The Next Big Thing in Data Science: What Every Innovator Needs To Know

In today's data-driven world, startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators face both challenges and opportunities in harnessing the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML).

To cast light on this subject, we sat down with Leslie Chiang, an esteemed data scientist with a wealth of experience spanning various industries. From his time as a top-rated eBay UK platinum power-seller to his current role as a Data Science Partner with Eight Mercatus, Leslie has honed his expertise in AI and ML, assisting companies in their digital transformation journeys.

In this article, we delve into Leslie's insightful perspective, highlighting his belief in developing approximate solutions to relevant questions, addressing common misconceptions and challenges in data-driven approaches, and offering guidance for those venturing into the world of data science.

Thriving in a Competitive Marketplace

Leslie's time as an eBay power-seller has taught him valuable lessons on how to succeed in a highly competitive marketplace.

He emphasizes the importance of putting the customer first, being adaptable, making data-driven decisions, constantly learning, and paying close attention to detail and quality. For entrepreneurs and startups, these principles are essential for laying the foundation of a thriving business.

Misconceptions and Challenges in Data-Driven Approaches

Leslie identifies several issues that companies face when adopting data-driven approaches, including unclear goals and alignment, insufficient data infrastructure, and talent shortages that result in skill gaps.

To address these challenges, he advocates for various solutions, such as facilitating goal-setting discussions, improving data infrastructure and quality checks, encouraging collaboration and partnerships, providing training, developing change management strategies, and implementing data governance frameworks.

Business Leaders Embracing Data Science

For business leaders who want to embrace data science but may feel overwhelmed, Leslie offers insightful guidance.

His recommendations include educating the organization about data science, establishing clear goals, initiating small and manageable projects, building a skilled team, investing in training, fostering communication and collaboration, measuring results, and encouraging continuous learning.

These strategies can assist in navigating the complexities of data science and lay the groundwork for achieving successful implementation.

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Practical Data Science Courses

In developing data science courses for universities, Leslie highlights the essential concepts and skills that equip students with practical knowledge. These crucial topics include programming languages, statistical concepts, machine learning algorithms, data visualization, data storage and querying, and ethical considerations.

The inclusion of real-world case studies and hands-on projects further strengthens students' understanding, preparing them adequately for the demands of the industry.

At the Forefront of AI and ML Advancements

To stay ahead of the competition in the rapidly advancing fields of AI and ML, Leslie suggests setting specific goals, allocating time for learning, building meaningful connections with professionals in the industry, and maintaining a positive mindset.

By implementing these strategies, startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators can effectively leverage the latest technologies to propel their ventures to success.

Data Science in Horse Racing, A Fun Fact!

Did you know ‘Horse racing’ has been found to benefit greatly from data science?

According to Leslie, in addition to predicting race outcomes, data scientists also use factors such as horse age, weight, speed, and past performance to create models for this purpose.

Insights generated by data analysis can help enhance training regimens by considering physiological metrics, such as sleep patterns, diet, and injury history.

Aside from these applications, data science can also contribute to cheating detection, track design optimization, and breeding program enhancements in the broader field of horse racing.


Leslie Chiang’s expertise and insights serve as a guiding light for innovators venturing into the world of data science. By embracing customer-centricity, overcoming challenges, adopting practical approaches, staying ahead of advancements, and exploring unexpected applications, startups, entrepreneurs, and innovators can unlock the next big thing in data science and pave the way for success in their respective fields.

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