My Experience at Collision

By Christian Marc Schmidt

Last week, we joined thousands of technology firms, startups, investors, consultants and media companies at the 2016 Collision Conference in New Orleans. The sister conference of Web Summit, Collision 2016 brought together individuals from all areas of technology and from over 50 countries around the world in a dynamic, high-octane spectacle, overwhelming due to the sheer number of activities happening at once.

Presentations and panels touched on a dizzying set of topics from machine learning and virtual reality to data and privacy. Two highlights were Stephen Wolfram’s live demo of Wolfram Language, a symbolic programming language that focuses on knowledge with live tie-ins to web services and data sources, as well as a panel on the impact of civic data featuring Tyrone Grandison, Chief Data Officer at the DOC, Dan Wagner, the CEO for Civis Analytics, and Matthew Mahan, the CEO of Brigade.

Stephen Wolfram demoing Wolfram Language

Schema was part of the Alpha program. We were there on behalf of our sister company, Arrays, to unveil the public pre-release of a data visualization platform that aims to give anyone an easy-to-use, visual interface for browsing large datasets and generating insights. While the platform is brand new, Arrays is the result of years of experience “reinventing the wheel” while creating dynamic, discovery-driven information experiences for clients. I hope you’ll go to www.arrays.co and let us know what you think. We’re still early stage, and your input will help us shape the product as we move forward.

Our Alpha booth at Collision

With my years of experience in consulting, starting a product firm is an entirely new undertaking and while it is not unfamiliar territory, having worked with many startups both early- and late-stage, it still poses an entirely new set of challenges. Setting up our booth at Collision and scheduling several 1:1 meetings with investors was a great way to get feedback and early validation on the product. I walked away exhausted but on a high, with the feeling that there is tremendous, scalable potential in both the platform and the company we are in the process of building.

This was an inspiring week, and I’m looking forward to next year. Maybe I’ll see you there.

Christian Marc Schmidt is Founder and Principal of Schema, a research and design firm headquartered in Seattle.