Prairie Portrait: Corey Spitzer of SKAR AdvertisingApril 25, 2012 by Michael Stacy
Name: Corey Spitzer
Bio: I’m a software developer by trade, but I like all kinds of science and solving interesting problems with creative solutions.
Title: Founder, Riff Labs, LLC
Residence: Omaha, Neb.
Intro music: “Invictus,” composed by Immediate Music
Silicon Prairie News: You were part of the team that helped bring Startup Weekend to Omaha, and you remain an organizer of the event. Why do you view Startup Weekend as important to Omaha?
Corey Spitzer: Startup Weekend is important in general because by fast-tracking the refinement of the idea, the execution with potential partners and the validation of the business model, the event is in many ways the ultimate “fail fast” test for an idea and for yourself. And Omaha needs this because our entrepreneurial community is still relatively new for many of us, and we need to stay focused more on doing rather than talking.
SPN: You’re a frequent speaker at BarCamp and similar events. What’s the condensed version of one BarCamp talk you’ve always wanted to give but have yet to deliver?
CS: Science is amazing. Individual birds following three simple rules form a flock that acts as one, a Hopfield neural network is a mathematical model which you can “jiggle” and it will always “settle back down” to any pattern you want it to, we’ve mapped the entire nervous system of a species of tiny worm so in theory we could simulate it in a computer as artificial life … and other stuff like that.
SPN: As someone who’s very passionate about artificial intelligence, what are your expectations in terms of significant trends and major developments in the field over the next five years?
CS: Tough question. Commercial data mining is just going to get better so I think we’ll see more intelligent ad targeting, search results, recommendations and analytics. And we’ve only scratched the surface of what computer vision technology can do for us with the XBox Kinect and Google’s driverless car. The Kinect reminds me of touch screens before Apple put one in a phone.
SPN: You have a room in your home dedicated to the 1940s and a blog dedicated to that room. Where did the idea for that come from, and what have been some of your best finds as you’ve accessorized the room?
CS: I’ve been collecting and listening to mid-20th century radio shows for over 10 years, and I’ve always had the notion that when I bought a house, I’d have a special room for escaping. So with my supportive wife I started the forties room. Good finds are hard to come by, so it will be many years before it will be done, but my favorite item so far is a 1939 Zenith radio.
Credits: Photo by Jordan Green Productions.
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