Data Nerds: The New Cool Kids

Data can mean very different things to different companies. Analyzing data may seem dry, but at Source3 data analysis of unique user-created products can find unexpected trends in intellectual property.

Thankfully, our very own Andres Palmiter, Director of Operations at Source3, and former Creative Strategist at Youtube, is here to shed some light on the power of data in culture.

What interests you most about data?

Data can make sense of reality – in a way, data is a byproduct of reality. For instance, if you go for a run, you probably want to know how far you went, how fast you went, how many calories you burned. Those pieces of information give you a way of understanding how the run went, but even more importantly, allow you to compare that run to past runs (and if you’re data is really good, predict how future runs will go).

At my last job at YouTube, data helped me identify “good” videos. Measurements like what percentage of the video was viewed, or the number of comments the video generated per view, etc. helped remove the decision of whether a video was good from the realm of personal preference and base it on the average opinion of viewers. At Source3, using data to identify the type of IP that resonates with makers, and try and make sense of cultural trends in real time is a fun problem to have.

How does this differ from music-tech- people, culture, duties?

For me, the most interesting part of a job is being able to take a problem and come up with a system that can solve it. I try to work with systems, because one-off solutions can be short-lived; a good system gives you a better starting point to solve the next problem. The great thing about startups is that there’s always a “next problem.”

When I worked as a creative strategist at YouTube, I treated my job as a gigantic data analysis project. It doesn’t matter if it’s a YouTube video or a spreadsheet of formatted data, there’s always a way of extracting data, seeing a pattern, and telling a story from it. That kind of analysis doesn’t get old for me – “generating insights” and “data analysis” are just more robotic ways of saying “telling a story.”

Working at Source3 might seem totally different than working at YouTube, but the underpinnings are the same: make sense of culture through data, see patterns, and tell a story.

Coolest part about your job?

I’m going to cheat and name two things. I think I work with awesome, talented, interesting people. I also think that working with a small group means that the decisions you make have out-sized importance. It’s great to see product feedback make the product better in a matter of hours or days (not weeks or months), and it’s great to see ideas become reality quickly. People think that every startup has this type of work culture, but having worked at a few startups, the pace of progress at Source3 is crazy (in a good way).

As far as the people go, I’m a firm believer that good people can make a mediocre job good, and that bad people can make a great job terrible. Thankfully, I work with great people *and* have fun problems to solve.

What is the benefit of having research in today’s startup culture?

The great thing about collecting data is that you’re building a foundation of knowledge that can potentially power multiple businesses. There are definitely companies out there that we don’t know about (yet) that’d be ecstatic to have access to the data we’re researching. Part of the fun of developing a new business is talking to potential stakeholders (in our case, marketplaces and brands) and figuring out what nuggets of information they need to make their business run more smoothly.

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