Shah Blog

A Journey of a Thousand Miles - Lao Tzu

About Me

To those that wish to know about me, my name is Mohd Shah and that’s pronounced mo.ha.mad and not mod incase you were wondering.

My journey into the world of ‘data Science’ (that’s data with a lowercase d by the way, courtesy of Cassie Kozyrkov) started with the Science part.

Initially, my background was in mechanical engineering though you wouldn’t know it now. Gone are the days where I could tell you the difference between Halloysite and Kaolinite, but my wanderlust for science and math was much harder to get rid of I suppose.

As fate would have it, I never did follow through with a career in mechanical engineering after my degree, due to some unforseen circumstances at the time.

Fast forward a couple of years later, there I was closing shop for the day at the cafe I used to work at as a manager cum tech support when it suddenly dawned on me how much information that we have that is just going unused.

For the next 6 months, I decided to collect and log as much data as I could from the POS system along with the utility bills and any monthly reccuring numbers I could get my hands on.

With a little good ol' Excel elbow-grease and with some pivot-table sorcery I was able to come up with a pretty good dashboard if I do say so myself.

The dashboard showed the best selling meal for the day broken down into breakfast, lunch and dinner along with sales and expenses for each day.

Bright eyed as I were, I showed it to my boss at the time hoping to get a positive response.

He turned to me and said that in the 30 odd years or so that he had been doing business, never did he had to resort to data analysis or anything of the sort to run his business.

The old man wasn’t wrong, he never needed the data to run his business but what he didn’t realize was that the data he has under his nose was a commodity.

No sane person would look at a bar of gold and go ‘I don’t need that gold, I’m doing fine without it!’ and why would they? Gold is a tangible commodity that no one would think twice to grab if it was lying right under their noses.

Data should be thought of much the same, thought I would argue it’s worth more than gold. It is a commodity that has built some of the largest companies in the world and to leave it on the table is to akin to leaving money on the table.

I was dishearted by the old man’s word but undetered. Some time later I met up with an old engineering friend of mine. He told me that he was working as a data scientist and that it was something I might be interested in.

Fast forward to today, and here I am in the world of data. To help me navigate my way through the thick forest of programming, statistics, and big data I have created this blog as my breadcrumb.

Here I chronicle my journey of a thousand miles with each step that I take.

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