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Ian Ozsvald picture

This is Ian Ozsvald's blog (@IanOzsvald), I'm an entrepreneurial geek, a Data Science/ML/NLP/AI consultant, founder of the Annotate.io social media mining API, author of O'Reilly's High Performance Python book, co-organiser of PyDataLondon, co-founder of the SocialTies App, author of the A.I.Cookbook, author of The Screencasting Handbook, a Pythonista, co-founder of ShowMeDo and FivePoundApps and also a Londoner. Here's a little more about me.

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29 June 2012 - 16:40Featured in BBC News

We’ve just had StrongSteam featured at the end of this BBC Tech article on foreign tech firms in the UK (noting that we’re a UK firm gone to foreign parts…) by Katia Moskvitch.

I’ll add a touch of context, I’m quoted as saying that I couldn’t raise funding for StrongSteam in the UK. This quote comes from a longer chat with Katia several months back about the state of funding in the UK, previously I’d looked for funding for seed-stage investments in other projects and found a lack of interest. For StrongSteam I hadn’t at that time looked for UK investment but I would expect the situation for a risky, early stage investment to be difficult (well, really very difficult).

In contrast I’ve had interest here in Chile from VCs and Angels and also offers of investment from Silicon Valley. Interestingly it didn’t take much work to get these intros and offers.

In response to the BBC articles I’ve been sent a link to Seedrs by Thomas Davies (Investment Director), they’re a UK based seed investment platform (a bit like Kickstarter-for-seed). They let folk invest in startups and help startups pitch for up to £150,000 seed investment. They’re launching Friday 6th July.


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Entrepreneur, Life, StartupChile

28 June 2012 - 23:20Bloody awful air in Santiago (“killer air”?)

I’m a London boy. I grey up on clouds of smoke (albeit not Dickensian-smoke but still…much pollution). Having traveled parts of the world I haven’t often encountered really bad pollution. Santiago has reset my levels.

When running up San Cristobel (the big hill in the centre of Santiago) a few weeks back it was possible to climb above the pollution line and to look down on the smog. As of two days ago my entire run was done under the pollution line. Emily ran also, she had a sharp chest pain for 24 hours after (she’s already on 3 antihistamines a day to de-clog). You get to see the yellow smog all around as you walk at street level.

This report from last year was pretty alarming, being exposed to 5* the WHO’s ‘safe levels’ on a daily basis is somewhat crazy. The numbers this year are ‘better’ as we’re only being exposed to 4* the WHO’s ‘safe levels’ (‘safe’ as in – don’t be exposed above this for more than 24 hours…we get it day in, day out).

Thankfully it is raining today and this weather/pollution site is recording ‘good’ levels (though if the column on the right-side of the lefthand table corresponds to the levels in the other links…who knows what happens at “401-500=Peligroso” [Danger!]).

For the record today (during the rain which massively cleanses the air) El Bosque (near the airport & much of the industry) the level is recorded as 58, out in Las Condes (the nobby area) the recording is 37. I’ll see how that changes over the next week.

You can see at the top of the weather/pollution link under ‘restrictions’ that non-catalyst cars (“No catalíticos”) are being restricted, the number-plates change for tomorrow (“Mañana”). They’ve been restricting cars by segment for the last few weeks. I guess that means that they’re seen to be “doing something” (even though the larger polluters are probably big industry around the city).

In the meantime I look forward to leaving for Argentina in a week, they’ve at least got clean out air there.

Does anyone have links to good real-time pollution statistics here in Santiago? Perhaps recorded back for several years, perhaps also recorded by area?

Update – more links:


Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Life

28 June 2012 - 19:31Lean Processes in StartupChile (short talk this morning)

I gave a short talk this morning with Ryan Lou on the Lean Processes that a startup can use. For me I looked back on the start of ShowMeDo in 2005 (and now) and how we iterated using email, google groups, surveys and lots of discovery by talking to users.

I then looked at how I wrote The Screencasting Handbook by putting up a landing page with a prototype chapter list followed by building an email list with mailchimp, surveying several times with surveymonkey and launching early with free and then discounted drafts which validated purchasing intent. Generally I host everything with WebFaction (they have auto-installers and simple SSH access, great for Python/Ruby/PHP etc).

Finally I spoke about our various ways of understanding user needs for our latest StrongSteam, particularly this time by focusing on Getting Out of the Building (lean startup parlance!) by heading to Silicon Valley and Vancouver over the last couple of weeks to actually meet potential clients, to talk through their needs.

Finally I gave some tips:

  • Get involved in a mentorship group, here’s my guide to starting one
  • Read Running Lean (well, read at least one of these 4 books if you’re unfamiliar with the area!)
  • Read Nail It Then Scale It
  • Read Pretotyping
  • Read the Startup Owners Manual
  • Keep working to minimise your uncertainly with the minimum amount of work (e.g. what can you do with 1 day of work to learn useful results, rather than months of coding?) – landing pages, surveys, talking to users etc are great ways to figure out why people might pay you for your offering
  • Keep learning, keep talking to users, keep figuring out what they’ll pay for (be it with cash or with attention)
  • Keep On Learning As Cheaply & Quickly As Possible

Ian applies Data Science as an AI/Data Scientist for companies in ModelInsight, sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London. Historically Ian ran Mor Consulting. He also founded the image and text annotation API Annotate.io, co-authored SocialTies, programs Python, authored The Screencasting Handbook, lives in London and is a consumer of fine coffees.

No Comments | Tags: Entrepreneur, Life