Looking for a Job? Learn Ruby, Python and be a Team Player!

What makes a great software engineer and perhaps more importantly, what skills will most likely land you a sweet job?  Mixtent and KISSMetrics analyzed LinkedIn data and surveyed users on perceptions of candidate skill levels based on their profiles and purported skill sets.

The key findings?

  • Python engineers are perceived as better engineers
  • Engineers with teamwork, dedication and a solid work ethic are perceived as better engineers.  Creativity and communication skills are less valued.
  • Ruby engineers are viewed a good front-end engineers (Rails?)

Hiring Managers – do you agree with the findings of this study?  Do you find yourself making these kinds of decisions between candidates?

Developers & Data Scientists – got some awesome Ruby, Python and Hadoop skills and want to join a strong, dedicated team with a solid work ethic?  Check out our current job listings.

WhatMakesaGreatSoftwareEngineer Looking for a Job? Learn Ruby, Python and be a Team Player!

by KISSmetrics via


Keeping Tech Talent in Austin

Yesterday, we attended the MadeInAustin Fair, an event that can perhaps be described as a “Job Fair 2.0”.  The event, endorsed by Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Bob Metcalfe and other local leaders, focused on connecting students with start-ups and small companies.  The goal?  To stop the massive brain drain of tech talent from the Silicon Hills.

According to Leffingwell, 80% of the engineers graduating from the University of Texas leave the city to seek work in other cities.  With over 100 companies in attendance at yesterday’s event, the vast majority searching for engineers, it’s obvious that the start-up community of Austin needs to make a concerted effort to keep and attract talent to our fair city.

photo e1322691394407 768x1024 Keeping Tech Talent in Austin

So what’s the sell to UT’s most talented engineers who tend leave Austin to work for the Googles and Facebooks of the world?  Instead of leaving town, connect to the start-ups in your community and work for the next Google and the next Facebook.

The sell of working for a start-up?  Your job will be a dynamic and exciting.  You’ll have real influence over the direction of the company and its products.  You get to work with similarly driven, innovative, (often) very fun people.  And if it all works out, the monetary payoffs can be huge.

In addition to the openings for full time positions and internships with us, there’s tons of other opportunities in Austin.  We encourage you to keep the spirit of innovation alive by joining or starting your own startup.

Here are some great resources to check out to get you on your way:

MIAlogo Keeping Tech Talent in Austin

MadeInAustin Fair: Interested in a position with an Austin start-up or small tech company?  Peruse the full list of attendees of the first MadeInAustin Fair and check out current openings for full-time, part-time and internship roles.


logo campus 2 careers Keeping Tech Talent in Austincampus2careers: Connect with positions at start-ups and small/medium sized businesses.  Currently only available in Texas, but looking to be nationwide in the next year.


cfmia Keeping Tech Talent in AustinCapital Factory: Check out this early stage accelerator program for tech startups that provides a small amount of seed capital and weekly mentoring sessions by entrepreneurs who have founded successful companies.





Enron: Evil versus Football

This is a repost from our friends at Luminoso, a text mining and analytics solutions company.  (They’re some smart monkeys!)  Dennis Clark is their Chief Strategy Officer.

At Luminoso, we sometimes combine our serious analytics with something a bit more fanciful.

We were pitching to a company that deals with internal corporate documents — there are lots of fun things we can do with text analytics and a lot of internal documents — but where on earth are we going to get our hands on secret, internal corporate documents of any kind? Nobody’s handing them out on the street.

Rather than the oft-proposed method called “theft,” we did what most email researchers do: take advantage of the fact that Enron got all their email subpoenaed. Hence, the Enron Corpus, consisting of about half a million emails between about 150 top Enron executives, running from late 1999 to early 2002, from slightly before the actual price fixing to slightly after the bankruptcy. Then we did what we usually do.

 Enron: Evil versus Football


Fantasy Football Picks: Finding Wisdom in the Crowd

football verdict logo Fantasy Football Picks: Finding Wisdom in the Crowd

On any given weekend when you’re hanging out with your friends watching a game, it’s inevitable that everyone will pipe up with their opinions and none are more vocal than those of us in the fantasy community.  But whose opinion can you trust and which one will lead you to a winning roster?  Professional football, much like baseball, is a heavily tracked sport with tons of stats on every player and every game.  So, sure, you can wade through a bunch of player stats or look to expert rankings, but wouldn’t it be more fun to pit your own football knowledge against the rest of the community?

