Learning data science with John Oliver


You know this guy, right? In case you don’t, he is John Oliver, an english comedian with a perspective on the modern world that can only be matched by his distinctive voice!

I saw the video below sometime ago. In it, John Oliver presents in his usual style what is wrong with how science is used and presented. I won’t discuss the large amount of pet peeves I have with what I see on mainstream media or shared on Facebook regarding science or the lack of it. It would be out of context, too long and, to be intellectually honest, incredibly boring especially after John’s tremendous piece.

Instead I want to invite to watch the video in case you haven’t and I’ll tell you why I believe his views are important in the context of data science also.  Continue reading

Do you want to work on my team?

Going slightly off rail from the typical Tuesday posting because I’m looking for a data analyst for my team. And what better place to announce it than right here in THE blog?!

Check the job description here

But On Games n’ Data wouldn’t be On Games n’ Data if I didn’t try to go a little bit deeper into this. So what can I tell you that the job description doesn’t say already? What can I say that will excite you to apply or tell that data geeky friend of yours that this is really cool?!

Well, for starters, data geeks will feel right at home! We deal and discuss about all things that interact with data. From algorithms to visualisations, from product management to server backends.

Another thing that seems to impress people is the scope and size of our day to day operations. Our super awesome data engineering team, with which you would have the pleasure of interact, collects and treats over 1 billion rows of data from dozens of data sources, related with our 22 million daily active users.

What do our data analysts do with it? From ad hoc analysis to user research, from randomised controlled trials to reporting dashboards. We use mostly R (yep, coding is a pre-requisite) and work with large scale databases in Redshift and MySQL.

If this sounds like something you’d love to do or know someone who would, here’s the link again… just in case… Check the job description here

Beautiful Visualisation: The Fallen of WWII

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According to the website…

The Fallen of World War II is an interactive documentary that examines the human cost of the second World War and the decline in battle deaths in the years since the war.

I took this screenshot because it fits the description. But neither the description or the screenshot are fair to this visualisation. This is a true masterpiece. It is a data visualisation and a documentary. A short movie and an experiment. It is art, history, data. It is about death and hope. It is dark yet vibrant.

I want to tell you more… and I want to share the video in this page… but I’ll fight the urge and won’t do either. I won’t spoil and I won’t embed because I want to invite you to visit the website, try the interactive visualisation and watch the documentary… if you are at work be sure you have 18 minutes.

Visit The Fallen of World War II


DSAA Call to Papers


Hi everyone! I know we’ve skipped a couple of weeks. It’s the first time it happened unplanned and hopefully it won’t happen often.

And a good way to get back into action is to announce the Data Science and Advanced Analytics Conference that will be held at Montréal between 17th and 19th of October 2016.

The organisation is calling for papers. If you wish to know more or submit your paper, follow the links below.


See you all next week!

Life at Miniclip


I was raised by my grandmother. A couple of weeks ago I was telling her about my work and the place where I work… which is not exactly a secret that it is Miniclip. “Do they pay your social security?” – she asked. I smilled and nodded.

For people of my grandmother’s generation (she’s over 80 by the way), the name Miniclip doesn’t say much. To her I do video games and games are kid’s things. She worries about job security and that I don’t have a “real job” like the “nice work in the computers company” I once had.

Other people, my age and below, know Miniclip. All of them play or played video games. What is difficult for them is to understand how can work be fun. How can the workplace be relaxed.

Here’s a job advertising promo video with images captured at Miniclip Portugal, where I work.

Wondering why I’m showing all this? Well Miniclip is growing fast and we have a bunch of job positions to be filled. Here’s what we have right now for Portugal:

But there’s more! If you live in UK, there are job openings for our London office and if you live in Italy, there are job openings in our Genoa office.


Creative Talks: The (Data) Science of Video Games

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Just a quick post to let everyone know I’ll be speaking at Universidade Europeia Creative Talks. The talk will be about practical applications of analytics and data science in video games… no surprises about the topic I guess…

I invite everyone, but especially you, dear reader, to attend it. Just follow this link to register: http://info.europeia.pt/creative-talks

See you there.

Why I never liked the term ‘whales’


If you follow this blog you probably know what a whale is in the context of freemium games. If you follow this blog you might have (or not) noticed that I have not used the term whale. Or freeloader… or minnow… or dolphin!

I have very strong feelings regarding this. Here’s why.  Continue reading

You might be a data redneck…


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? 😉
Continue reading

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


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