Lessons learned from an unexpected doubles tournament

Tennis is a big part of my personal life.  Playing competitive level matches since 2006, I have won a few tournaments in the “club” level.  Ironically, I have never played in a doubles tournament ( never a fan of doubles game, and often complain about not even getting sweaty), nor have I played in a game organized by the companies I worked for (tennis might be such a “minority” sport that didn’t get much attention).

I broke both rules last week.

It was the 1st “3M Open” tennis tournament – featured only doubles matches. One of my colleagues in the lab signed me up for it.  We have played together a few times in the past but never played doubles as partners.  For both of us, the original goal was very clear –

“Enjoy the sunshine and have some fun. “

In the end, we brought the “3M cup” back home by winning three straight matches in a row. When I look back today, the experience was 100% memorable. But “fun” is not the appropriate word.  Instead, it is more of the mix of drama, pressure, heartbreak, teamwork, and a sense of relief.

Let me tell you why:Read More »

Building a “digital dashboard” – Part 2 Technical side using Microsoft PowerBI


I have been using Microsoft product for over 20 years, starting with MS-DOS, and Windows 3.1. Microsoft PowerBI is my favorite software so far: It is simple, updated frequently, and has the right amount of configuration to “get things done”. The user community used to be small back in 2015, but it is catching up quickly with the forum, free resource (YouTube search “PowerBI”) and paid resource (high-quality material like SQLBI and PowerPivotPro) .

At the same time, as an analytics practitioner, I also understand it is vitally important to keep a mindset of “software independent”. What matters the most is the ability to deliver high-quality deliverable in the most efficient way. A technology tool like PowerBI can help to achieve that, however, we need to be cautious of falling in love with the software, not your own craft and the value delivered.Read More »

Python in Digital Analytics: Automating Facebook metric reports

I am very happy to come back to this topic, after started this blog by writing about Facebook metrics 6 months ago.

Just a little side note – I used to code a lot at 16 years old – never found much fun and gave up once I made it to college. Ironically, this time I had a lot of joy learning Python to connect to Facebook API for “insights” in the past few months.

The business case here is straightforward: We need to understand how we are doing in social media channel from the metrics perspective. As I addressed in my previous post, the data exporting feature of Facebook business manager is simply not good enough.

Using Python, I was able to directly call Facebook’s Graphic API, and retrieve the metrics –  impressions, likes, shares, comments, link clicks etc –  of each individual posts as far as 2 years ago, to a CSV file. Then I can port it with Microsoft PowerBI and do all kinds of analysis and visualization.

What I like this the most, is by having this Python code in place, I can bypass the traditional “Extract, Transform and Load” process of using the data warehouse.  As a proud “full stack” analyst, I want my “data to insights” journey as simple as possible. Also, I can’t afford the typical 1 day of delay (of data warehousing), as a social media post can go viral and suddenly receive 100 “likes” in 4 hours.

Now let me explain how it works in a bit more geeky way…Read More »