Masters of Data interview: Better together, the future of humans and machines

Brad Klingenberg
- San Francisco, CA

This week, I spoke with Ben Newton at Masters Of Data about what it’s like to work on the algorithms team here at Stitch Fix. If you haven’t already, take a look at our algorithms tour to get a better sense of some of the problems we’re working on.

Ben and I spoke about several themes that make data science at Stitch Fix particularly interesting. The first is the unusual extent to which data science is engaged with virtually every aspect of our business from the management of inventory, operations, marketing, the matching of stylists to clients and, of course, deciding what to send to clients. At Stitch Fix data is not our product, but it’s our business. Ben and I chatted about the feedback loops and incentives that makes this all possible.

The second is the combination of human and algorithmic decision making. This is especially interesting at a time when AI hype tends to emphasize dystopian expectations about the future of work. As a company and algorithms team our goal is not to replace the role of human judgement, but to enable humans to do things they’d never be able to do alone—like simultaneously considering the inventory preferences of our millions of clients. In partnering with merchants to decide what to buy, marketers in deciding how to spend, and stylists in deciding how to select items for clients, Stitch Fix is combining machine learning and human judgement to create more effective, meaningful, and fulfilling jobs for humans. We believe this is the future of work.

Tune in to the Masters of Data podcast to learn more about these themes and data science at Stitch Fix.

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