The Monsters in Your Head | Brandon Quach, PhD


June 1st, 2020

1 hr 9 mins 56 secs

Season 2

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode

On this episode of The Artists of Data Science, we get a chance to hear from Brandon Quach, a data scientist who has a PhD in bioengineering, and has worked on threat analysis for security and business ecosystems. He's currently a principal data scientist and manager, leading the charge to modernize the customer experience by applying machine learning to customer support.

Brandon shares his perspective on how data scientists should approach problems, the importance of passing on knowledge, how to be a leader in the data workspace, and the appropriate mindset to develop when faced with difficult problems. Speaking with him was an honor, and this episode has something for everyone to take away from.


[11:50] Brandon discusses automation and whether or not we will be able to automate human judgement

[18:01] What qualities do you need to become an intrapreneur in your organization

[22:19] A unique way to approach leadership in your organization

[30:08] Why great thinkers abhor being told what to do

[37:37] How important is agile and scrum methodology in data science

[46:13] The mindset you need to accept the monsters in your life


[22:37] “, to me, comes from your ability to not be scared of the results that come out of your work or anything that you do.”

[27:25] …”If I received good advice and….good guidance, then I feel it's sort of my job, my duty, to pass it on to the next generation”

[30:08] “Great thinkers like to figure things out and come to a point that they believe in the solution.”

[35:33] “I want people to look back long after I've gone and say...that decision that was made early on that nobody had appreciated...turned out to be really critical down the road…”

[53:33] “...successful data scientists can think through any kind of problem surrounding data science, not just the core problem.”

[57:05] “You should learn how to think through code. How can you learn how to think through code?. Well, either you have a built in imagination... and/or you have gone through a lot of iterations of code and you can understand the process...”






[00:01:16] The introduction for our guest today

[00:03:52] Brandon's journey from academia to industry

[00:06:13] What were some of the the struggles and challenges he faced during your journey?

[00:09:48] Things are never as simple as they seem in data science

[00:11:41] The future of data science

[00:12:06] The automation of data science workflows

[00:13:58] The automation of human judgment and human creativity in problem solving

[00:15:45] What separates the great data scientists from the good ones

[00:17:01] Why a lot of data scientists tend to have PhDs

[00:18:01] What is an intrapreneur?

[00:21:56] A leadership philosophy for data science

[00:27:40] Great advice for data scientists new to the career

[00:29:34] Why you should never tell a data scientist what to do

[00:32:25] Autonomy and mastery lead to purpose for data scientists

[00:33:42] The mindset of future judgement

[00:37:25] Agile and scrum in data science

[00:42:34] Grit, Mindset, and Drive for data scientists

[00:43:55] Dealing with data science stakeholders and handling machine learning setbacks

[00:47:25] Imposter syndrome in data science

[00:50:31] Soft skills for data scientists

[00:51:56] Brandon talks about some interesting interview questions he asks to assess a candidates thought process

[00:54:54] How to deepen your intuition and knowledge of data science

[00:58:08] What's the one thing you want people to learn from your story?

[00:58:56] The lightning round

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