Introduction

What Am I Doing Here?

You've probably heard the term data science floating around recently in the media, in business books and journals, and at conferences. Data science can call presidential races, reveal more about your buying habits than you'd dare tell your mother, and predict just how many years those chili cheese burritos have been shaving off your life.

Data scientists, the elite practitioners of this art, were even labeled “sexy” in a recent Harvard Business Review article, although there's apparently such a shortage that it's kind of like calling a unicorn sexy. There's just no way to verify the claim, but if you could see me as I type this book with my neck beard and the tired eyes of a parent of three boys, you'd know that sexy is a bit of an overstatement.

I digress. The point is that there's a buzz about data science these days, and that buzz is creating pressure on a lot of businesses. If you're not doing data science, you're gonna lose out to the competition. Someone's going to come along with some new product called the “BlahBlahBlahBigDataGraphThing” and destroy your business.

Take a deep breath.

The truth is most people are going about data science all wrong. They're starting with buying the tools and hiring the consultants. They're spending all their money before they even know what they want, because a purchase order seems to pass for actual progress in many companies these days.

By reading this book, you're gonna have a leg up on those jokers, ...

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