I left my position as Head of Data Science at Vital Beats. The position included a lot of firsts for me: It was my first job outside University, first data science position, first Start-Up experience, and first management position. I stayed for four years and learned a tremendous amount and got to do important work with nice people. I hope Vital Beat succeeded, they deserve it.
My main reason for leaving was my move to Køge. I absolutely didn’t want to do the 80 minutes commute to Copenhagen each day. I Handed in my resignation as I went on paternity leave. There is never a good time to quit, but I felt that the timing was as good as it was going to get. I made a few great decision this year, and saying goodbye to Vital Beats was one of them.
Starting a five months paternity leave without a job wasn’t such a great idea. I ended up stressing quite a bit about finding a new job. I didn’t want to spend all my time doing interviews, but I also didn’t want to go without pay when my leave ended. It all ended well, but if I’m lucky enough to go on another paternity leave I’d like to have everything sorted out before going on leave – it is just one less thing to worry about.
I’m now a Senior Data Scientist with Musopia, a company that build apps that help people learn to play guitar and ukulele. I’m part of a small three person analytics team. It is the first time I work for a business-to-consumer company so there are lots of new concepts and lingo for me to learn. Business analytics seems have abbreviations for everything: in-app messages (IAM), average revenue per new user (ARPNU), monthly recurring revenue (MRR), stuff like that. It is fine once you get used to it but senteces like “Let’s run an experiment to see how IAM effects ARPNU and MRR” were confusing at first. Luckily I’m not afraid to ask stupid questions.
In the first six months I’ve set up a platform for AB-test reporting, build a few dashboards in Tableau, and worked on building up our backend with dbt. The next six months I think I’ll get to work on porting Tableau dashboards to Cube.js/React and doing some analysis of driving factors for churn etc. I’m very excited about learning React as it seems like a genuinely useful tool to add to my toolbox.
I’m exclusively building tools that are used within the company. This is great because it means that I have very easy access to my end users. This is very different from MedTech where patient and doctors can be hard to get access to.
The position is fully remote and I absolutely love it. It gives me some much needed flexibility. I can use the lille breaks during the workday to get some housework done and if my daughter gets called home I can pick her up within 10 minutes and shift my work to the evening if necessary. It hasn’t turned me into a complete slob yet.
We moved to Køge in March and in my 2020 review I wrote:
I’m hoping to go for more walks along the beach and see my older brother more often. If remote work is here to stay I think we will be even happier with the choice.
So did it live up to my hopes? Absolutely, we are thrilled with out choice. I don’t go to the beach all that often, but I do see my brother more. It didn’t take us long to settle down and having a garden is awesome.
Goals for 2021
Last year I set five goals for 2021. How did it go? Not all that great.
“I want to establish a forest garden.”
I did. I haven’t harvested anything yet since the plants need a year to settle down though. There is a forest garden community center 10 minutes walk from my house so I bought all my plants from there. They are really nice and I hope to spend more time there next year.
“I would like to establish a habit of winter bathing.”
This is another great choice of 2021. Winter bathing is absolutely amazing and since I work remotely I can do it during my lunch breaks. I’ve established a weekly sauna/lunch date with my older brother so it also means that we see more to each other.
“I would like to learn to use the “cloud” or a remote machine.”
I’m not quite sure exactly what I had in mind here, but I think it was stuff like SSH’ing into a machine and doing work there. I don’t think I actually need to “learn” this. The tools are getting so good that you won’t really know that you are doing it. I’m using BigQuery daily without thinking about it. I’ve also used GitPod for a personal project. They fire us everything on a machine somewhere and it works seamlessly.
“I want to write more blog posts”.
I didn’t and I’m not sure that I want to have ‘quantity of blog posts’ as a goal for 2022. I still enjoy blogging, but I haven’t done it so much this year. It seems that I publish 4-6 each year and that’s fine.
“I want learn more about CSS and SVG”.
I haven’t really focused on this. Perhaps next year.
I don’t really feel bad about this. I mostly write down my goals for next year because it records my ambitions and interests.
I’ve read fewer books this year than normal – 30 compared to 60 in 2020. I was a bit surprised by this, since I had a 5 months paternity leave which should give me plenty of time with audio books. But I normally read a lot of books when we travel and we haven’t traveled a lot because of covid and the toddler. The books that have stood out the most are:
- The Dead Wander in the Dessert by Rollan Seisenbayev. I really enjoyed this book. It is a melancholy and at times brutally graphic tale. It is A rare glimpse into Kazakhstan — a culture steeped in storytelling and magical realism. The Kazakh are a resilient people with a strong oral and intellectual culture and for this reason the book contains many songs and poems. It is books like this that make me want to read more books by non-English authors.
- The Wim Hof Method by Win Hof. I read this because I started winter bathing, but the book is more about breathing than cold exposure. Wim’s story is touching and the book is worth a read even if you don’t care about breath work and cold exposure.
- The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohllenben. This book is absolutely fascinating. Each chapter highlights some surprising aspect of the lives of trees and some of them are truly surprising: Trees have a sense of taste – if they get bitten by an insect they analyse the saliva and respond with an appropriate defence depending on the insect.
- Principles by Ray Dalio. The book has two parts: A biography and a list of principles. I enjoyed the biography the most and I think the principles are more convincing when you know the context. Ray believes that more people should try to actively distill their experiences into principles to live by and the book is him leading by example. The idea resonates with me, but I haven’t started formulating my own principles yet.
- Generative Design. This book manages to be both informative and gorgeous. I wish that all my technical books had taken such care with the design. It is an absolute pleasure to read. I enjoyed it so much that I’ve ordered the new version as well.
Got started with NFTs
I’ve had an interest in generative art for a few years. I even started a post shop through Society6 but never managed to get a single sale. Well, after seeing a few people I admire Tweeting about Foundation and Hic et Nunc (HEN) I decided to give it a go. Foundation required an invitation to I got started on HEN. Amazingly I started seeing sales and I discovered a very supportive community.
I’ve since then minted 79 pieces on HEN and 3 on Foundation. I’ve also discovered fxhash(), a platform that focuses on generative art, and I’m loving it. I hope to be a lot more active in this space next year.
My five goals for next year are:
- Eat at least meal that primarily uses ingredients from my forest garden. I’ve heard that the main challenge with forest gardens is to actually use them for cooking.
- Port my blog to a React based framework. This blog has always been my training ground for learning Web technologies. I’d love to get more experience with React and porting this blog seems like a reasonable step. I think I would be able to do more fun things with my blog by tapping into the tools developed by the React community.
- Get a decent printer and print some of my own art.
- Do at least 10 projects on fxhash(). I’ve done two so far and I’m really enjoying it. 10 projects might be a bit much, but I’m learning and exploring a lot so high throughput makes sense to me.
I’m excited for next year.