Analytics · Data

Would You Want to Play Hands-On with Data/Analytics/Data Science?

Jenny Kwan Co-Founder and Technical Lead of Woodlamp Technologies

Last updated on May 22nd, 2018

[EDIT: This is not a standalone for-profit product! This is a not-for-profit education platform to get people familiar with my UI and get these people to advocate for my for-profit platform in whichever companies they're hired into.]

Let's say that there existed a solid platform/tool to work with data, to transform it into meaningful information that can drive action (or inaction, as the case may be). Let's say:

  • This platform were offered for free for educational purposes.
  • Publicly available datasets would already be loaded and kept up-to-date, things like:
    • US Census Bureau
    • US Bureau of Labor Statistics
    • US Federal Reserve
    • International Monetary Fund
  • It would be as easy to use as spreadsheet formulas, though much more powerful.
  • It would be a platform that would enable cross-user and cross-organization collaboration:
    • You get to peek at how other people do things.
    • You even get to pull their logic into your logic in such a way that, when they enhance their logic, yours is enhanced by their work.
  • There would be training material and documentation to guide you through learning all of this.

Would this be of value to you? What would attract you to it? Simply enhancing your own analytics / data science skills? Doing actual research using publicly available data?

Do you have further ideas on what to include? What part of this would not be valuable to you?

Ray Li Android Developer w/ 7 published apps on Google Play. Retention + Engagement + Monetization is Life!

May 20th, 2018

Different industries have different data needs. Generally, the more specific the data, the more expensive it is.

I don't know how "playing" with data could turn into revenue. Most people find data pretty stuffy and shy away from it as much as possible. For me, the only time I touch data is if I need it!

I personally wouldn't want to play with data in the way outlined in your question Alyssa. However, I do play with data in training AI and ML.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that data is only useful if it has a use.

Whitney Founder of Meetaway -- Online events that fit into startup life.

June 26th, 2018

Hi Alyssa - Ran across this company ... thought of your question:

Jenny Kwan Co-Founder and Technical Lead of Woodlamp Technologies

May 20th, 2018

Thanks, @Ray Li! I should have been more specific. We're considering launching a separate copy of our platform for free for educational purposes. One reason is to justify applying for education or academic grants to fund the development of the software. The second is as a way to introduce the platform's approach to data science and analytics to increase rate of adoption. Ideally we'd want a program like Galvanize to teach classes using our free platform to support their curriculum.

Mr. Kelly Johnson Looking for Co-founder

May 22nd, 2018

At least for your initial post, i'm probably the poster child geek that would enjoy data presented in an easier to configure way. Census does have some pretty impressive tools, but you do have to be a geek to even know they exist, let alone how to work through them.

I do find myself going to to export data so that I can then get Census data to overlay with it to put context to economic data. Same with data and the such. I do this kind of stuff for fun, yep. Super geek here.

I'd love an aggregate of all the different .gov data sets that are available across all departments and an easy way to be able to identify that data and use it. And I would also love to be able to post under each source data, the fun information I calculated from it. Likewise, see what others have created on their own from that data.

I created a related database a while back that was originally intended for profit but ended up being put on hold for various other projects. I do expect to get back too it once the current project is done. What it did is used Census (Including demographics, geographies and other population data.) Basically it let you punch in a zip code and some global settings. Then it would tell you ALL of the other zip codes in the entire country of comparable demographic type criteria. Then it did some proprietary searches of business metrics in each and every one of those comparable zip codes to tell you what type of brick and mortar business your area doesn't have, or doesn't have enough of per specific type of capita. Basically identifying what type of business your area needs/ doesn't need. Doesn't matter how big or small the zip code, it identifies potential business opportunity, or over saturation anywhere.

Way more too it than that, specifically the profit centers of such a database that I must keep secret. But you get the idea on how big data can be harnessed. But here is the key in my opinion, not just show big data for people to play with. Like Ray mentions, most people don't like that sort of stuff. And even fewer would know how to get useful data from. It's very easy wen making a spreadsheet to be so close to the trees that you can't see the forest. You understand how to utilize the format because you made it. No other person will know it as well, and most just won't get it and leave quickly. I just happen to have a real talent that can look at data and extract information from it that has value.

Big data in itself doesn't mean big market potential. Big market potential from big data means you yourself using the big data to find valuable niche information and then finding a way to market that information for profit. The magic is in what you do with the data, not making the data available if you want mass market appeal.

My 2¢

Whitney Founder of Meetaway -- Online events that fit into startup life.

May 22nd, 2018

Hi Alyssa -- I'm likely not your target demographic, but I was earlier in my career. It sounds like a great idea.

There are parallels with what my meetup groups currently do which is that we periodically partner with the city and state government on projects. Gov't serves up the data and a problem they want solved; we data scientists start hacking. It's a win for both sides -- often I see the hackers use these projects as ... exactly as you've suggested... a way to learn new skills to advance their career. The projects often come with some PR for the individuals involved and a warm fuzzy feeling that we're making the community a better place to live in.

With all that said, I'd definitely suggest you check out what's currently vying for our time (and work energy). There are a number of organizations -- kaggle, data science for good, and others that now run DS projects for prize money. Much of the prize money goes to the pros, but more and more these are side projects where students and mid-career math types pair up for a weekend to do a project and earn some extra cash.

Your site would be the first I'm aware of to pair a data science project with course material. It might work as a business (eg. you'd have a way to monetize) if you targeted the demographic that's in training / "prove I'm a data scientist" mode. That's a big slice of the data scientist pie right now since the field is a freaking treadmill and all of us feel a bit of an impostor syndrome.

I'd suggest you take these questions to the data science communities on meetup. Best guess is that's your target customer.