Be the dumbest guy in the room
Let us share with you a short story about Wojtek Ptak's career...

Wojtek Ptak hacked his first IT job at the age of 14. He came to Club Conf to share several principles that have driven him far throughout his career. Although data scientists spend large chunk of time cleaning data and trying to understand the essence of a problem, the real point is to be the dumbest guy in the room. This is what Wojtek wishes to everyone right at the opening, before taking us on inspiring, but not always easy, journey of self development across IT universe.
Be open!
Wojtek puts it quite frankly "If it wasn't for my youth openness my best years of professional development would never happen", so he was. One day at work, a guy from Norway showed up and talked about Facebook and LinkedIN, so he signed up. The other day somebody texts him on linkedIN "Hey, would you like to meet up in Warsaw?", so he went. That trip resulted in projects for Disney and Wrigley. When he asked "How is this possible to pull off jobs for such clients?" he heard "come to London, we'll see what else we can do". That's how Wojtek landed in a startup with a mission to create a sales tool that would integrate different sources of data and make predictions or what if modellers. That 10 year stint had been a period of extraordinary lessons in extremely stimulating environment. As Wojtek had the opportunity to work with high executives and board members of global corporations he took that chance to ask what enables them to do what they do the way they do it. This is how he learned the lesson of three fundamental traits of top managers: ability to ask and collect opinions, mindfulness and treating everybody as equals. That lead to powerful conclusion: "If we talk - we teach others, if we want to learn - we have to listen and ask right questions". As a result of being the dumbest in the room you can find yourself surrounded by people who you admire the most.
Care for your development
There is ongoing race of technologies and frameworks. Therefore, if you decide to enter this profession, your passion and business goals are absolutely the most essential. Find a specific area that you are passionate about, that may be finding new cure, fraud detection or whatever else. Find it, that will fuel your development. You should also be aware of wisdom trap, as it was in case of Steve Jobs and Segway. When Steve got into one of first Segway's pitches he heralded it as the most innovative product since creating a computer and that it will revolutionize mankind completely. His words opened wallets of investors, but Segway had never been close to revolutionize anything. The wisdom trap - people, influencers who were surrounded by innovation didn't even bother to check if that particular idea makes sense. That's why Wojtek advices to be open to question everything and verify ideas. Furthermore, he claims that learning to make mistakes and admitting failures is another essential lesson of his lifetime. The essence of data scientist's job is solving particular problems so never stop asking 'why'. He explain it this way: "when implementing machine learning solutions in business it is extremely essential to fully understand the problem we're dealing with. Therefore, you will make mistakes on your way to finding the truth which is hidden behind people and data".
The risk - get ready
Finally Wojtek shared the story of sugar coated project for enterprise client which turned out to be bitter failure. Although it seemed feasible, Wojtek and his team miscalculated the estimation terribly and didn't discuss specific constraints which turned out to be lethal. As a result he hadn't taken any remuneration from his company for six month, got almost divorced and ended up working double jobs to provide for his family. Finally the investor showed up to save the day, however, the same investor was the reason why Wojtek quit his company. All these harsh business lessons made him think about himself again and thanks to supportive with he regained inner balance. Think of risk when planning your career. Think of one more thing. The more you give the more you get in return. That is supplementary part of being the dumbest person in the room. Wojtek ultimately believes that data science is neither technology or frameworks, these are people. Do what you can to pair up with smart and inspiring people. After all "If you want to go fast, walk alone, if you want to go far - always go in a group".
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