Who am I

First things first: I am the proud father of an adorable little daughter named Fiona who is objectively, without any doubt, unchallenged the cutest baby in the world (sorry everyone else 🤷😉).

Now, that being said, as you may have guessed from reading my blog, my primary interests lie in what could roughly be subsumed as data science, i.e. subjects such as statistics, machine learning, data extraction, data visualization and programming in general (mostly R but recently more and more Python).

More generally, though, I’d describe myself as genuinely curious about the world and the human species. I like to understand how things function. For me, understanding or solving a particular task is a simple cause for satisfaction. Whether it is economics, politics, financial markets, cryptocurrencies and its underlying blockchain technology, the human mind, relationships between people (and all the joy and suffering they cause), psychology, sociology, and philosophy, there are just so many interesting things out there to be thought about.


If I had to describe my thinking in one word, I’d probably pick: “Bayesian”. I consider everything I know or belief to be true as inherently conditional on the information I have at my disposal right at that moment, i.e., what I have experienced and learned throughout my life. As I process new information I combine that information with my prior knowledge, compare the outcome to my reference system and update my prior belief if inconsistent with the reference system. I will explain what I mean by that system in the next section below.

In my opinion, both self-reflectiveness and openness are necessary conditions for this process to take place. For one, to realize that some prior belief is inconsistent with new evidence requires self-reflectiveness to cognitively understand what these beliefs and biases actually are and how they influence ones thinking. Openness on the other hand is required to allow a change of beliefs to happen.

Naturally, this is rather idealistic in a sense that no matter how self-reflected or open a person may be there are probably always some deeply rooted beliefs and biases that are resilient or at least very difficult to change. No one is completely bias-free, I, for one, am not! However, there is a huge difference between being indifferent to ones biases and actively trying to understand and address them. I dare to claim I follow the latter.

To talk about my thinking (and actions that follow) in a more operational sense, I’d say I generally follow a pracmatic first principles thinking approach. When facing a task I typically break the problem into pieces and study them in order to build my understanding from bottom up. I assume engineers can relate here. However, depending on the complexity of the problem, dismantling may just be beyond my (current) limitations given that time is unfortunately a scarce resource. Or to put it differently: I am not Elon Musk (not sure if I would even want to be 😬). Even if I had realized that the way rockets were build was largely inefficient before SpaceX entered the market, even then, I don’t think there would have been enough time for me to efficiently build a rocket myself.

Of course, limits can be pushed. I do not belief limits are static. Yet, I belief I have a fairly good sense of how much time and effort it takes to push a certain limit further. Some simply take longer than others. I therefore tend to focus on those limits that I belief are most easily (and therefore most effectively) pushed further out!

Given that an unconditional first principles approach is simply not feasible for me I’ve learned to embrace the advantages of pragmatism when resources are scarce: understanding just enough about a problem to deliver a satisfactory outcome is in many instances the most effective approach. Hence, I think it’s appropriate to claim that I am pragmatic and solution-oriented whenever a problem or project involves constrains – which is, of course, always the case in a business context.

My reference system

Ok, so what is my reference system? Without going into the depth of philosophy (just a little bit, though), it is more or less the empirical world. I belief that empirical observations are the closest indicator of the truth of some claim. Seeing, to take a very stark example, a hospital full of Covid-19 patients is fairly strong evidence that SARS-COV-2 is indeed as dangerous as the measures taken against its spread would indicate (ignoring all other serious medical or epidemiological evidence pointing in the same direction for the sake of argument). Given that several people across different countries seem to deny that connection, indicates that they clearly do not refer to the empirical world as their reference system. This highlights how crucial a common reference system is for any discussion to be meaningful.

Having said that, I do not believe empirical evidence is all there is to this world, since I also believe that, quoting M. Rees here:

“Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."

I am therefore generally reluctant to talk about something as being universally true without explicitly stating what reference system I use to evaluate any statement against. Likewise, I belief that whenever the seal of truth is claimed for some argument, it should be clear what reference system is to be used to verify that claim.

My goals

Clearly, I have many goals in life. Some are more immediate, others are more long-term. However, the underlying motivation could be summarized in an optimization problem as follows:

I strive to maximize happiness or joy in the moment subject to the constraint that I can do the same in the future.

Happiness in this case is not meant in a hedonistic sense. I don’t consider happiness to be a state of saturation where one would not want to move, learn or continue to grow (yes Einstein, I disagree!). In fact, I don’t even consider happiness as something to be reached but rather as an ingredient inherent in virtually anything I do or sense. Consequently, there are possibly infinitely many life trajectories that can be considered optimal - at least as long as one doesn’t limit the space of possible sources of happiness for no good reason. Isn’t that highly encouraging? I do believe so! Indeed, it is the main reason why I would describe myself as genuinely optimistic!

Apart from all the people I met in my life – my family, my wonderful wife and my daughter – one of my biggest sources of happiness has been the act of learning and growing. It’s surprisingly difficult to explain why, but I guess it may not even be necessary to fully understand it. I’d even say that, for me, learning, updating, growing is the “meaning of life” even without some ultimate goal but simply as an act in itself.

Me from my perspective

Although every individuals' personality lies in some high dimensional character space, the following is an attempt to describe myself using a subset of these (the principal components, so to speak). If you know me personally or ever get to know me, feel free to come back here and compare your view with mine ☺.

Here we go, this is me from my perspective:

  • open-minded
  • self-aware / self-reflected
  • curious about the world
  • self-confident
  • passionate about what I do
  • optimistic realist
  • emphatic
  • honest
  • motivated
  • solution-oriented
  • resourceful
  • persistent
  • balanced

If you made it all the way down here: Thanks for reading!