January 2016

Dear Friends,


2016 is here! Wishing you good health and fortune in this new year.

With each passing year, I am reminded that learning is a lifelong activity. For those who know about my new job, please forgive me for sounding like an advertising billboard, or, perhaps I should have said, an uninvited, centrally-placed, pop-up online ad that blocks what you really want to see so as to colonize your undivided attention. 

Since September, I have been busy learning my new position as director of the M.S. degree in Applied Analytics at Columbia University. After more than ten fruitful years teaching part-time at NYU, I will be lecturing at Columbia when the inaugural class of students arrives in Fall 2016. I am so very excited to play a key role in launching the Applied Analytics program which trains managers of data-driven organizations, and is unique in emphasizing equally hard and soft skills.

In 2015, I also learned some real-world lessons on how to run a business. Since going independent, I have accepted speaking engagements and run training courses for organizations. In addition, a business partner and I launched rSQUAREedge, a comprehensive training program for budding data analysts. As the field of business analytics explodes, more and more people are looking for ways to transition their careers. For these people, rSQUAREedge provides the full spectrum of foundational knowledge as a basis for their new career. Each project has taught me something new, such as commercial real estate, building brand awareness, and bootstrapping.


This update would not be complete without a couple of photos from my travels last year. Two highlights were Milan, Italy and Bavaria, Germany. The Milan Expo was wonderful primarily for the little delights one encountered by visiting the smaller exhibits at a whim. I gave a talk on data visualization at a conference not far from Munich. Since this was my first time in Germany, I rented a car and explored the Bavarian countryside. What a feast of sausages, cakes, and coffee!

At my 20th college reunion, I spoke at an Alumni-Faculty forum on the subject of “Science under attack!” Besides Princeton, other speaking events took me to Seattle, St. Louis, Princeton, Boston, Chicago, San Mateo, San Diego, and Washington, DC. Let’s catch up if I come to a town near you in 2016. If you visit New York, give me a ring.

You can find my new writing by following me on Twitter (@junkcharts), or going to my website (www.kaiserfung.com). I also co-author an occasional column in The Daily Beast called “Statbusters,” with a fellow Columbia professor. Do you know why digital advertising is just about as wasteful as traditional forms of advertising? Would taking selfies kill you? Should data scientists and engineers learn some lessons in ethics? How should your kids prepare for exams? These are examples of my publications in 2015.

Whether new places, new projects, new technologies, new tasks, new people, or new cultures, my last year was filled with learning. But so much for 2015... 2016 is here!


Warmest wishes,