Datacast Episode 5: Applied Statistics in Data Science with Christopher Peters

I’m creating a new podcast about data science called Datacast! The 5th episode is an interview with Christopher Peters, the first data scientist at Treehouse and Zapier. Listen to learn about his background as an energy economist, the importance of learning statistical theory, the most challenging aspect of being a data scientist in a startup, as well as advice for those who want to get into remote working.

Guest Bio

Christopher Peters is a full-stack data scientist at Zapier. He was both Zapier and Treehouse’s first data scientist. Prior to his work as a data scientist, he was a research associate at LSU’s Center for Energy Studies where he was an energy economist. He has a real passion for working with, sharing, visualizing and analyzing data of all kinds using statistical, visual and machine learning techniques.


Show Notes

  • (2:05) Chris recalled his Econometrics and Quantitative Economics study during his undergraduate days.

  • (4:14) Chris talked about his research work focus on oil and gas at the Center for Energy Studies at Louisiana State University.

  • (5:53) Chris gave some insights into how data science and econometrics can solve problems in the energy industry.

  • (7:51) Chris talked about his decision to pursue a Masters in Applied Statistics.

  • (9:02) Chris emphasized the importance of learning statistical theory. In particular, survival analysis is very similar to conversion rate analysis.

  • (10:28) Chris discussed his Master’s thesis work in analyzing the churn rate for Treehouse.

  • (12:05) Chris maintained his own website called Statwonk.

  • (13:18) Chris mentioned the popularity of count data on consumer products.

  • (14:40) Chris gave some recommendations for those who want to learn fundamental statistics: Think StatsThink BayesStatistical Inference, and Statistical Intervals.

  • (16:20) Chris recalled how he got a job as the first data scientist at Treehouse.

  • (16:52) Chris described Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson as a “marketing genius.”

  • (18:34) Chris spotted the number one most challenging aspect for a data scientist within a business — translating technical jargon to comprehensible concepts.

  • (20:11) Chris recalled building a company dashboard from scratch for Treehouse.

  • (22:46) Chris shared the background overview of his next employer, Zapier.

  • (24:25) Chris shared his favorite things working as a data scientist as Zapier.

  • (32:07) Chris recalled building an AnamolyBot to keep track of Slack communication between Zapier team members.

  • (36:33) Chris talked about the open-source project he has been working on during his spare time.

  • (39:10) Chris gave advice to people who want to seek remote positions.

  • (42:20) Closing segments.

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