Alter Everything Podcast

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This episode features Bingqian Gao, the first woman to pass the Alteryx Designer Expert Certification exam. In her chat with host, Maddie Johannsen at the Alteryx London office, Bingqian talks about why she’s passionate about advanced analytics, and how macros help combat her “laziness.” She also shares personal stories about her experience as a woman in the analytics industry, and how important it is as a people leader to stay in tune with the mental health of her team.


Special thanks to JW Legacy Music, (@jesperwinkelhorst) for the awesome theme music track for this episode.

 


Panelists

Bingqian Gao - @bingqian_gao, LinkedIn
Maddie Johannsen - @MaddieJLinkedIn, Twitter

 


Topics


Community picks

 

Copy of Podcast for slides.png

 


Transcript

 

Spoiler

BINGQIAN: 00:01

They're not doing that. They're just treating me as me and they're doing things for other reasons. So I think if we feel like we're being treated unfairly, we should raise it. We should talk about it. But at the same time, I think we also shouldn't overthink, "Oh, is that joke targeting me? Is that sentence that he said offensive because I'm a woman in the room? Is he not paying attention to what I have to say because I'm a woman?" Maybe he just doesn't pay attention to anyone that has anything to say. So, yeah, I think there is a balance in everything. And I think it's important to realize that.

MADDIE: 00:48

Hello. And welcome to Alter Everything, a podcast about data science and analytics culture. I'm Maddie Johannsen and I'll be your host. This episode features the one and only Bingqian Gao, a legend on the Alteryx community. She lives in London, works for TrueCue, and was the first woman to pass the ridiculously challenging Alteryx Designer Expert exam. It's also the beginning of International Women's Month. And I'm excited to kick off the celebration with this episode. So without further ado, please enjoy my chat with Bingqian.

BINGQIAN: 01:16

[crosstalk] do my intro actually?

MADDIE: 01:17

Yeah. Yeah. What did you study in school? Just kind of introduce yourself.

BINGQIAN: 01:20

Okay. I'm Bingqian. I am a senior consultant at Concentra Analytics.

MADDIE: 01:26

At the time of this recording, Concentra was still called Concentra, now it's TrueCue. So you'll still hear Bingqian refer to her workplace as Concentra but just know that now it's called TrueCue.

BINGQIAN: 01:37

I've been at Concentra for about three years and been using Alteryx and actually teaching Alteryx for about three years. So as a senior consultant, I manage and deliver projects. So the type of projects really range from sort of data management side of things to data consolidation, and create reports, building dashboards, to analysis and run maybe advanced modeling with machine learning techniques. Recently, I've done a project where we used our in-house data warehouse automation tool called DataPlus to build a data warehouse-

MADDIE: 02:22

And DataPlus is now the TrueCue platform.

BINGQIAN: 02:25

--which is sort of not the normal range of projects that I would do but that's really fun. It's very technical but at the same time, it's quite interesting. It helps me to understand the data warehouse side of things much better and databases. So, yeah, that's quite interesting.

MADDIE: 02:44

So you do everything under the sun, basically?

BINGQIAN: 02:47

Yeah. Pretty much anything related to data I would say.

MADDIE: 02:50

Awesome. Very cool. Well, that makes sense given that you were the first woman to pass the Alteryx Expert exam. That's very, very amazing.

BINGQIAN: 03:00

Thank you.

MADDIE: 03:02

So tell me about that experience? I know that you run a blog about it. It's on the Alteryx Community on the Alter.Nation blog. But tell me a little bit about that experience?

BINGQIAN: 03:13

Okay. So for those people who don't know about the Alteryx Expert exam, it's the final step of the trilogy. Is that how you call it, trilogy or certification?

MADDIE: 03:24

Yeah.

BINGQIAN: 03:27

And essentially, you can take it at the Inspire Conference. And you will be given a few sort of scenarios where you need to build workflows to solve problems. And I quite like the exam format because it's very close to what you would actually do in your day-to-day life, especially compared to the core and advanced exams. And it's just really fun because it's like solving an escape room challenge where you're trying to find all those clues and you move on to the next one when you solve the previous one and it's just really exciting.

MADDIE: 04:04

That's great. I love that analogy to the escape room. So what kind of projects have you been working on now or what are you looking forward to working on?

BINGQIAN: 04:12

So there's this research project that I'm working on at the moment and it's called ARIMA. Have you heard of the Time series forecasting model ARIMA?

MADDIE: 04:25

Yeah. That's funny that you bring that up. Because I believe that my boss, Neil Ryan, I'm pretty sure he used that when we were working together to predict some of our podcast results that we hope to see in years coming up.

BINGQIAN: 04:41

Using ARIMA?

MADDIE: 04:42

Yeah.

BINGQIAN: 04:43

Okay. That's quite interesting. Yeah. So, basically, ARIMA is this linear model for Time series modeling. It's called Auto Regressive Integrated Moving Average. So what we're doing at the moment is we're looking at combining this linear model, ARIMA, with a nonlinear model, neural net, to better forecast data that has nonlinearity in the data structure. So we are doing the modeling in Python at the moment. But we're also using Alteryx to create custom Python macros so that once it's built and optimized people can just use a macro just like any other Alteryx tools and use it in Alteryx workflows without having to code.

MADDIE: 05:33

Very cool. That's awesome. So what are you looking forward to working on in the future?

BINGQIAN: 05:39

Right. So in terms of projects that we're going to do in the future, there is actually one in the pipeline which is about deploying data science projects on Azure surfaces. We're going to collaborate with the technology partners on this. And it's quite exciting because the Microsoft Azure Stack is quite a new and upcoming area. And I'm looking forward to learning all about what we can do in deploying data science projects.

