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Interview with Jude Boyle, VP of Public Sector at Databricks



Interview with Jude Boyle, VP of Public Sector at Databricks

“The lakehouse architecture combines the best qualities of data warehouses and data lakes to provide a single solution for all major data workloads and supports use cases from streaming analytics to BI, data science, and AI. “

Hi, Jude. Welcome to our Interview Series. Please tell us a little bit about your journey in this industry and what inspired you to be part of Databricks.

With three brothers in the Marines (and a Navy SEAL brother-in-law), I care deeply about the public sector’s mission and success. Bringing the best technology to the government to support the mission has motivated my career. After having the benefit of speaking with industry thought leaders and public sector customers, I was blown away by Databricks’ capability, growth, and people.

What is the crux of your role? Could you please explain this to our readers?

As VP of Public Sector at Databricks, my first and foremost role is to bring the best capability to public sector customers. My team supports our government customers to drive vital missions from veteran suicide prevention to citizenship and immigration services to Medicare and Medicaid fraud prevention.

I am also focused on ensuring we can deliver the most secure, performant platform to our customers for driving mission outcomes based on the vast trove of data they possess, no matter the data type. And, of course, in my role, my commitment is to our Databricks team to ensure they can help our customers in their journey toward delivering better citizen outcomes with data.

What has changed in the enterprise data industry in the last 3 years? How has Databricks emerged as the go-to platform for data lakehouse?

In the past, federal, state, and local governments could only be reactive when faced with an analytics need and this was primarily due to the limitations of data warehouses and the inability to gain insight from unstructured and semi-structured data. When questions came up that were not part of regularly scheduled dashboards, our customers had to scramble to find ways to get an answer. Beyond that, even for the reports and dashboards these organizations built were looking for guidance focused primarily on the past; asking the question of “what happened” after events had occurred.

Increasingly, innovators in the data space today are looking to use data to react both in real-time with streaming data insight and through AI and ML to predict the future. As organizations modernize their data architecture, they want to tackle a diverse range of new use cases, including those that involve Data Science and Machine Learning. This is easier said than done. To perform this function end-to-end, an agency will need to ingest data, curate and transform it, build BI and SQL analytics on top of it, employ data science and ML and put these models into production. You also need to catalog all of the data and govern it. What this looks like is an integration across 5-6 different services in a traditional world. But organizations want to do this across multiple clouds with a minimal set of tools. Add to this the desire for public sector organizations to leverage open source and open standards to avoid vendor lock in. Imagine collapsing all of these requirements for the data life cycle into a single platform. That’s what Databricks delivers in its Lakehouse Platform.

What’s the most contemporary definition of data lakehouse? How do you differentiate data integrity versus data integration at Databricks?

The lakehouse architecture combines the best qualities of data warehouses and data lakes to provide a single solution for all major data workloads and supports use cases from streaming analytics to BI, data science, and AI. The Databricks Lakehouse ensures data integrity with ACID transactions, supports schema enforcement on data and supports diverse data types ranging from unstructured to structured data. The storage format is open and standardized, facilitating interoperability with various tools and engines including machine-learning libraries.

Could you highlight the expanded FedRAMP authorization for your data lakehouse and how it would benefit your customers?

FedRAMP framework was created by the US federal government to simplify and standardize the process of risk-based authorizations of cloud services for US government agencies and commercial organizations handling US government data. Databricks recently achieved FedRAMP authorization at the Moderate impact level for its AWS SaaS service offering. This achievement will accelerate the process for federal agencies to leverage the Databricks Lakehouse Platform for their mission-critical data, analytics, and AI use cases on AWS. For those customers who prefer to leverage the Microsoft Azure platform, Azure Databricks continues to be available on Azure as a FedRAMP High and DoD IL5 authorized cloud service.

What do you offer to the Federal agencies seeking to adopt a secure and open data lakehouse to support their cloud smart goals?

Databricks has more than 7,000 customers globally, including more than 50% of the Fortune 500, spanning many industry verticals. In the Public Sector, Databricks has over 150 customers, representing some of the largest state, local, and federal entities in the United States.

