca, the company I helped start in 1999, become one of Oracle’s largest acquisitions. Even though it’s been two years since I left, Endeca will always be a core facet of my professional identity. I look forward to great things from all the folks I worked with.

That brings us to 2012, ready to start a new year of adventures. Tough or not, our job is to make every new year more amazing than the previous ones. I’m ready for the challenge, and I hope you are too.

Here’s a teaser of what I have planned:

  • My team at LinkedIn is launching into 2012 with a strong focus on derived data quality and relevance. As regular readers know, I see data quality and richer interfaces for information seeking as inseparable concerns. And, speaking of quality, we’re hiring!
  • I’ll be speaking at Strata in a couple of months with Claire Hunsaker of Samasource about “Humans, Machines, and the Dimensions of Microwork“. I’m very excited to talk about the intersection of crowdsourcing and data science. And I’ll be joined by three of LinkedIn’s top data scientists: Monica Rogati, Sam Shah, and Pete Skomoroch.
  • I’ll be co-chairing the RecSys Industry Track this fall with Yehuda Koren. I’m honored to have the opportunity to work with Yehuda, who was part of the Netflix Grand Prize team and won best paper at RecSys 2011. We’re still putting together the program, but you can look at last year’s program to get an idea of what’s in store.
  • I’ll be at the CIKM Industry Event, this time as an invited speaker. CIKM will be take place in Maui this fall and I’m excited about the program that Evgeniy Gabrilovich is putting together for the Industry Event. It will be an all-invited program, just like last year.

I hope you’re also starting 2012 with a fresh sense of purpose. Let’s take a last moment to reflect on a great 2011, and then…NEXT PLAY!

By Daniel Tunkelang

High-Class Consultant.

3 replies on “Next Play!”

Daniel —

Thank you for the HCIR.

We at Elsevier Labs really enjoyed the outing and we look forward to this year’s event.

Congrats on your many technical adventures. It looked 2011 was a great year for your technical efforts to be rewarded.


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