Interviewer: So… you are the Big Data Doctor?
Me: well, I’m a doctor but this site is not about medical advices or boring academic research stuff. I created this site back in 2012 to share my experiences building BigData products and the art of making the data talk and tell you what you need to do… hence the “prescriptive” adjective in the slogan.
Interviewer: yeah… your slogan says “prescriptive analytics for everybody”… run this one again by me… what do you mean by “prescriptive” insights?
Me: well, you call “descriptive insights” the insights you create to explain what happened in the past. When you use your insights to predict what’s going to happen in the future, you create “predictive insights”. Obviously you need both to understand your business, but it’s not enough… the ultimate goal of the analytics task is providing you with recommendations on what you should do next… that’s what we call “prescriptive analytics”
Interviewer: makes sense! now tell us a bit about you… what do you do for a living?
Me: I work for Telefónica as a Big Data Lab Manager (although this is a private blog and all views are my own ones)… basically, my job consists of designing, prototyping and implementing data insights products for internal business units and for external customers. Before that I’ve spent a few years establishing the analytics practice in the online channel, where I feel at home. In my pre-Telefónica life, I had the privilege of working for a big consultancy company pursuing the off-shoring delivery model, where I first came in touch with the Indian culture, which I’ve been loving ever since.
Interviewer: interesting! But your name Juan sounds very Spanish.
Me: 🙂 you are right! I grew up in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Granada. I also went to college there and after relocating to Munich, I try to go to Granada as often as I can… That’s also one of the reasons why I decided to do my PhD at the Granada University
Interviewer: Granada! Yes, I visited La Alhambra there… So, what is the focus of your research?
Me: First of all, it’s fair to say that I’m a quite atypical researcher, because I focus on solving real problems I face in my daily job with new approaches… So instead of improving a particular technique to obtain a marginal gain to solve a theoretical problem, I rather focus on the combination of techniques to provide a solution to an existing business problem. I’ve done a lot in the fields of Natural Language Processing, Sentiment Analytics, Social Network Analysis, Geo-located Analytics, etc… If you want to put everything under one umbrella, I’d go for “Advanced Business Analytics based on Social Media and Digital Assets”. My thesis got the title: “New methods of knowledge discovery in Geo-localized Social Media Network”, if it helps.
Interviewer: wow! so you are kind of a data scientist
Me: 🙂 tricky question… there’s so much written about the sexiest job in the 21st century, etc… I love data, I love working with data and making the most of it… I love when I can solve a business problem leveraging new data sources… And truth be said, I enjoy getting my hands dirty with code, R scripts, etc… I’m not a hard-core Big Data engineer, master of Hadoop, Spark and Co. but I’m comfortable with my technical skills that I try to expand in the breath rather than in the depth (with the notorious exception of R)
Interviewer: R? What’s so special with R?
Me: I spend many hours a day working with R because it’s just straight forward, you can do almost everything you need to clean, analyze and visualize data… You don’t have to write a lot of lines and the community is highly engaged and determined to make R the best data analysis language ever!… And it happens to be free!
Interviewer: Sounds like you are going to be evangelizing R in this blog… Anything else you to add about Bigdata-doctor.com?
Me: Just to let the readers know, that I’m posting about topics that I think are relevant and I’m expressing my particular views on them and I’d be thankful for every piece of feedback that I get.