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The Data Visionaries Series: Chris Simpson

February 21, 2018 - 11:30am to 12:30pm SFU's Big Data Hub, Presentation Studio, ASB 10900

Chris Simpson, Chief Architect, Plenty of Fish


With over 150 million members worldwide, and 57 million new connections made every week, Plenty of Fish (POF) is one of the world’s largest dating apps. But, how do you support millions of members in a fast, reliable way to help them meet someone special? What are the day-to-day challenges of a service like POF that is still growing and evolving on a daily basis? How do you read the tea-leaves, avoid the ghosts and change the wheels on a moving bus?

During this talk, Chris Simpson wades through an ocean of data to examine what software development looks like in this environment, along with a few horror stories and some valuable lessons learned.

If your audience only remembered one thing from your Data Visionaries presentation, what would you want them to remember?

I’d like them to leave with the mental image of flying a kite in a hurricane hopefully along with a reasonable appreciation of the simile.

Why are you most passionate about big data?

I find it fascinating that with enough data, it’s possible to know whether a user is telling us the truth on their profile. But I equally enjoy the fact that with a continuous stream of real-time user message data we can accurately diagnose a database issue down to the particular server.


Chris Simpson has been building and deploying software for 20 years for a variety of industries including advertising, business travel and—for the last six years—online dating. He is currently the Chief Architect at Plenty of Fish and is responsible for not only keeping the current lights on, but also for delivering the future POF tech stack.

There will be a networking reception following the talk.

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