Several years ago, in a small conference room with a view of the Pacific, I was talking optimization with 17 others at the XChange conference. The conversation was lively, educational, and zingy in that way that makes a person want to collaborate and optimize! But, mid-conversation (mid-revelation, really), we were told our time was up and we needed to move to the next “huddle.” An audible groan of disappointment arose.

So, I encouraged everyone to provide their email address and promised to continue the conversation via email chain. A year went by that way, with cumbersome conversation and all the complexity inherent in email chain “reply-all” style communication. We eventually decided to have a monthly teleconference—we called it a “tele-huddle” after the XChange huddle where the group was born—and to expand the group from the original 18 members to include others who we met at industry conferences or in our day-to-day jobs. Fast forward 6 years, and we are now a rapidly growing community of more than 250 optimization practitioners and SMEs with the same focus as when we started—to create a space for good conversation and debate (and no sales!) for all of us to learn and teach.

Today, the Test & Learn Community has grown into a virtual web-huddle that ranges in topic from high level governance, talent acquisition/retention, experiment design, and ideation to advanced topics like journey analytics, personalization methods, machine learning, and statistics in optimization. Each call is a panel format with 3-6 SMEs for the topic doing most of the chatting while others dial in to listen, ask questions, and learn. The goal of these calls is for the practitioners (ranging from newbies to experts) to learn from each other. Just like that huddle all those years ago at XChange, my only role is as huddle leader / panel moderator.

Some recent conversations:

Wanna join the conversation? To officially join the group, please review and sign the Code of Conduct and we’ll get you all set up! We also have a TLC Slack channel, which I encourage all members, and especially panelists, to join, so we can chat during the calls and continue the conversation after the calls are over. It’s a great way to stay connected. Reach out if you have questions or to join the conversation today!

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