Databricks’ mission is to help data teams solve the world’s toughest problems.  Databricks is the only platform to qualify as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrants for both Cloud Database Management Systems and Data Science and Machine Learning Platforms.  Databricks is the original creator of many popular open-source data projects, including Apache Spark, Delta Lake, and MLflow, and multiple exabytes of data are processed each day across millions of machines orchestrated by Databricks.  As a result of the FedRAMP authorization, Federal agencies can now take advantage of this industry-leading cloud-native lakehouse platform in alignment with their stringent security and compliance requirements.

Please tell us more about your partnership ecosystem and how these initiatives centralize data operations across multiple workflows and architecture?

A thriving partner ecosystem is one primary advantage of a commitment to open-source technologies and open standards. Databricks has over 450 global partners that provide  data, analytics, and AI solutions and services to our joint customers. These partners enable you to leverage Databricks to unify all your data and AI workloads for more meaningful insights. Databricks partnerships include public cloud providers, consulting and SI partners, and ISV and Technology Partners. Databricks ISV partners span multiple focus areas including Data Ingestion, Data Governance, Data Pipelines, BI and Dashboards, Machine Learning, and Data Science. What this means for our customers is that for their investments in their ecosystems, we will integrate with those and drive mission value quickly without the need to make radical changes to their architecture.

Please tell us the importance of having a strong compliance and data governance for data integrity workflows/ frameworks?

Data is a critical asset of any organization. Curating data is essential to create high-value data for BI and AI/ML. Organizations must eliminate data silos and avoid creating copies of data that get out of sync. Data should be treated like a product with a clear definition, schema, and lifecycle so data consumers can fully trust the data. Data assets must be actively managed and access control, auditing, and lineage tracking are key for the correct and secure use of data.

Would you like to share a case study from Databricks’ resources to highlight how data integration improved IT investments within the public sector?

Databricks has over 150 customers in the Public Sector representing some of the largest state, local, and federal entities in the United States. Our customers—including the DOD, HHS, DOJ, DHS, State of California, and State of New York—use Databricks for a broad range of data analytics and AI use cases such as cyber threat detection, geospatial analytics, disease spread modeling, fraud detection, predictive maintenance, cardiac & disease prevention, Medicare & Medicaid modernization and more.

Databricks worked with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to support the launch of their Data Modernization Initiative (DMI). Originally conceived to help drive their pandemic response, DMI enabled CDC to ship more than 850 million vaccine orders and conduct more than 15 billion individual COVID-19 tests and vaccines. The ultimate goal was to move the United States away from siloed and brittle public health data systems to connected, resilient, adaptable, and sustainable ‘response-ready’ systems that could help the CDC solve problems before they happen and reduce the harm caused by the problems that do happen.

The Lakehouse has become a key component of the CDC-wide Enterprise Data Analytics and Visualizations (EDAV) platform which touches all of the centers within the CDC. An additional major use case is standing up the CDC Data Hub for the Center of Surveillance which is key to understanding illnesses and spread around the US to help track their origin. Currently, many more use cases are adopting Lakehouse to help the people within the US understand the health situations and help Congress and the White House define the direction of health within the US.

Your take on the future of data science and AI in the data integrity domain:

While at the AMP research lab in UC Berkeley, Databricks’ founders had a front-row seat to the data and AI innovations powering some of Silicon Valley’s most disruptive technologies. They learned how companies like Google and Facebook were finding success by running simple AI algorithms on massive amounts of data. These companies spent millions on talent and infrastructure to build their own proprietary data and AI systems that would ultimately lead to much of their success. Databricks was founded to do the same for any company. On a mission to democratize AI, our co-founders set out to build a simple platform, leveraging the open-source technologies they had created to unify data, analytics and AI in one place. In 2001 entrepreneur and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen penned a now famous article explaining that “software is eating the world”. At Databricks, we agree with Marc’s assertion and extend it with the belief that “AI will eat software”.  We are just scratching the surface and anticipate this market to grow exponentially in the coming years.

