NEXT 2019 Podcast Series

NEXT 2019 Conference Series – Ellen Kolstø – IBM Q

Welcome to the 2019 NEXT Conference Series. Recorded live in Chicago, this series is bringing interviews straight to you from exhibitors and speakers at this year’s event. In this interview, host Jamin Brazil interviews Ellen Kolstø, Design Principal at IBM Q. 

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My guest today is Ellen.  Ellen’s been on the show before.  She’s with IBM Q, right?


Well, yeah.  I’m actually now working in the quantum computing space.  I used to work on AI for two-and-a-half years, which is how I happen to be here, talking about AI.  


How did your talk go?  


It was great.  We had a lot of really interesting people in the room, a lot of discussion around “Are you ready for AI?”, “What does it involve?” in terms of having successful AI or AI that works reliably.  So we had a great discussion. 


That’s awesome.  This is my first time at the NEXT Conference.  Have you been here before?


No, this is my first time too.


What do you think?


Oh, I think it’s great.  I think that anytime you can get a bunch of market researchers together to talk about what’s going on, it’s super helpful.  And you learn something from what everyone else is doing. I took a bunch of mental notes even in my own session of people mentioning things.  So, yeah, it’s helpful.


It’s fun; that’s fun.  So, what are you seeing as…?  Were you able to participate in any of the earlier sessions?


[Sighs] No, I flew in late last night.


That’s what I thought.


And then we were preparing for this morning’s presentation.  So, I learned a lot in my own session so far.


Ahh, that’s…  What’s your big takeaway?


That everyone is super excited about AI, but they don’t know how to get started.  




And my view point on it is it’s the same sort of test-and-learn scenario of any part of market research:  take a small part of what you’re doing, test it out, figure out what you’re learning and move from there rather than trying to boil the ocean.  And I think that was what a lot of the people who tried it were talking about as well in the session.  


So, what is one practical way…  Can people engage with you or IBM to help in a similar way to like AWS?


Uh, well, that’s a good question.  Uh, that’s a hard one for me to answer.


Are engagements usually…  Like when I think about IBM, you know this is enterprise-to-enterprise sort of like an engagement, right?  And that’s kind of like the sweet spot, I think, of why people turn to IBM in that kind of context.


Right.  I mean we have cloud services and we do have Watson on the cloud.  So you can..


Oh Watson, yeah, right.  Exactly.


Yeah, you can access Software as a Service through IBM as well.  So you can engage in that way. I just wasn’t sure if you meant me personally, or…


No, no, no, I’m sorry.  That was a bad question.    


I was like, “Well, you could, but that would be a LOT of people.”  


That would be a lot of people.


Uh, but you can actually use IBM’s products, but we create products in the space that help other people build models.  So the question is whether you want to build your own model or whether you want use a service that already has models built for you. 


Oh, got it.  That’s actually super interesting.


Yeah, it’s a decision to make for sure.


Good.  Yeah, so, you’re flying out today?


I am.


Are you really?


I’ve got client meetings tomorrow.  So, it’s like no rest for the weary.


No rest for the wicked.  I think is how that goes.  


I know the wicked.  I like to say “weary” instead of “wicked,” but yeah.


My grandmother taught me that.  Anyway…


I know.  My grandmother probably taught me that too.  


That’s hilarious.  Ellen, thank you so much for being on the Happy Market Research Podcast.


Oh, my pleasure.


Safe travels to you.


Thank you.


Everybody else, please take the time to rate this show.  Your reviews allow other people like you to be able to find it.  If you’re not attending the NEXT Conference right now in Chicago, I’d encourage you to check out the Converge Conference that’s coming up in fall; actually, I think it’s December.  So it’s wintertime; it’s the last conference of the year. It’s a fantastic one based out of L.A. Out of 2018, it was the best conference that I went to. No offense to any of the other GreenBook.  It’s really small, super intimate, fantastic content that we covered there. Anyway, have a wonderful rest of your day.