Q&A with Min Shao, Arity’s Vice President of Analytics
Arity is excited to welcome Min Shao as the new Vice President of Analytics. In this role, Min will set the strategic vision for, and build upon, a key point of differentiation for Arity – the Analytics organization.
He will oversee its mobility data assets and be responsible for developing, evolving, and defining the data capabilities that are the core of Arity’s products and platform while ensuring Arity continues bringing industry-leading analytic models to market.
As Min dives into his exciting new role, he shared a bit more about himself, his background, and his path to realizing the company’s role in the future of transportation.
Q: Tell us about your exceptional career path.
A: I have close to 30 years of experience at some of the most notable tech brands. I managed data at scale and built complex analytics solutions for a wide variety of mission-critical business problems across multiple industries. Most recently, I was the Director of Engineering, Trust and Safety at YouTube. There, I led the development of deep learning-based systems, algorithms and solutions that helped successfully detect abusive content across YouTube’s platform.
Before YouTube, I was Vice President of Engineering and Data Science at Yahoo, where I founded the Display Advertising Data Science team responsible for developing large-scale machine learning algorithms for real-time bidding. The resulting big data systems enabled real-time decisions on nearly 100 billion daily ad calls for thousands of advertisers. I also led the Advertising Trust and Safety product and engineering organization. I was responsible for developing systems and algorithms to prevent and detect abuses for all advertising products at Yahoo.
Before that, I held analytics and engineering executive leadership roles at PayPal and FICO.
Q: What drew you to your new role here? Why did you choose Arity?
A: I was ready to take on a new challenge, and I love learning new things. Arity’s unique mobility data set, telematics, marketing, and insurance opportunities are exactly the types of new challenges I am excited to take on.
Additionally, as soon as I met Gary (Arity’s fearless leader) and the team, I saw how incredibly smart and driven Arity’s people are. I immediately recognized that this is the type of group that I wanted to work with.
Q: What do you see as the future of analytics for Arity?
A: Over the last 10+ years, Arity has collected an incredible amount of driving data -over 550 billion miles. We continue to receive over 650 trips per second from over 60% of the drivers in US. As the analytics organization at Arity, our mission is to apply sophisticated analytics and machine learning techniques to extract meaningful patterns and relationships from this data. Arity can then use these results to create products, solutions, and services that will make transportation smarter, safer, and more useful for everyone.
For example, based on Arity’s driving data and its proprietary claim history data, our data scientists have created an advanced and actuarially sound scoring model called Drivesight that can accurately predict the probability and severity of future insurance claims from driving behaviors. Through the Drivesight model and its driving and location data collected from multiple sources, Arity just released a new industry-leading product called Arity IQ. This product enables auto insurance carriers to offer much better differentiated pricing to their drivers. This is the power of analytics.
The analytics team at Arity will continue to focus on creating insight and solutions from big mobility data to benefit consumers, businesses, and society. While we have learned a lot from Arity’s data assets over the last few years, I believe we have barely scratched the surface. There are so many hidden treasures in the data that are still waiting to be discovered, and there is a plethora of impactful problems we can help solve through data and analytics. I am extremely excited about the future of analytics at Arity and the future of Arity.
Q: Do you truly think that data and analytics can change the future of transportation?
A: I do! In fact, data and analytics have already changed many areas of transportation. Companies like Uber and Lyft have re-invented transportation. People now can move around more easily than ever before without having to own a car. Behind the scenes, these companies collect a huge amount of data and use very sophisticated analytics to make intelligent business decisions, including pricing, routing, fraud detection, and travel time estimation.
Cars are becoming smarter and safer every day and will one day be completely autonomous. This is made possible by increasing the quality, volume, velocity, and variety of data that modern onboard sensors can collect, and by increasing the sophistication of analytics that turns these data into automated driving decisions in real-time.
As more and more mobility data is collected through all kinds of IOT sensors, whether they are embedded in physical infrastructure or people’s mobile apps, analytics is becoming a powerful tool for planning, improving, optimizing, and managing modern transportation infrastructure. By powering intelligent transportation infrastructure and instruments, analytics will have a significant impact on people’s everyday lives, from improved road safety to reduced traffic congestion.
These are just a few examples of how data and analytics are digitizing transportation. With its massive amount of mobility data and its proven capabilities in analyzing this data, Arity is and will continue to be a driving force in changing the future of transportation.
Q: What does Arity have that other data companies don’t as it relates to analytics?
A: Our core strength is our people. I’m extremely impressed with the analytical talents that we have at Arity. They are deeply knowledgeable about the industry, deeply passionate about our business, and highly proficient in not only analytics and machine learning algorithms, but also compute systems and tools. This is one very well-rounded and extremely skilled data analytics, data science, and data engineering team!
The insurance industry has this bad rap of being kind of traditional and failing to keep up with advancements in technology. So, I was very pleasantly surprised with the analytic tools and techniques we’re using. They are every bit as sophisticated and complex as those I experienced at other companies. In many ways, Arity is cutting edge in terms of deploying machine learning models on devices. This is something that isn’t yet widely done in industries and the fact that we can deploy these sophisticated models on devices at exceptionally low costs gives us a competitive edge.
Q: Is there anything you see Arity doing well that we should do more of, or things the company can improve on?
I believe we are on the right track: we have an inspiring vision, a solid business strategy, a large and growing collection of mobility data assets and analytics capabilities. Above all, we have a highly capable and passionate team. With so many exciting opportunities we can pursue, we just need to make sure that we are always laser-focused on solving the most important problems first.
Q: Let’s end with a fun one – what’s your personal favorite car or a mode of transportation?
A: I definitely like sports cars. My favorite one is actually Miata. They are classic, a ton of fun, and I used to own one many years ago. In fact, I wanted to buy a new one not long ago, but unfortunately my wife talked me out of it!