Dear Analyst

10 Episodes

By: KeyCuts

This is a podcast made by a lifelong analyst. I cover topics including Excel, data analysis, and tools for sharing data. In addition to data analysis topics, I may also cover topics related to software engineering and building applications. I also do a roundup of my favorite podcasts and episodes.

Dear Analyst #119: Developing the holy “grail” model at Lyft, user journeys, and hidden analytics with Sean Taylor
Last Monday at 6:32 PM

Future Dear Analyst episodes will get more sporadic since, well, life gets in the way. Unfortunately curiosity (in most cases) doesn’t pay the bills. Nevertheless, when I come across an idea or person that I think is worth sharing/learning more about, I’ll try my best to post. In this episode, I interview the Chief Scientist of a data startup who did his PhD at Stern NYU and was on track go becoming a professor. Then he got an internship at Facebook and everything changed. The speed of learning at a tech company outpaced what the academic was...

Dear Analyst #118: Uncovering trends and insights behind Facebook News Feed, Reels, and Recommendations using data science with Akos Lada

No, this isn’t an episode about how Facebook’s algorithm and feed works. The data science function is popping up in companies small and large given the amount of data swimming around. No other company understand the power and influence that data science can have on the customer experience than Facebook (Meta, to be exact). Akos Lada is Facebook’s Director of Data Science for Feed Ranking and Recommendations. Akos has always been interested in the intersection of social science and data, so this role at Facebook seems fitting. In this episode, Akos discusses what the analytics team does a...

Dear Analyst #117: New 2023 Google Sheets functions for data manipulation that already exist in Excel

The Google Workspace team announced a slew of Google Sheets functions a few months ago (February 2023). These functions look familiar and that’s because Microsoft Excel released most of them two years ago. I never had a chance to play around with the new functions in Excel since I don’t have the latest Office 365 version. Now that they are live in Google Sheets, I played around with them and find them pretty interesting for data manipulation purposes. I think what’s interesting about these new functions is that they help with both super basic data organization use cases but al...

Dear Analyst Episode #116: Will Microsoft’s AI Copilot for Excel replace the need for analysts?

This news is a bit old but I figured it’s juicy enough to talk about its future implications on Excel and artificial intelligence in general. Mid-March 2023, Microsoft announced Copilot, it’s artificial intelligence bet that will supposedly change the way we work. The video discusses how Copilot integrates with Office 365 and all your Microsoft apps including Excel. Around minute 18:00, they show a demo of how Copilot helps you find trends, make adjustments to your models, and more. It’s quite impressive. You can watch just that segment from the presentation below. I watched the video a few times and wo...

Dear Analyst #115: How to count the number of colored cells or formatted cells in Google Sheets

Counting the number of colored cells or formatted cells in Google Sheets or Excel seems like it should be a basic operation. Unfortunately after much Googling, it doesn’t seem as easy as it looks. I came across this Mr. Excel forum thread where someone asks how to count the number of rows where there is a colored cell. The answers range from VBA to writing formulas that indicate whether a cell should be colored to the usual online snark. I think the basic issue is this. A majority of Excel or or Google Sheets users will have a li...

Dear Analyst Episode #114: How a small real estate investment company uses modern data and cloud tools to make data-driven decisions

When you think of data pipelines, data warehouses, and ETL tools, you may be thinking about some large enterprise that is collecting and processing data from IoT devices or from a mobile app. These companies are using tools from AWS and Google Cloud to build these complex workflows to get data to where it needs to be. In this episode, you’ll hear about a relatively small company who is using modern cloud and data tools rivaling these aforementioned enterprises. Elite Development Group is a real estate investment and construction company based in York, Pennsylvania and is less than 50 em...

Dear Analyst #113: Top 5 data analytics predictions for 2023

It’s that time of the year again where data professionals look at their data predictions from 2022 and decide what they were wrong about and think: “this must be the year for XYZ.” Aside from the fact that these type of predictions are 100% subjective and nearly impossible to verify, it’s always fun to play armchair quarterback and make a forecast about the future (see why forecasts are flawed in this episode about Superforecasting). The reason why predicting what will happen in 2023 is that my predictions are based on what other people are talking about, not necessarily what they are doin...

Dear Analyst #112: Greatest lessons learned from building solutions and processes for humans (re-broadcast of Secret Ops)

This is a re-broadcast of an episode of the Secret Ops podcast hosted by my friend Ariana Cofone. Ariana is an operations consultant and her podcast is all about business operations. While I’ve never officially held a “business operations” role, I’ve worked in roles that are related to the operations world. In this conversation, we dive into what operations is, how I approach building workflows and solutions for people, and of course, why knowing Excel and SQL are crucial to getting into the world of business operations.

Check out the Secret Ops podcast here if you’re i...

Dear Analyst #111: Master data management at AutoTrader and working with data in a merger with Korhonda Randolph

One topic that hasn’t been covered on Dear Analyst is master data management (MDM). I’m surprised it took this long before someone brought it up. I’ve never heard of the term before and it looks like it’s a core strategy for many large corporations for manager their data. Korhonda Randolph studied systems engineering at the University of Pennsylvania and started her career in engineering. She started specializing in master data management at companies like AutoTrader, Cox Automotive, and SunTrust/BB&T (merger). In this episode, Korhonda discusses what master data management is, data cleansing the CRM at A...

Dear Analyst # 110: A tutorial on how to fill values down with Excel VBA and Google Apps Script (Vancouver Power BI/Modern Excel re-broadcast)

Have you ever faced a spreadsheet where one column contains values for each “section” of the spreadsheet but you want to fill those values down through the rest of the column? This is a common problem when you get a data dump from a database or perhaps a copy/paste from a PivotTable. You have values interspersed in the column and want to fill the empty cells below those values with the value above it, but not all the way down. See this screenshot below to see what I mean:

This episode is a re-broadcast of a pres...