I know I’ve used that title someplace before, but I just can’t help it! These days, I’m thinking a lot about data science, big data, and how small businesses can use it to benefit their business. I’m working a bunch with John Foreman, MailChimp’s Chief Data Scientist, and in fact am heading to Atlanta in less than a week for Big Data Week Atlanta, a part of the global Big Data Week initiative.
John’s personal blog Analytics Made Skeezy explains some of analytics concepts via the tale of some sordid characters, organized crime and rampant drug use. It’s business fiction at its finest! He also provides a helpful overview of what you should know about data science featuring cameos from Jesus and Michael Jackson.
A cool thing that MailChimp is doing with their data is the Email Genome project. The work they’re doing related to this project involves everything from helping marketers craft better messages to busting bad guys, two things of which I’m quite fond.
If you happen to be in Atlanta and want to learn more about using big data, check out the week-long schedule of events (including John’s talk at MailChimp headquarters). At the very least, stop by the Happy Hour Friday night, grab a monkey hat and a pint and have a chat with some of the best minds in the big data business.
We ended up going with Plan B for our first hike from City Walks: Seattle since the ferries were on a wonky schedule. Instead of Bloedel, we went to…Discovery Park! Despite it being huge and only fifteen minutes away from where we live, we had never been before so we were excited for a new adventure.
By the way, I should mention that these are not in any order other than what we end up doing that day. Flexibility is key for urban adventurers, especially younger ones (and if there are ferries involved, apparently).
My kids each packed huge backpacks filled with stuff, so they would be “ready for anything”. Of course we ended up leaving them in the car, but I was glad my daughter had brought a pen (for grocery list making on the way home) and that my son had thought to pack extra bottles of water. A girl gets thirsty going up hills!
We parked in the South Lot and walked through a lovely meadow, down South Beach Trail and eventually, to the beach. The hike, which was about three miles, was only moderately difficult in places, even with a five-year old and only on the way back up the bluff (going to the beach is all downhill.) As a bonus: on the way back, we stopped for a short rest at a little wooden picnic platform and watched an enormous pileated woodpecker looking for his lunch. We also spied a massive eagle roosting in a tree near the entrance of the park, a marine biologist counting seals, a handful of robins and two cute bunnies hopping in the field. In all, this was a great hike that included sweeping views of Puget Sound, lots of stairs for exercise and some good wildlife viewing.
Here’s our photoset, which includes some excellent shots from my son using the camera he received on for his birthday this summer. Look at what this kid can do — nice job, buddy!
The new year is almost upon us and with that comes the obligatory goal-setting. I had a head start this year by attending Camp Mighty back in November, which encourages participants to come up with a Life List of one hundred goals to accomplish over the course of their lifetime. My list is not quite at one hundred yet, but I have made progress on a couple that I thought I would share here. You can read people’s goals, follow along with their progress and even create your own over on the Go Mighty website.
As part of the Camp Mighty experience, each attendee received a gift that was hand-selected for them by Brittany Reiff from Wantist based on their Life Lists. I was very impressed with that effort (their were well over one hundred attendees!) and thought it was a lovely, thoughtful way to kick off the conference. But what really blew me away was when I met Brittany later in the weekend and thanked her, she TOTALLY remembered what she had chosen for me: a journal for exploring your city, a sunprint kit a deck of cards called City Walks Seattle: 50 Adventures on Foot. She said “With your son, right?” and my heart blew up and then melted because yes, with my quirky nine-year old son, who loves nature, got a camera for his birthday so we can do photowalks together, is into mushrooms and salamanders and birds, and is always up for an outdoor adventure of any kind. That guy.
So today, our family is taking our first hike chosen from the deck. After we have breakfast at the amazing Luna Park Cafe, we’ll be getting on the ferry and heading over to Bainbridge Island, where we’ll check out the Bloedel Reserve, a place we’ve never been to in all our off-again-on-again years in Seattle.
Oh, and I also started writing a book, which is also on my Life List. But that, as they say, is another story.