An advice to business leaders who are looking to invest in the cloud computing and AIOps in data integrity.

AIOps involves jointly managing code (DevOps), data (DataOps), and models (ModelOps) in the journey toward production.  The most common and painful challenge we have seen is a gap between data and ML, often split across poorly connected tools and teams.  Our platform simplifies AI by defining a data-centric workflow that unifies best practices from DevOps, DataOps, and ModelOps. Machine learning pipelines are ultimately data pipelines, where data flows through the hands of several personas. Data engineers ingest and prepare data; data scientists build models from the data; ML engineers generate model metrics; and business analysts examine predictions. Databricks simplifies machine learning production by enabling these data teams to collaborate and manage this abundance of data on a single platform, instead of in silos. The Databricks approach to AIOps is built on open industry-wide standards and architected natively to maximize the benefits of cloud computing infrastructure.

Thank you, Jude! That was fun and we hope to see you back soon.

Jude Boyle is the Vice President of Public Sector at Databricks. Jude’s leadership is focused on supporting Databricks’ customers across the public sector, bringing government agencies insight from data, analytics, and AI to support their life-changing missions.Prior to Databricks, Jude was the SVP of Public Sector Sales at MuleSoft. In addition,  Jude brings significant public sector expertise from previous work with technology companies like Splunk, Agilex Technologies, and Oracle. In a  prior career, Jude coached college football.  Jude grew up in the DC area and is married to Regina Boyle.

Databricks is the lakehouse company. More than 7,000 organizations worldwide — including Comcast,  Condé Nast, and over 50% of the Fortune 500 — rely on the Databricks Lakehouse Platform to unify their data, analytics and AI. Databricks is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices around the globe. Founded by the original creators of Apache Spark™, Delta Lake and MLflow, Databricks is on a mission to help data teams solve the world’s toughest problems.


Interview with Jack Carlson, Founder of Rowing Blazers: History, Tradition, and Innovation



Interview with Jack Carlson, Founder of Rowing Blazers

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Jack Carlson is the founder and creative director of Rowing Blazers, a fashion brand that combines classic American style with a contemporary edge. Jack Carlson, a former national team rower, and scholar of history draw inspiration from vintage sportswear and traditional Ivy League fashion. His passion for design and fashion, combined with his unique background. Jack Carlson has resulted in the creation of a brand that stands out in the industry.

Can you tell us about your background and how you became interested in fashion?

I’ve always had a passion for fashion and design, even while pursuing my other interests. I grew up in Connecticut and started rowing at a young age, eventually competing at the national level. While studying history at Harvard, I became interested in the traditional clothing worn by rowers and began to collect vintage rowing blazers. This sparked my interest in fashion and led me to start designing my own clothing. After completing a Ph.D. in archaeology, I decided to pursue fashion full-time and founded Rowing Blazers in 2017.

What inspired you to start Rowing Blazers?

I wanted to create a brand that celebrated the rich history and tradition of American fashion, particularly the preppy style of the Ivy League. At the same time, I wanted to bring a contemporary edge to classic designs and challenge the boundaries of traditional fashion. I was inspired by the vintage rowing blazers that I collected and wanted to create my own versions that were both authentic and modern.

Can you walk us through the design process of creating a new collection?

The design process always starts with research and inspiration. I spend a lot of time looking at vintage clothing, archival photographs, and historical documents to get a sense of the styles and aesthetics of a particular time period or culture. From there, I sketch out ideas and work with my team to refine the designs and select fabrics. We always strive to balance classic elements with modern twists and unexpected details. It’s a collaborative process that involves a lot of trial and error, but we always end up with something that we’re proud of.

How do you stay true to your brand’s identity while also keeping up with current fashion trends?

For us, it’s not about following trends, but rather creating timeless pieces that will never go out of style. Although we draw inspiration from the past, we don’t limit ourselves to it. We’re always looking for ways to innovate and push boundaries while staying true to our brand’s core identity. We’re not interested in fast fashion or disposable clothing – our pieces are meant to last and be treasured for years to come.

Can you tell us about a particular challenge you faced while growing Rowing Blazers and how you overcame it?

