11 Questions with an Alberta innovator: Dan Haight

Cybera is running a series of blog posts that will showcase Alberta's innovative technology and research community. Over the course of 11 months, we are asking 11 people 11 questions related to technology and research in Alberta.

This month's 11 Questions interview is with Daniel Haight, Founding Partner of Darkhorse Analytics, a company that helps others solve complex problems using statistical analysis and quantitative modeling.

1. What brought you to Edmonton and what has kept you here?

I came here to attend the University of Alberta when I was 18, moved to Toronto when I graduated, and returned to Edmonton to make my Internet millions during the dot-com boom.  It didn't work out, but I ended up staying in Edmonton because of family and friends.

2. What three words would you use to describe Alberta's tech sector?

Nascent, growing, and unheralded.

3. What would you say is the greatest challenge of working in the research/tech sector in Alberta? 

Currently, our biggest challenge is finding good employees!

4. Following on that, what would you say is the greatest benefit of working in the tech sector in Alberta?

The Alberta tech sector is a relatively small community, and because of that, it has more of a friendly "small town" feel. I find the people working here to be very helpful and supportive of one another.

5. How do you stay connected and tapped into Edmonton's tech sector?

Darkhorse is involved in Startup Edmonton events, and we also attend various conferences, such as events put on by TECTERRA, and participate in user groups to make connections. We also like to raise our awareness through public contests, including the recent TEC VenturePrize Business Plan Competition, in which we were selected as a finalist. 

6. Who inspires you and why?

Scott Harrison of Charity: Water. Scott is a former nightclub promoter from New York who abandoned his trendy lifestyle to volunteer with a medical group in Africa. He created Charity: Water to bring safe and clean drinking water to those who need it most. He's making a huge difference and he hasn't made the charity all about himself.

7. What book are you currently reading and what do you think of it?

I recently finished The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt. It's a guide to achieving success through identifying areas that may be holding you back. It's a great book and I love that, instead of writing a business text to introduce his topic (Theory of Constraints), he wrote a novel.

8. What do you think of when you hear the word "cyberinfrastructure"?

I think of "the cloud."

9. In your opinion, what are the most exciting technologies out there right now? 

I'm pretty keen on some of the new technologies that mash up Google maps with rich data, such as photos, or user-generated reviews.

10. Are there any other fields you're not currently involved in that you would like to see yourself / your company working in?

We've always wanted to create a crime-fighting division!

11. What advice would you give to someone just starting out as an entrepreneur / researcher / business / etc.?

Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you are, and ask them for help often.