1) How did you come to study at Wolfson College?
While I was a child growing up in South Africa, I heard of Cambridge as an incredible place to study. After I finished my first degree I knew I wanted to apply. I didn’t know much about any of the colleges when I did apply, and was very excited to be joining Wolfson when I got the offer.
2) What is your current occupation and how did you get into this role?
I’m currently leading a small start-up that is building tools for companies to share the benefits of data. The idea is that companies can build better predictive models if they share their data, and our platform enables those benefits while enforcing data privacy and control. I started getting excited about privacy preserving machine learning while leading the Apple office in Cambridge, after I sold my previous company to them.
3) What do you most enjoy about your job?
The most exciting thing for me is to be building something that I think can make a positive impact on the world, and to be doing it with brilliant and fun people.
4) How have your studies at Wolfson helped you in your career?
At Wolfson, I studied for an MPhil in Computer Speech, Text and Internet Technologies. That put me on the path of Machine Learning, which is the foundation of my current work. I also made incredible friends, who helped me both professionally and personally.
5) What is your fondest memory of your time at Wolfson?
It’s hard to choose! One great memory I have was of a treasure hunt I did with friends at Wolfson, which led us all across the city doing ridiculous things. I also always loved the salsa evenings.
6) What is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Take time to decide what you want before you act
7) Which book has had the greatest impact on you?
Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed is a really excellent book. It gave me a much deeper appreciation into just how important it is to get feedback and act on it.
Find out more about Blaise's work at http://www.bitfount.com