Is Data Science the New Snake Oil?

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At the recent Web Summit 2015, Vitaly Gordon, Director of Data Science at Salesforce, delivered a short talk on how to identify all the data science “snake oil” sales pitches happening out there. This situation typically follows the entry of any overly hyped industry (although the foundations of data science have been around for decades) where over zealous marketing departments work to morph their products in such a way so as to find success in the new field’s wake. Gordon uses two companies as examples of those with good prospects for viable data products: Vicarious and MetaMind. A lot of times, all you need to do is pull up the “About Us” page on the company’s website. If the CEO has a Ph.D. in a technical field, there’s a good bet this company has something useful. On the flip side, if the company is heavy in sales and marketing, the product might not be all that. He also highlights 5 critical aspects for a good data product.


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