Habit #2 – Begin With the End in Mind


Habit #2 – Begin With the End in Mind This may be the most easily understood habit for me, and if you’ve read this blog previously, you’ll find it a recurring theme here. Whether it’s having the foresight to plan ahead and architect the data warehouse (instead of just fulfilling the basic requirements), building it…

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Data Workers


My kids attend an elementary school who follows the Leader in Me program run by Franklin-Covey. Part of the program is to emphasize the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People when praising individual performance and citizenship actions among the students in the school. With school kicking back off recently, I was inspired to start a…

Business Before Metrics


Don’t let the pursuit of metrics hurt your basic business model. It is imperative to remember that metrics in and of themselves should supplement and enhance business decisions, but not necessarily be the end all and be all of your business. On this Memorial Day, I can think of no better example than that of…

Greater Purpose


I’ve talked repeatedly about planning ahead and the importance of having a perfect data transfer for your data to tell the complete truth. Here is a real life example of this philosophy in action. Several months ago, I stumbled across this video about a new tradition at the University of Iowa’s home football games. Take a moment to…

Lessons From Childhood – The Three Little Pigs


For those not familiar with the children’s story, you can click here for an entertaining rendition, or read further. The story begins with three little pigs, each of whom chooses to build a home – one of straw, one of sticks, and one of bricks. The first little pig build his home out of straw. He…

Thinking Inside the Box


When I was 19, I attended a leadership school where one of the sessions focused on trying to sell an otherwise undesirable product. In the workshop, we were given the opportunity to try and come up with reasons to purchase a bucket of excrement. Many of the people concentrated on the practical uses for poop….

Who Does the Best Imitation of You?


I was fortunate enough to grow up in an era when the likes of Rich Little and Dana Carvey could be seen on a regular basis doing impressions of famous people on late night TV. It was always amazing to me how spot on these gentlemen could imitate the facial expressions, mannerisms, and speech patterns…

“Our Work Isn’t an Exact Science”


“Our work isn’t an exact science.” I heard this stated by someone in the data science field last week, and I can think of few things in our work that make me angrier than this – so prepare to hear a rant, as I often find myself on the wrong side of Brandolini’s Law. Simply…

What’s in a Name (Calculation)?


One of my favorite lines from Shakespeare is this iconic quote from Romeo and Juliet. Due to the feud between their families, the young couple is forced to debate the merits of the name each of them carries in regards to the rest of the attributes they each bring to the table. Before the reader…

Don’t Know Much About… NULL Values


The Best of Sam Cooke was the first CD I ever bought. One of my favorite songs on that CD, “Wonderful World“, begins with the iconic line “Don’t know much about history.” Through the rest of the song, Cooke sings about a number of the other things he “don’t know much about”. He then ends…