Football Verdict is a new fantasy football advice platform where managers can ask weekly sit-or-start questions and get advice from the fantasy community. Football Verdict aims to provide personalized fantasy advice by giving you feedback on your specific dilemma. To encourage answers and engage users, we evaluate every answer submitted to the site and rank each user on our leaderboard based on their accuracy. Rather than purely focusing on player stats, we look to measures that gives us a better chance at the right prediction, fueled by a strong, passionate community.

Reviewing our data, in Week 8, fantasy football players most often asked about Bernard Scott, Antonio Brown, Roy Helu, and Jackie Battle. In Week 8, many high-powered offenses had bye weeks and there were a lot of injuries. Thus, fantasy owners asked many questions about fringe players.

What a difference a week makes.

In Week 9, there’s a boldface name sitting at the top: Chris Johnson. Just over halfway through the season, and the fantasy player most often in question is the same player who went #2 in most drafts this year.

Week 9’s Most Frequently Questions Players (with position, team and percentage of Verdict questions appearing)

1. Chris Johnson (RB, TEN, 14%)
Fantasy owners seek justification to bench their first round pick

2. Mike Williams (WR, TB, 12%)
Josh Freeman’s numbers are down all season

3. Brandon Lloyd (WR, STL, 8%)
Lloyd shows early promise in St. Louis, but instability at quarterback leaves players clueless

4. Stevie Johnson (WR, BUF, 8%)
Stranded on Revis Island

5. DeMarco Murray (RB, DAL, 8%)
Does Felix Jones’ return spell a committee in Dallas?

With four teams on byes this week (Detroit, Minnesota, Carolina, Jacksonville), and fewer than 6 viable fantasy players on those rosters, Football Verdict is seeing a glut of questions at the skill positions this week:

Wide Receivers: 32%
Trending: Mike Williams, Brandon Lloyd, Stevie Johnson

WR/RB Flex: 24%

Quarterbacks: 18%
Trending: Matt Cassel, Josh Freeman

Running Backs: 16%
Trending: Chris Johnson, DeMarco Murray, Cedric Benson

If you’re struggling with a fantasy football decision, ask your question at Football Verdict and the community will help you decide. If you think you’re great at predicting results, answer questions and you’ll see your name in lights on the leaderboard. If you have any questions, please email

Dan Chaparian is the co-founder of Football Verdict.

The Past, Present and Future of Data

Yesterday, our CEO, Nick Ducoff presented at Data Content, an Infocommerce conference. In this presentation geared towards fellow data publishers, Nick takes us through a history of information and his thoughts on the future and where Infochimps fits into the puzzle.  If you’d like to review a full transcript of his presentation, you can check it out after the jump. Enjoy!

(more…) Joins the Bunch; Brings 30 Million+ News Headlines & Summaries from 2009-2011

303167 300 Joins the Bunch; Brings 30 Million+ News Headlines & Summaries from 2009 2011Hello fellow data monkeys,

A few weeks ago, Infochimps and completed a collaboration to release nearly 30 million news headlines and summaries from 2009-2011 in a nicely-structured JSON dump. This is data that’s crawlers have collected over the last 2 years from over 500,000 web news sources. I am a cofounder of and was the lead engineer who worked on making the data dump happen.

We have been receiving some questions about this data, so I thought it’d be helpful to give some background via this guest blog post. It’s also great timing: the whole team has just returned from a trip to Austin that included a stop at the Infochimps world headquarters. Let’s not let this opportunity for big data collaboration slip away!

OK, so what’s

parsely 800px Joins the Bunch; Brings 30 Million+ News Headlines & Summaries from 2009 2011



Happy 7 Billion Day!

Today, October 31, 2011, has been declared 7 Billion Day by the UNFPA, United Nations Population Fund.  Yes, despite lacking a complete census of the world’s population, today has been declared a milestone date in human history and to celebrate, the UNFPA launched 7 Billion Actions, where they are encouraging people to participate in their communities, both online and offline.

Our favorite part of this whole campaign?  The header link that says “Data” on the 7 Billion Actions page.  Here you’ll find a slick interactive visualization of the world’s current and projected demographics and population data.  Some of the most fascinating insights are documented in the videos at the bottom of the page, including this one, which illustrated the paradox of the current world’s population, which is both getting younger and older at the same time.