One of the biggest challenges we’ve faced is scaling the business while maintaining the quality and craftsmanship that we’re known for. We’ve had to find the right partners and suppliers who share our values and are able to produce our garments to our high standards. We’ve also had to be very strategic about our growth, taking things one step at a time and not rushing into anything too quickly. It’s been a learning process, but we’ve been able to grow the business in a sustainable way that we’re proud of.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own fashion brand?

My advice would be to stay true to your vision and never compromise on quality. It’s also important to be strategic about your growth and not try to do everything at once. Start small and focus on doing one thing really well before expanding. And always be willing to learn and adapt – the fashion industry is constantly changing, so it’s important to be flexible and open to new ideas.

What’s next for Rowing Blazers?

We’re always working on new designs and collaborations, but we’re also focused on expanding our brand beyond just clothing. We want to create a lifestyle brand that encompasses all aspects of American style, from furniture to home decor to travel accessories. We’re excited to continue growing and evolving while staying true to our brand’s identity and values.

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Jack Carlson’s passion for fashion and history has resulted in the creation of a unique and innovative brand that stands out in the industry. His dedication to quality and craftsmanship, as well as his commitment to sustainability, sets Rowing Blazers apart from other fashion brands. To stay up to date with Jack Carlson and Rowing Blazers, you can follow him on LinkedIn.

Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Gracie Cedres

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Interview with Gracie Cedres: Insights on Entrepreneurship and Work-Life Balance



Interview with Gracie Cedres, Founder of G.R.A.C.E.

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Gracie Cedres is the founder and CEO of G.R.A.C.E., a company that provides virtual assistance and project management services to entrepreneurs and small business owners. With a degree in communications, Gracie has always been interested in helping others succeed in their businesses. Her passion for helping entrepreneurs led her to create G.R.A.C.E., which has been helping entrepreneurs and small business owners increase their productivity and profitability. In this interview, Gracie will share more about her journey as an entrepreneur and the success of G.R.A.C.E.

Can you tell us about yourself and your journey as an entrepreneur?

Sure, my name is Gracie Cedres, and I am the founder and CEO of G.R.A.C.E. I have always been interested in helping others, especially entrepreneurs and small business owners, succeed in their businesses. After completing my degree in communications, I worked as a virtual assistant for various entrepreneurs and realized that there was a need for high-quality virtual assistance and project management services. That’s how the idea for G.R.A.C.E. was born, and since then, I have been working hard to help entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve their goals.

How did you come up with the idea for G.R.A.C.E.?

After working as a virtual assistant for several entrepreneurs, the idea for G.R.A.C.E. came to me. I realized that many entrepreneurs were struggling to manage their time effectively and needed high-quality virtual assistance and project management services to help them become more productive and profitable. I saw an opportunity to help entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing them with top-notch virtual assistance and project management services, and that’s how G.R.A.C.E. was born.

What are some of the challenges you faced in starting and growing your business?

One of the biggest challenges I faced in starting and growing my business was finding the right team members. It’s important to have a team that shares your vision and is passionate about what they do. I also faced challenges in marketing my services and reaching out to potential clients. However, I overcame these challenges by networking, building relationships, and creating high-quality content that showcased the value of my services.

What is your vision for G.R.A.C.E. in the next five years?

My vision for G.R.A.C.E. in the next five years is to become the go-to virtual assistance and project management service provider for entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide. I want to expand my team and services to be able to help more entrepreneurs and small business owners increase their productivity and profitability. I also want to continue building strong relationships with my clients and providing them with top-notch services.

Can you share with us some of your favorite success stories from working with your clients?

One of my favorite success stories is working with a small business owner who was struggling to manage their time effectively. By providing them with virtual assistance and project management services, we were able to help them increase their productivity, improve their marketing strategies, and ultimately grow their business. It’s always fulfilling to see my clients succeed and achieve their goals.

What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?

