Who am I?

I’m a behavioral data scientist, writer, and content creator. I currently work as a data scientist for Universal Studios Orlando as part of their global strategies team. In addition to my day job, I started Technites, a research consultancy organization. (Though, considering it’s just me and my wife for now “organization” may be a bit grand—but I’ve got hopes and, more importantly, plans). Prior to that, I was a Director of Commercial Data Science at Morning Consult, where I led the data science work for our Advocacy and Government region. I earned my PhD in Political Science from the University of Florida in the fall of 2020, specializing in American Political Behavior and Research Methodology. I wrote my dissertation on the ways that video games can affect political attitudes and participation. It’s freely available online if the topic strikes you as interesting.

Apart from that, I am a husband to my incredible wife, Stephanie, a father to my boisterous daughter, Rosalina, fur father to a greyhound (Dude) and bombay (Asia), and a Quaker. (There. Now you can say that you know one who isn’t on the oatmeal box).

What do I do?

Much of my work can categorized into four (often overlapping domains): Empirical, Methodological, Exploratory, and Ludic:

  • My empirical work focuses on political behavior. I am interested in the stuff that goes on in the space between our ears, how it is shaped by psychological, sociological, institutional, technological, and historical factors—and how it all comes to be expressed as attitudes and actions.

  • My methodological work is largely informed by the questions posed at my day job. (Some may call this relationship endogenous—and they’d be right). Accordingly, most of it centers around applied statistics and survey research: causal inference, survey experiments, multilevel regression modeling, scale construction and validation, time series forecasting, etc. Though most of my work is quantitative, my favorite stuff to consume and produce also incorporates qualitative and theoretical components. I’m deeply interested in the epistemological assumptions and implications undergirding our research practices as well as with the philosophical study of knowlege-generating practices more broadly.

  • My exploratory work tends to focus on sharing the science and history behind our endlessly fascinating social world. I love using my writing, YouTube channel, and data visualizations to tease apart—and find the common threads within—current events, academic research, pop-culture, and everyday observations.

  • My ludic work tends to boil down to puzzle-solving and tinkering. Luidic derives from the latin word for play (ludus), which pretty well describes what I do when I engage with it. Sometimes I stumble upon a question, idea, or challenge and I play around with models and solutions. I enjoy thinking about the interactions of actors, rules, incentives, and systems; I like to play within (and with) the constraints of everyday things to gain a deeper understanding of them—and sometimes create something new. I consider a lot of my programming, automation, and artistic outputs to fall under this category.

When I’m not working, I can be found spending time with my wonderful family, reading, cooking, playing video games, training for my next road race, or overthinking popular media while binging it. (Often doing many of these things at the same time).

Why “Data and Other Fables”?

Great question! Fables are short, fantastical little yarns that speak to something true outside their context. The best data, given the right voice, are the same.

The title was inspired by two books and a quote: Economic Fables by Ariel Rubinstein, Regression and Other Stories by Andrew Gelman, Jennifer Hill, and Aki Vehtari and “All models are wrong, but some are useful” a la George Box. (Though if I had to trace the through-line further, I would say that it also owes some debt to the quip”artists use lies to tell the truth” from the film V for Vendetta. I was, uh, a bit into that movie growing up). The thread yoking them together is the idea that quantitative and theoretical models are fundamentally false in the same way that stories or other forms of narrative art are. At best, they are simplifications of reality. They have to be, lest they wind up being like Lewis Caroll’s map that’s a 1:1 replica of the terrain. That’s not to say that they contain zero truth—quite many powerful truths have been conveyed through fiction. Just that whatever true things are conveyed are only approximate articulations of the whole—and that these approximations come bundled up in emphases, omissions, explicit interpretations, tacit associations, and leaps of logic and faith. That is, comprised of all the stuff of human voice when it sets itself upon the task of storytelling.

Plus, the title conveys the fact that I won’t just be talking data on this blog. If you couldn’t guess, I’ve got other interests outside of that. I like books, science, comics, heavy metal, philosophy, video games, poetry, art, and garbage anime. I figure that this can be just as much a home for reflections on that stuff as it is tutorials and sErIoUs CoMmEnTaRy.