A Winner’s Perspective….
PRECISION SOURCING CAUGHT UP WITH KEEGAN O’SHEA, TEAM LEAD FOR THE WINNERS OF THE 2019 NRL DATAJAM!
Why did you decide to enter the Datajam?
I attended last year as a casual attendee and it seemed like an interesting data challenge. This is a unique event and we wanted to push ourselves to see how we compared.
How easy was it to get the team?
Mark is a very vocal and avid rugby league supporter so that was the easiest bit. When Emily Nota called from Precision Sourcing, I got off the phone, looked to my left and knew straight away he was in. Mark, in turn, looked to his left and Marty was locked in. Finally, Marty looked to his left and Howard jumped straight in! Very quickly we had a crew and a good core team.
What sort of skills did you have in the team?
I didn’t get to do a lot of the coding, my personal contribution was challenging the use case and presenting the findings. The other 3 are creative data thinkers and data scientists. Howard managed the modelling, Mark brought his unique knowledge of the game and rules and how we could look at problems in the game and Marty was extremely useful in doing the heavy lifting of data cleansing.
What did you get out of it?
We went into it to have a bit of fun but realised we may have something interesting. In these activities, we usually come up with something really good or nothing at all. Once we caught on to something we decided we were all in and playing to win. When second place was announced we knew it was all or nothing!
I was proud and excited to be recognised for the work. After talking to one of the judges, Madge Maguire (Tigers Head Coach) and the role of data in sport it was good to know that what we delivered had value. If it has some hand in better use of data in the NRL we have won.
Thoughts on the day vs other data events?
Very weird! At data events there is usually a more subdued and practical vibe but there was a real buzz. The location played a part, there was excitement from the NRL and everyone in the room, due to the timings of the day kept the momentum rolling. There was an amazing buzz and is the best hackathon or Datajam I’ve been involved in. Everyone involved was so curious and that really drove engagement in the day.
How will you approach defending your crown?
Ideally we will build on what we have done. We don’t want to build on the same idea with the same result but the way we approach problems is to build on what we have to make it even better. Having said that if we can’t take it further, we will have to fundamentally change what we do!