Tuesday 28 April 2015

Podcast Interview with Lorenzo Speranzoni, Larus Business Automation

Here's another great conversation with another great citizen of Graphistania: Lorenzo Speranzoni from Larus Business Automation in Italy. I got to know Lorenzo from his unbelievably detailed work on the "Van Gogh" graph: take a look at it over here and go "WAW!" Both of us like Cycling a lot - so we probably could have talked a lot longer - but let's start with this podcast:

Here's the transcription of our conversation:
RVB: Good morning everyone. My name is Rik. Rik Van Bruggen from Neo Technology, and here we are again recording a session of our Neo4j graph database podcast. And today I've got a guest joining me remotely from lovely Venice in Italy, and that’s Lorenzo Speranzoni from LARUS. Hi, Lorenzo. 
LS: Hi, Rik. Yes, good morning everybody. 
RVB: Hey, good morning. Good to have you on the podcast. We got to know each other a little bit through some of the graphgives, I think. Right, Lorenzo? You wrote some really interesting graphgives, and some tweets, and all that wonderful stuff. Do you mind introducing yourself a little bit to our audience? 
LS: Yes, sure. My name is Lorenzo Speranzoni. I come from Venice, and I’m the CEO and founder of a small company which is called LARUS. It’s the Latin name for seagull. We are expert in developing customer software, and we really love graphs. 
RVB: Okay. Cool. How did you get into graphs? I've seen some of your work on Van Gogh's Journey, and The Cycling, and all those wonderful things, but how did you get into graphs, Lorenzo? 
LS: Well, to be honest, it all started with frustration about NOSQL. About SQL, sorry. And we were tired to write those very big queries and enjoying after an afternoon spent optimizing those SQL queries. So we started looking at the SQL landscape. We also, apart from graphs, we also started looking at the all the technologies that then the NOSQL landscape offers. But at a certain point, we just focused on graph databases because we really love the fact that, it's a fully ACID compliant database, and it is also normalized so we love to model that way. 
RVB: Okay. One of your experiments has been with Van Gogh's journey, right? I'm going to put it in as a link in the podcast for sure. How did that go about? 
LS: Thank you. 
RVB: Tell me about that a little bit. 
LS: I really love art also because my uncle was a history art professor, so I can remember the time we spent together talking a lot about art. When I started to look at Neo4j, I decided to write the use case based on art, especially about Van Gogh, which is my favorite artist. What I wanted to do was modelling his journey across Europe in Neo4J graph database. I wanted to understand during his trip, the persons he met, and the other artists he met, and what influenced his opera. 
RVB: That's fantastic. I've been reading it. It's very long ravages graphgist. But I really love it. It's very well done. Thank you for doing that. 
LS: It's a pleasure. 
RVB: What kind of use cases are you seeing for graph databases in your environment? What kinds of things are you working on? And also maybe you could elaborate a little bit on where do you think it's going in the future? 
LS: Well, we are actually really enthusiastic because we are running lots of demos, especially for bank insurance, and telco companies which is our main field of expertise. And what we are observing is also a great enthusiasm from the other side. People that attend to these demos are really excited about starting using Neo. 
RVB: And then what do they want to do with it? What excites them most you think? 
LS: Well, lots of them is looking at the typical use cases you often talk about. I mean watching the recommendation engine, watching at the fraud detection, a typical use case for banking and insurance. 
RVB: Okay. Cool, very cool. What do you think is coming? Where is this going, you think? Both for you guys personally as for Neo and graph databases in general. What does the future hold? 
LS: Well, let me say, people feel the desire to have some more powerful technologies to solve the pressing business problem they have. Everybody is trying to solve their problems with our relation on database, but they know it's too hard and too complex. I know they need something else and when we show Neo4j during our demos people start feeling more comfortable about the opportunity to have something that can really help them. 
RVB: Yeah, I think [inaudible]. I said in the beginning, it's like really, really, really hard, but then it gets easier and easier after that right? Is that also what you are seeing? 
LS: Yes, absolutely. That's absolutely true. 
RVB: Yeah. Very cool. Thank you for coming on the podcast, Lorenzo. It was great having you here. I'll put some links on the blog post with the podcast as well, of course. It's been great having you in our community and I hope to see a lot more of your wonderful work in the next couple of months. 
LS: Thank you so much, Rik, and to everybody. 
RVB: Cheers. Bye.
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