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Real Business : 2013 Issue 1
Business hero HE SAYS HE WANTS to turn data science into a sport, but after securing US$11 million in funding from some of the leading US venture capitalists in Silicon Valley, the founder and CEO of Kaggle isn’t playing games. Anthony Goldbloom is changing the way companies view and analyse their data. His approach is simple but revolutionary. The Kaggle team posts complex sets of data online and challenges experts from different specialisations and industries to mine the data to solve a particular problem. Often the aim is to create a complex model to predict specific outcomes, such as who is most likely to crash their car, default on a loan or be diagnosed with diabetes. Most importantly, Kaggle puts some of the world’s brightest minds in competition with each other, with rewards of up to US$3 million for the best solutions. Goldbloom says this competitive aspect that has helped Kaggle produce astonishing results. Fittingly, it was a competition that started the 29-year-old Australian on the path to success. A graduate in economics and econometrics from the University of Melbourne, he was working at the Reserve Bank of Australia when he won an essay competition run by Britain’s The Economist magazine. He says the prize, a three-month internship on the magazine in London, was like the ultimate research project, with top-level access to influential business leaders. “I would hear people talk about the sorts 26 Real Business issue 1, 2013 By turning data mining into competitions with rich rewards, Kaggle is attracting some of the world’s best brains to solve its toughest problems. sTorY sTePHen CRaFT
Issue 3 2012