When the Data is More Valuable Than the Device

water view When the Data is More Valuable Than the Device

I came across this Wall Street Journal article last week which included a blurb about a company, Liquid Robotics Inc. They make unmanned water vehicles with some pretty impressive technology.

By continuously harvesting energy from the environment, Wave Gliders are able to travel long distances, hold station, and monitor vast areas without ever needing to refuel. A unique two-part architecture and wing system directly converts wave motion into thrust, and solar panels provide electricity for sensor payloads. This means that Wave Gliders can travel to a distant area, collect data, and return for maintenance without ever requiring a ship to leave port.

Others have also been impressed by the company and they recently raised $22 million. This news is fairly interesting to a VC geek like me, but the thing that really caught my attention was their recent pivot. At Infochimps our data suppliers typically fall into one of two categories: 1) companies in the business of selling data (eg AggData), and 2) companies in the business of selling something else, but that want to monetize their data byproduct (see: Twitter). Liquid Robotics is an example of the latter. In the course of making unmanned water vehicles, they recognized their data byproduct was more valuable than what they were selling.

73955v1 max 250x250 When the Data is More Valuable Than the DeviceLiquid Robotics is sending a fleet of four of their unmanned water vehicles across the Pacific (PacX) to collect over 2 million data points on salinity and water temperature, waves, weather, fluorescence, and dissolved oxygen. They are making this data accessible to scientists, but I am sure there are many companies chomping at the bit for it.

Many companies use their own data to gain insight into their operations, but more and more companies are using third party data to go way beyond that. Quentin Hardy posits in this New York Times article whether we’re in a big data bubble. He says yes, but I say no. The big data stack is maturing and the tools available enable companies to ask myriad questions to both their own data, as well as data from third parties. This marriage provides additional insight and begets many more questions.

As more and more companies recognize the value of their data and seek to monetize it, and as more and more companies use third party data to gain insight, Infochimps will be there to provide liquidity in the emerging data marketplace.

A Marketer Learns How to Program

Okay, I have a confession to make. Though I’ve helped write example queries, created wireframes for webpages and heck, even toyed around with our API Explorer, I’ve never written a single line of code. Not terribly surprising for a marketer; however, after hanging out with the chimps for the past six months, I felt like it was finally about time to learn something. But where to start? Would I really have the time to commit to a regular weekly class? Could I make myself curl up with an O’Reilly book on PHP or Ruby with other more pressing projects looming? Clearly, the only way I could make this a priority is for it to be fun!

codecademy A Marketer Learns How to Program

Meet Codecademy, which I’ve been nerding out on all morning.  In fact, in the last hour, I’ve learned how to define variables and starting working with strings, substrings, arrays and if/else.  The best part of the whole thing?  It’s been absolutely delightful.  Much of this comes from the amazingly simple layout, which takes students through progressive lessons on the basics of programming and JavaScript in a command line setting.  The initial concepts are easy to grok and they build beautifully on each other, until suddenly, whoa – did I just define variables, prompt a user for input and create different returns based on user input?

While, this might not sound like much to the hardcore programmers out there, for a marketer who had never written a lick of code in her life as of an hour ago, Codecademy is a pretty rad resource.  Share it with your programming-novice friends and see what they think.  Or, contribute to their lesson plans and get more folks coding!

Fall Friday Night Hacks Winner & Recap

DL2 1144 Fall Friday Night Hacks Winner & Recap

Just another typical Friday night, drinking beer, hanging out with friends and hacking!  That’s right, folks – an intrepid group of Infochimps along with dozens of other local developers, designers and nerd-tastic folks gathered at CoSpace for the second edition of our favorite local regular hack event – Friday Night Hacks!

 Fall Friday Night Hacks Winner & RecapThis time around, we decided to offer a prize to our favorite hack and we’re pleased to announce the winner is Chris McGrath.  Using our new Geo API, Chris added a geo-location option to his QR Code Generator.  Using his app, you can turn almost any piece of information into a QR code that you can scan later to retrieve on your phone.  Rad!  For his efforts, he gets a sweet $100 ThinkGeek gift card and an even sweeter Infochimps belt buckle!

Thanks everyone for participating and we can’t wait til the next one!