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The current crop of young engineers seem bent on only striving for 6 figures in data science. I want to offer a perspective that encourages you to set your sights a little higher. Shoot for millions. If you fall short, you still walk away with a few million, and a life well lived.

Note to self — Reframe how you think about data science - it is a journey of a thousand miles. Take the first step.

My first step on the journey to data science happened in 1998. I was a senior ETL engineer developing data warehouses for Fortune…


How to Plan Your Hero’s Journey in Data Science

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The monomyth is a concept made popular by Joseph Campbell and others. It is a story framework that describes a hero’s journey using a three part narrative — The Call to Adventure, Journey to the Unknown, and the Return with the Elixir. I highly recommend that anyone considering the Call to Adventure in Data Science, create a personal roadmap of the Hero’s Journey. This article is designed to give you insight into crafting your very own Hero’s Journey, no matter your age or stage in life. …


It will save your life, it did mine

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I have two daughters. Both made it through college, found jobs, discovered new friends, had fun, lived in big cities and smaller outposts, took risks, experienced success, all that should be a part of their life’s journey, and their search for meaning.

I am a Baby Boomer, as is my wife, their mother. We were a product of the 50s and by the time we entered the workforce, something rang true about our own generation, and likely rings true for your generation.

Nobody tells you the truth about how the real world…


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99.9% of the developers I meet on earth are still trying to find their way in the real world based on a mental model from their childhood. They code based on a bias to design, model, prototype, and test an algorithm (recipe), a script (sequence of steps), or an inference (model) that originates in their youth. These young minds eventually turn to stone, trapped in a mindset that refuses to discard two falsehoods that underpin all formal education.

Falsehood Number One — Life is fair.

Falsehood Number Two — We are all equal.

Is life fair?

No. Life is not…


Learn to Master This Biological Innovation and You Can Do Anything

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It wasn’t until much later in life when I realized that mothers have a special role in the evolution of the species. Only they give birth to the consciousness we possess. It is ours, and ours alone. Hidden from view by others, it can only be inferred through behavior. It develops early on in the pregnancy, but comes to life at childbirth. The clock is now ticking. Consciousness is a long running process that begins at conception and ends when the last remnant of light fads from view.

She had an intuition, my mother, about the magic of this power…


Perceptions Depend on Agility and the Innovative Thinking Required to Sidestep Certain Death

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I routinely time travel to a space + time GPS location referred to by neuroscientists as a point of time, and location, in the future. It is less science fiction, and more human cognition. It works like this…

Evolution selected for members of the human species that exploited an emerging biological faculty (long term memory) to replay experiences from the past, and use this prior knowledge to make decisions about what to do next in the present…yikes…”lions and tigers and bears, oh my”, (think Wizard of Oz).

Here we are, it is 2020. In this telegram from the future, there…


It’s Not What You Think

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Thomas Nagel wrote about what it must be like to be a bat. His paper is a welcome reflection for data scientists living in a pandemic world. He presents us with the hypothesis below.

“I assume we all believe that bats have experience. After all, they are mammals, and there is no more doubt that they have experience than that mice or pigeons or whales have experience.”

He continues, “Bats, although more closely related to us than those other species, nevertheless present a range of activity and a sensory apparatus so different from ours that the problem I want to…


Why Your Innovation May Never See the Light of Day

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Garuda is a bird creature from Hindu mythology. Garuda has a mix of eagle and human features. Garuda represents birth and heaven, and is the enemy of all snakes. The world is full of snakes.

The internet is also full of snakes. This means that very little you read on the web about innovation is little more than mythology. I know, that is a bold claim. In fact, what does Garuda have to do with something called the 400 Hour Rule, anyway?

The answer goes something like this…

Since we…


Human Beings, Stop Behaving Badly

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The most interesting feature of human nature over the last decade (2010–2019) has been our addiction to social media and our need to tease out the nuances of human behavior. This capability is most valued by the advertising revenue models of companies including Google, Facebook, and Twitter. They are not alone. Companies in every industry rely on social information to discover new insights about human behavior.

Fortunately, Mother Nature decided that one too many wet markets was enough. She is using simple biology to make her point. She acted.

Human beings, stop behaving badly.

The virus has made whole sectors…


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Like Minded Data Scientists Will Reach Out, Hang On, The Hand Will Appear

Data Science is a calling. You may not discover this for years, early on. The spreadsheet jockeys will come and go. The python whiz will be beaten down by repetition. The statisticians will gravitate to a more predictable and less ambiguous problem sets. The SQL script robot will seek a place in the corner, behind the “submit your request here” form.

Data Science is the cognitive skill of unconscious knowing. Symbols come naturally, you can’t explain why. Numbers have their own subtle hint of secrets hidden, just keep following the path, all will be revealed. …

Art Conroy, PhD

I write about data science and human behavior. I also develop and support SaaS based technologies at www.syntheticio.com

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