This year I had the privilege and opportunity to represent Warply by giving a keynote speech at PyCon Balkan, along with my good friend and colleague Dimitris Koulouris. In the event, two additional Pythonistas took part from the Warply team, Panagiotis Koytsaftikis and Panagiotis Triantafilloy, who also share the same passion for Python. This event not only gave us the opportunity to venture out in search of the best Python practices, but we also had several networking opportunities and the best of all… discovering Belgrade! It was a great chance to explore something different, meet awesome people, learn more about the community, brush up on presentation skills and talk about our work at Warply.
Here are some highlights and things I have learned from the event:
Our presentation was scheduled for the last day of the conference, so we had a lot of time to perform our technical preparations and rehearse our speeches. After having a delicious breakfast at our hotel and a brief morning meeting amongst ourselves for some final preparations, we began our way to the Hilton Hotel where the event was taking place. It was a ten-minute walk from our hotel, located in the city center and surrounded by many good restaurants, shopping centers and awesome museums in which we had the luck to visit.
The moment we stepped in, we were pleasantly surprised by how well the event was directed and organized, how friendly everyone was and how many participants attended the conference. The keynote speeches were presented in a spacious room. In between each speech, there was a short five-minute break, during which the audience was actively participating and interacting at the booths outside the auditorium. When the next keynote was about to begin, everyone diligently returned to the auditorium to attend the next speech. During the day, there were coffee breaks, lunch and dinner. We were all impressed by the quality and the variety of food offered.
The title of our Presentation
It was 14.50 and our presentation was about to begin. We decided beforehand, that I would co-present with Dimitri. While Dimitri’s talk was technical around our pipeline architecture, mine was more light and high-level.
Slide from Dimitri presentation describing the Warply processing pipeline
When Dimitri finished talking about Warply’s data pipeline, I stepped in and opened the second part of our presentation with a brief introduction to Artificial Intelligence in Marketing, what the current state of AI is and what to expect in the next couple of years. Next, I analyzed what Warply’s approach is in bringing AI to our company and developing a data driven culture and how this aided us not to get lost in the process.
Afterward,I briefly described our hot and cold processing pipeline from a Data Scientist point of view and how we use ML and DL to solve marketing and customer related business problems.
Slide from my speech describing the data pipeline from my point of view
I talked a little bit about our environment setup and what kind of libraries we use to run our ML/DL experiments and deploy our analytic models to production. Finally, I closed the presentation with some design patterns for Machine Learning in production that should
be taken into consideration by any company that plans to incorporate AI into its business.
AI technologies that we are leveraging at Warply
I talked about how we are heavily leveraging the power of AI to automate tasks, improve workflows, find new patterns in our data.
Slide describing the most common scenario where your data science team is separated from anybody else in the company.
Take and gain valuable insights and knowledge for a variety of use cases, such as promotions, up and cross-sell campaigns and improved customer experience. I also explained how our R&D data science team builds state-of-the-art ML and DL prototypes using modern libraries such as Keras, TensorFlow PyTorch and Scikit-learn. Only after the presentation I realized how quickly the time had passed and that 40 minutes were not enough to describe, or even mention, all the interesting things that we are doing at Warply.
After the talk, I was pleasantly surprised by how many people approached to congratulate us, ask questions or make suggestions on our architecture. Everybody was extremely kind and friendly!
Belgrade is the largest city and capital of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Savas and Danube. The first thing that you will notice is that the majority of residents do not speak or understand any English. However, many understand Russian, which helped us a little in our communication as I am fluent in Russian.
The city was a new and surprising experience for us. We greatly enjoyed the Serbian cuisine. The smells and tastes of the traditional Serbian cuisine was very hard to resist. I really enjoyed the Serbian Cevapcici, which is a dish consisting of grilled minced meat served on a flatbread, known as lepinja, along with Kajmak and chopped onions on the side. On Sunday, after the event and on Monday morning, before our flight, we had a little bit time to go sightseeing and visit some of the city’s museums and historical places. As a scientist, I was really excited to visit the Nicola Tesla museum and see some inventions by Tesla himself that changed our world for future generations! We also had time to visit the Belgrade fortress and the church of saint Sava. The buildings follow a mid-twentieth century architecture which echoes Socialist Modernism, Socialist realism and Brutalism. In general, the city was beautiful and very clean!
My experience at PyCon reaffirmed my gratefulness for being part of the amazing community which has been formed around Python. I am extremely thankful for having had the opportunity to travel to Belgrade and take part in PyCon for the first time. It was a an unforgettable experience and the perfect place to find your tribe, re-energize, cement old friendships, make new ones, learn, teach, and have fun. For those of you who weren’t able to make it, I would definitely recommend visiting the next PyCon Balkan.
Happy Python coding and see you all at the next PyCon!