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It doesn’t matter what business you are in – data science is increasingly important. Today our clients expect data to provide answers to their questions. Questions like:

• who are their best customers are;
• what are their business risks;
• how will their media work;
• why didn’t their media work;
•what should they do next?

 There are a lot of questions – but what matters is providing answers.

Our approach is to always focus on business and customer value. The data we have may not always answer the specific questions our clients seek. But we hold ourselves accountable to find answers that have real value for their business or their customers.

I am a value hunter.  Hunting can be a hard job so here are 5 quotes that I use to keep myself motivated for the hunt.

1. "All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I like this quote for two reasons. One it reminds me of what we are all doing. It isn’t about clicks, or comments, or marketing, or math – it is about life, it is about people, it’s about customers. But it also reminds me, that when I am mining data, looking for actionable value, that I need to be patient. It is about trying different experiments – to find the right success.

2. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” – Carl Sagan

Whenever I re-read this quote it reminds me to keep an open mind. Sometimes we can’t find the obvious answer that we or our client expects in the data. But it doesn’t mean it isn’t true. We haven’t disproved the hypothesis. Maybe we don’t have the right data, or maybe we are asking the wrong question.

3. "Randomization is too important to be left to chance." J. D. Petruccelli

Data science requires planning, setting the right experiences, and controlling for variables. The first question I ask is was that done properly before I can interpret the results, and if it hasn’t – how can I weight my data samples to ensure that I am testing my hypothesis correctly.

4. "Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable." – Mark Twain

Our clients want to see good results, we want to see good results. But our job is not to produce statistically valid numbers that make everyone feel good. My mission is to produce statistically valid numbers that we can us to make everyone make more money. This quote for me, is a reminder to avoid bias.

5. “The numbers have no way of speaking for themselves. We speak for them….before we demand more of our data, we need to demand more of ourselves.” – Nate Silver

This quote to me is about accountability. As a data scientist – again it isn’t about the numbers. It is about the rigor of the scientific method. Making sure we are producing outcomes that are of real value. And at relativ* that starts with me.

An Vu Data Scientist
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