When I started a machine intelligence company, the first thing a VC said to me was "You can't do it. There aren't enough good data scientists out there, and you won't be able to find any." He was wrong of course. But, I knew that as we went to raise money, VCs would ultimately ask about the team. How do I know that the Talla data science team is up to the task? The majority of VCs like to back teams that have Stanford engineering degrees, Harvard MBAs, and then a stint at Google or Facebook, but I prefer to hire weirdos, and I knew VCs wouldn't accept them on their credentials alone, because I'm not hiring the kind of person they want. So one way to get around this VC question was to do some sort of task that shows we have a good team. And that is why we decided to participate in the Allen A.I. Challenge on Kaggle. This post is about how we approached that problem.