You might be a data redneck…

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I like comedy a lot and stand up in particular. Some years ago I saw a video of The Blue Collar Comedy Tour. While I am not a fan and was only mildly entertained, there was a piece of it by Jeff Foxworthy that, I learned later, it’s sort of his stand up business card. That piece is widely known as “You might be a redneck”.

To Jeff, the definition of redneck is and I quote “The glorious absence of sophistication”. Let’s save this bit for later…

The reason why I’m writing this post is because in this day and age every knowledge worker claims to be data driven(*)… and many aren’t. This is a very touchy subject. The reason is simple. If everyone around me says they are data driven, it is very hard for me to admit that I’m not. It is even harder to say “I don’t know” when everyone seems to know.

Trust me on this, most don’t know! It is ok to not know. It is the prerequisite to start learning. The problem is that with so many people “knowing” there is a vast widespread glorious absence of data sophistication… See what I did there? 😉
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How to come up with the important business questions?

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Sometime ago I wrote a blog post on why questions are better than data. Zach Riegler from Upsight commented:

Very insightful post. Now for the most important questions – what is the best way to come up with the most important business questions to ask…?

This post is about that: the important questions. What they are and how to get them. It’s about the thought process and a sneak peak on how analysts, scientists and statisticians translate business questions to quantitative questions that can be answered with data.

Let’s go!  Continue reading

The problem of data science MOOCs

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Massive Open Online Courses are a big thing now. I’m a great fan of them to be honest. They allow for knowledge to be shared, many times knowledge that would only be spread on a specific context. A university, country, industry, company, is now made available to the world, many times freely.

And that is a good thing.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that if one of the hot areas of the moment is data and being data fundamentally a technological area that it is a good fit for MOOCs. However there is a problem. So, have you been doing or thinking about doing massive open online courses on subjects like data analysis, data science or machine learning? Grab the popcorns and I’ll rant a bit. Continue reading

The team behind one year of sharing

This is the fifth time I’m writing this post. It is important that I get it right. It’s a tad emotional and personal so… you have been warned!

Let me tell you how the idea for this post started… A couple of months ago I was surprised by Quora, a site of knowledge sharing, with the distinction of Top Writer. I love Quora and I was both happy and honoured. My family and friends heard me all… weekend… long… babbling about it.

In the following Monday I told my team and thanked them. That’s when this post started to form. You see… every time someone reads an answer on Quora or a post in this blog, every time someone learns something that I share about our experience at Miniclip it is the work of the teams under BI, mine included, that make it possible.

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This is my personal thank you to Paul, Jonathan, Nuno, Inês, João, Miguel and Henrique, the BI managers, analysts and engineers.

I’ve been purposefully sharing our data adventure for about a year now. Without them I would have close to nothing to share. Without them there would be no talks, no Quora answers, no tweets, no Games N Data blog posts.

It is an honour and a privilege to be the messenger of their awesomeness!

Beautiful Visualisations: A Day in the Life of Americans

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My first visualisation book was one by Nathan Yau. It is called “Visualise This” and is in fact a terrific book. Since then I also bought “Data Points”. I guess I’ll have to write a post about them but for now I want to point you to his website FlowingData.

More precisely to the interactive chart he set up with the day in the life of Americans. The automated visualisation goes through a day worth of time, minute by minute of the activities Americans are engaging in that minute.

As I did with the previous beautiful visualisation, I won’t take more of your time. Just visit the page through the link below, scroll down a bit and let yourself be data entertained.

A Day in the Life of Americans