What’s the most innovative initiative you’ve worked on?
One of the most innovative products I have worked on at Verisk is The Machine. We all know that AI and machine learning is the path forward for all big organizations to build innovative new products and services. However, AI and machine learning can only be as accurate as the source data that they learn from and are based on.
The Machine product has been built to allow all Verisk teams across the world to use NLP and other techniques to extract structured data from unstructured sources such as news, social media, PDFs, Word documents, spreadsheets, images, video, and other unstructured media. Once in the environment, the business units can use the structured data to create additional risk scores, additional analytics, and apply it to further upstream applications.
One major advantage of this approach is [that] data that could previously take vendors and government agencies a long time to structure and make available can now be accessible via The Machine within an hour of being published almost anywhere in the world.
What are the three things you look for when hiring?
When I look for new candidates to bring into the team, the first thing I look for is someone who I believe has the personality to be a great fit and would work well with the existing team. The next big thing that I typically look for is expertise in the field that the applicant is looking to fill, especially for non-entry-level roles. Finally, I try to look for candidates who are willing to acknowledge that they don’t know everything that I ask but are willing to learn.
There are multiple other qualities we look for in the candidates that we interview. For example, confidence, enthusiasm, trustworthiness, and the ability to think on their feet. All of these criteria are important to finding a well-rounded candidate.
What advice can you share on starting a career?
My advice to those just starting out their career is to pursue your passions, of course, but keep an open mind about opportunities that might come your way in life. We all need to recognize that your interests at the age of 22 are probably very different than they were at 12, and will likely change when you are 32, 42, and 52. No matter what career track you choose, you will likely find an opportunity at some point to change directions.
As long as you start your career recognizing this and take the time and put in the effort to excel in your chosen field, but keep some time on the side to learn about other fields, when the opportunity for change does arrive, you will be prepared for success if you do choose to make the change.
Why is AI and machine learning important to the work Verisk does and to our customers?
We all know that AI and machine learning can help drive actionable insights, drive critical decisions, and help create new products and services. One of the key reasons to use AI and ML in my mind are to find answers to the unknown from the wealth of data that many companies have.
Machine learning can help identify correlations in the data from millions or even billions of possibilities, which you would not be able to query and extract unless you knew exactly what you were looking for. Quality machine learning can give corporations a strategic edge over competitors with access to the same data from vendors and the government. Clients, as well, are always interested in knowing that we are using the latest and greatest technologies to continue to innovate.