Q&A with Meetup Organiser Jaymie Thomas (AI Wales)

It’s been a while since we last posted (it’s a long story!), but continuing on with our Q&A series with local meetup organisers, this time we have Jaymie Thomas (@jaymiethomas) of AI Wales

Hi Jaymie! First of all, please introduce yourself and your businesses.

Jaymie Thomas photoHi! I run my own business called Automise, which is a software development agency specialising in building web applications and payments. We’re based in Tramshed Tech in Cardiff. I think most people on the entrepreneurial scene know me from the Cardiff Start group on Facebook, but I’m always happy to have a coffee with those I haven’t met yet.

Tell us about AI Wales. How did it come about? How many have you run so far? Who runs it alongside you?

About a year ago, I kept hearing increasing mention of machine learning in the media and – despite being in software development – knew very little about the ins-and-outs of what AI actually meant. It began with a simple tweet asking who I should speak with about machine learning, and a friend pointed me toward David Pugh, a local engineer with a strong interest in data science (who is now doing wonderful things at the ONS Data Science Campus in Newport).

We met for a chat and it was clear that Dave was more than a little further along the curve. He gave his time generously and began explaining concepts to me. It occurred to me that this was learning that could scale, that other people would also be interested in this. Dave loved the idea of establishing a meetup so we began planning. Around that time, Toby White moved his new AI company Artimus into Tramshed Tech, so the stars were clearly aligning! Dave, Toby and I set up AI Wales with the deliberate aim that it was for people to learn about AI from scratch, intending to ignite a spark within them across different topics. We now run monthly meetups thanks to the generosity of Yolk Recruitment, Tramshed Tech and Artimus.

We’ve run seven sessions to-date, which have covered a general introduction to AI, logistical regression, machine learning, the ethics and morality of AI systems, and more recently, Natural Language Processing. Each of these is only a light touch on the topic, designed to encourage interested attendees to learn and discuss more amongst themselves.

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Q&A with Meetup Organiser Nicholas Fearn (Tech Dragons)

A while back we started a Q&A series with local meetup organisers, starting with Steph Locke.

This time we have Nicholas Fearn (@nicholasgfearn) of Tech Dragons fame…

Tell us about Tech Dragons. It’s a Welsh startup news website but you also run offline meetups, is that right?

Nicholas FearnI launched Tech Dragons in 2015 to shout about the great things that are happening in the Welsh tech scene. We lacked our own tech press, and I wanted to change that.

I position Tech Dragons as a platform for the Welsh technology community, and I started running my own meetups to bring everyone together in a more laid back setting.

What tends to happen at one of your meetups?

There are usually several talks from local technology entrepreneurs, professionals and other members of the community. The speakers will often talk about their start-up journeys and the cool things they’re working on – followed by pizza and networking time.

How do you recruit speakers? Do you approach people or do they approach you (and pitch to you)?

I’ll often approach people I’ve written about on Tech Dragons or have recently discovered. My aim has always been to give people a platform where they can speak about their businesses, work and projects.

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Q&A with Meetup Organiser Steph Locke (CaRdiff & MSFT…

This is the first of a series of Q&A interviews we’ll be holding with meetup organisers based in South Wales. Want to be interviewed? Let us know!

First up we have Steph Locke (@SteffLocke) of Locke Data, who runs multiple meetups in Cardiff.

Hi Steph! First of all, please introduce yourself and your business.

Steph Locke cartoonHi! I’m Steph Locke and I run a data science consultancy here in Cardiff. Education and skills development has been a huge part of my life for the past decade with user groups and whatnot so I extended that into my business. I help organisations upskill, recruit, and implement data science instead of doing it for them. It’s a great experience growing my own business and helping others grow theirs.

What meetups do you run? Please tell us about them.

I run CaRdiff, an R user group, and MSFT Stack, a general Microsoft group. I’m currently growing new teams to take these over as I’ve been running MSFT Stack for seven years now.

Which meetup did you start running first, and what inspired you to start running a meetup in the first place?

I technically started running MSFT Stack first, although back in the day it the SQL Server user group. I took over the SQL group when Adam Morton moved out of the area. I was 23 at the time and clearly had “mug” written across my forehead! I’ve been organising it ever since. A while back I felt like there wasn’t enough provision for R users like myself and .Net devs. I set up the R group and co-founded a .Net group with Mike Hole. When I was contemplating adding an Azure user group too, I thought I’d better consolidate as running 4 user groups would be insane.

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