Sapper vanderzwaan.dev

About

I am a data scientist and engineer. Currently I run my own company Datasprong where my goal is to educate companies and help build sustainable solutions.

Previously I was senior consultant at a software company in the insurance sector and a researcher in operations research/theory of computation. I got a Ph.D. on the analysis and creation of efficient algorithms.

Keep reading for some thoughts I wrote some time ago.

Smooth, not hype

I like calm, thoughtful and structured. There is a maxim "Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.". For the most part the data science industry (for lack of a better description) has not been going smooth and people hurry to catch the hype train.

My litmus test for a grand solution for X using A.I. is to see proof of a simple solution for x. Quite often it stops there as there is no proof. So: There is no magical solution or quick fix for problems using technology X or management technique Y. If it seems too easy or convenient, it probably is.

Many mistakes can be mitigated by thinking and stop doing for an hour. Staying calm and centered gives you clarity and you make better decisions. To think whether you are really solving the problem or finding a problem for your solution. For this you need focused and uninterrupted time.

Taking meetings, answering every email, being available all gives instant gratification. But think about the toll it takes on your train of thought and your focus. Is answering more emails really solving your problems? If yes, please continue but I hope that your problems can be better solved with a better strategy/idea than by just slinging more emails and presentations around.

Learn deliberately

Learning can be hard but it gives great satisfaction to acquire new skills and perspectives. By taking deliberate time to learn and reflect you really absorb material and accurately estimate your knowledge level.

Learning is not constrained to the obvious job related skills. You can learn to write better emails, you can learn to be on time or be more relaxed about time.

Derive joy from the work itself

Work, relationships and other interests can all take a lot of time. Time is the one thing you can’t really make more of. Working for an outcome can be good, but wouldn’t it be better if the work itself gives you joy? Imagine you would maintain a relationship only for an outcome further down the line. Now, why would keep up with a job only for the outcome?

There are many justifications to stick with joyless work by pointing at the goals. In my experience the joy of the goal does not last.

Obviously making a minimum living is of primary importance. You also might point out that your goal is to derive joy from work itself at a later stage. Investing time in this might be a very good idea, but be careful. Many people dream of not having to work until it actually happens.

Personally I’ve found more success by piecemeal expanding activities that I enjoy and shrinking annoying activities.

Be generous

I do not mean to give all your money away (You can do that if you want, though). I try to be generous in my thoughts of other people, invest time and see their potential. This does not mean to be naive or unrealistic. It’s easy to judge, but hard to understand.

If you’re a cynic, rest assured. You can always be judgemental later and determine that the person was actually dumb. Nothing is lost.