My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to educate themselves and never stop learning. It’s important to constantly learn new skills, stay up to date with industry trends, and seek out new opportunities. It’s also essential to have a strong work ethic, be persistent, and not be afraid to take risks. Don’t let failure discourage you, instead use it as a learning opportunity and keep pushing forward.

How do you maintain a work-life balance as a busy entrepreneur?

Maintaining a work-life balance can be challenging as a busy entrepreneur, but it’s essential for your well-being and the success of your business. One of the things I do is prioritize my tasks and delegate when necessary. I also set aside time for self-care activities like exercise, reading, and spending time with family and friends. It’s also important to know when to disconnect from work and focus on other aspects of your life.

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Gracie Cedres is an inspiration to entrepreneurs and small business owners worldwide. Her dedication to helping others and passion for entrepreneurship has led to the success of G.R.A.C.E. With a vision for continued growth and success, Gracie is sure to make an impact in the virtual assistance and project management industry. To learn more about Gracie Cedres and G.R.A.C.E., visit her website and follow her on LinkedIn.

Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Evan Cagner

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Interview with Evan Cagner: Insights into the World of Tech and Entrepreneurship



Interview with Evan Cagner, CEO of TechBlue

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Evan Cagner is the founder and CEO of TechBlue, a company that provides managed IT services to businesses of all sizes. Evan has over 15 years of experience in the tech industry and has helped numerous businesses grow by leveraging technology. He is a thought leader and innovator in the IT industry, with a keen eye for emerging trends and technologies. In this interview, Evan Cagner shares his insights into the world of tech and entrepreneurship.

What inspired you to start TechBlue?

I’ve always been passionate about technology and how it can be used to solve business problems. I started my career working for a large IT consulting firm, and I quickly realized that there was a big gap in the market for managed IT services. Small and medium-sized businesses often struggle to keep up with the latest technology trends, and they don’t have the resources to hire full-time IT staff. That’s why I decided to start TechBlue – to help these businesses leverage technology to grow and succeed.

What sets TechBlue apart from other managed IT services companies?

There are a few things that set TechBlue apart from other managed IT services companies. First and foremost, we are incredibly focused on customer service. We believe that building strong relationships with our clients is the key to our success. Second, we have a team of highly skilled technicians who are constantly learning and staying up to date with the latest technologies. Finally, we are very flexible and can customize our services to meet the unique needs of each of our clients.

How do you stay on top of emerging trends in the tech industry?

I’m always reading and staying up to date with the latest news and trends in the tech industry. I attend conferences and meet with other thought leaders in the industry to discuss new technologies and how they can be used to solve business problems. I also encourage my team to stay up to date and share their knowledge with each other.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the IT industry?

The pandemic has had a significant impact on the IT industry. With so many people working remotely, there has been a huge demand for cloud-based services and virtual private networks (VPNs). There has also been an increased focus on cybersecurity, as remote workers are more vulnerable to cyberattacks. Overall, the pandemic has accelerated the shift toward digital transformation and has highlighted the importance of having a reliable and secure IT infrastructure.

What advice do you have for entrepreneurs looking to start their own businesses?

My advice would be to focus on building a strong team and never stop learning. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and who have different skill sets. Be willing to take risks and make mistakes, but also be willing to learn from those mistakes. And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice from other entrepreneurs who have been through it before.

What is your vision for the future of TechBlue?

My vision for TechBlue is to continue to grow and expand our services to meet the changing needs of our clients. I want to stay at the forefront of emerging technologies and continue to be a thought leader in the industry. Ultimately, I want to help as many businesses as possible leverage technology to achieve their goals.

What do you like to do in your free time?

In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my family and staying active. I’m an avid runner and I also enjoy playing basketball and golf. I’m also a big fan of music and enjoy going to concerts and discovering new artists.

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Evan Cagner is a true leader and innovator in the IT industry. His passion for technology and customer service has helped TechBlue become one of the most respected managed IT services companies in the business. With his keen eye for emerging trends and technologies, Evan is sure to continue to make an impact in the industry for years to come. To learn more about Evan Cagner and TechBlue, you can visit their website or follow them on LinkedIn.

Liked this interview? Check out this interview with Makayla Gordon

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