In our next installment of “The Power Behind PowerInbox” series, we’re excited to introduce our Data Team Lead, Patrick LaShell.
As our Data Team Lead for the past 3 years, he coordinates work across all data needs at PowerInbox. This work encompasses everything from developing optimization algorithms and enhancing the user experience to assisting engineering with event tracking and productizing performance visualizations for sales and management. Their team’s mandate is to extract the signal from the noise and promote its awareness to all of our stakeholders.
But beyond his professional experience, Patrick says – “I grew up in Missouri in the foothills of the Ozarks. I have a doctoral degree in Cognitive Psychology from the University of California Riverside. Cognitive Psychology is an interdisciplinary field combining computer science, philosophy, statistics, and psychology. The field is unique because it is very pragmatic about the realities of practical research. This training and perspective has been invaluable in dealing with the ever changing nature of startup advertising. I’m currently living in Northern California nestled amongst the Redwoods in Humboldt County. I might have a preference for remote and isolate areas.”
1. What do you love most about your role at PowerInbox?
Data connects every facet of operations at PowerInbox. Our team is a contributor and resource for every other team in the organization. Our responsibilities range from talking with external clients, pulling down data on individual event requests for our engineers, and coordinating to develop strategies with our management team. This is in addition to our more internal work in developing better algorithms and experiments for ad selection optimization. There are always demands for our time, so prioritizing and coordinating our work is vital. It’s a never-ending rollercoaster of excitement and challenge.
2. What advice do you have for someone also interested in that type of position?
Seek out an accurate representation of your strengths AND weaknesses before trying to find the data science career for you. There are as many definitions of data science as there are data scientists. Someone who could excel in a start-up culture doing experimental research and development may not succeed in an established company building management strategy proposals. These are all considered data science and are drastically different. Regardless of your version of data science, you’ll need to have an unwavering drive to extract the truth from noise and the resilience to do so in the face of repeated failure. Data Science is very rewarding, but also very difficult.
3. What are 5 tools you can’t live without?
- Notepad ++
- Google Docs
- Stack Overflow
4. What are some of your hobbies?
Writing code, board games, video games, writing code for board games and video games, baby wrangling
5. What’s your favorite quote?
“With great power comes great responsibility.”
6. What’s one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?
Buy Google stock.
7. What’s the nerdiest thing you do in your free time?
Writing software to write software to do analysis and strategy recommendation for playing video games more effectively.
8. What’s your biggest guilty pleasure?
My sense of humor. I’m pretty sure that’s self-explanatory.
9. What’s a pet peeve of yours that no one knows about?
When people end up making bad decisions because they don’t have access to good information. I consider it a personal failing that we can’t get enough good information to people. Also mint peas.
10. What’s at the top of your bucket list?
Work to ensure the long-term happiness and well-being of my wife and daughter every day. I’d rather see my wife smile than the Mona Lisa.
11. What’s your hidden talent?
My sense of humor. Some would say it’s so hidden they’ve never noticed it.