MADDIE: 06:14

So it sounds like you always want to learn the next new thing. And you just seem, in general, so passionate about analytics. So I'm wondering what kind of personality traits do you have that has led you to become so passionate?

BINGQIAN: 06:33

So, actually, really interesting that you ask that because I feel like it's more my personality defects that's led me to find my career passion in a way. The reason why I say that is because I'm actually quite lazy. I really hate spending time doing the same thing over and over again if it's not fun or if it's just repetitive but not intellectually challenging. So if you ask me to populate some Excel sheet day after day or doing just the same kind of--

MADDIE: 07:17

Mundane, tedious?

BINGQIAN: 07:20

Yeah. The same kind of work over and over again, I would get bored really quickly. And being able to use tools like Alteryx and Tableau and other analytics allows you to automate the part that's repetitive, the part that's mundane and you don't want to spend all of your time doing. And then allows you to go from there and do some more interesting stuff like decode what kind of information is actually in the data. I think most of the people are naturally curious, at least I am. So I'm very curious about how things work and why things are the way they are. So, yeah, to me, data is like a riddle. You don't necessarily know what's it about and what's hidden in the data if you don't know how to decode it. But when you have the right tools and you have the right skill set, there's so much to learn from data usually and it's not something that's accessible to everyone. So if you are the one to crack the riddle, it's just really satisfactory. So I find that really fun anyway. I actually think we're all lazy to a certain extent. And being lazy is actually a strong force behind advancement and productivity because you're trying to get things done faster, maybe more efficiently so that you don't have to spend as much time next time. That's one of the reasons I like Alteryx macros a lot is because being able to learn from what you've done in the past and package it up so that you can use it next time, you can share with other people so that they can use it to solve similar use cases. It's a great way of saving time and effort so that you don't have to reinvent the wheel every single time.

MADDIE: 09:21

As I was listening back to our conversation during the editing process, I decided I wanted to know more about the macros that Bingqian created and she sent me two examples.

BINGQIAN: 09:30

One thing we see very often is you have date in your data set that is in a specific format and you want to convert it into a different format. There is a DateTime tool in Alteryx that allows you to convert those formatted DateTime from a string field into a recognized DateTime field and then reformat it into another string field as you specify. So this is a two-step process. And you need to know how to set it up as it's not immediately straightforward. So I've built a macro to simplify those two steps into a one-step configuration where you just need to specify the input DateTime format and the desired output format and the tool just does the job for you. Another example is that when you're running a regular data load, for instance, a monthly load, and you want to add the output to a data set that has all the historical data, you need to check if the current load already exists in the data. And if it does, you need to override the existing part. If it doesn't, then you pin the new load to the data set. And this a module that I typically build into a monthly data load workflow which then was turned into a macro. So now, it's just a tool you can use before the output.

MADDIE: 10:54

What other personality traits can you point to that are similar to the laziness piece?

BINGQIAN: 11:01

Yeah. So I am very impatient when it comes to seeing outcomes. So the reason why I say that is because I have some friends around me who study science or who are in academia, who are doing research day in and out, and when I look at what they do, I just have so much respect for them because they have so much patience and they're putting so much effort into one thing day after day, month after month, not knowing when they will be able to see a result or even whether they will be able to see a result. But those are the kind of work and research that pushes the boundaries of science. And, for me, unfortunately, I feel like I'm not someone that has all that patience to do that. So if I want to keep my motivation level high, I need to be able to see that feedback. I need to be able to see a bit of outcome from what I have invested. And that's actually what makes me like Alteryx so much because you can invest a relatively small amount of time and you can learn a lot within that time. And I want to mention this concept of a steep learning curve. I know that generally when people mention steep learning curve, they mean something that's difficult to learn, but actually, if you look at the plot of the actual learning curve, it's essentially plotting the knowledge level over time. So on the X-axis, you have time, on the Y-axis, you have your level of knowledge, for example. And if that learning curve is steep it means that within a very short period of time you can learn a lot, your knowledge goes up by a lot. So that actually means something is easy to learn or it takes a short amount of time to learn a lot.

BINGQIAN: 13:06

I don't feel like when I need to learn something in Alteryx, I don't feel like I have to invest days and hours and weeks of my time but not getting much out of it. It's quite the opposite so that's really good. But at the same time, it has a learning curve that keeps going up. So it doesn't plateau very quickly, even though within a short period of time you can already learn a lot. If you want to continue learning, there's so much more it can do and there's so much other spaces that you can go into. Actually, yesterday, this Alteryx friend of mine shared a blog that he wrote which is about making an animation of clock with Alteryx. I had no idea that you can do that. But he actually managed to somehow use a macro to generate 43,000 PNGs and then make that into a video. And it's an Alteryx clock that just goes for 12 hours. What kind of people would spend their evenings doing that, right? People like me or like him who are nerds about using those tools for something that's cool but completely useless. But I think there are, actually, really good use cases for it. And I believe right now he's doing a piece of work that's looking at the bikes in a city and sort of where they move to and using Alteryx to show the animation which is quite cool. I'm excited to see it.

MADDIE: 14:47

That's amazing. I first met Bingqian at Inspire London in 2019. And I knew that she had attended our Women of Analytics panel luncheon. So similar to the discussion that took place on that panel, I wanted to know what Bingqian's experience has been like so far as a woman in the analytics industry.

BINGQIAN: 15:05

Okay, so funny you ask. For me, I'm actually quite used to being the only girl in the room or sometimes the only non-white person in the room or sometimes the only non-native English speaker in the room.

MADDIE: 15:25

Sure. And your first language is?

BINGQIAN: 15:27

It's Chinese. So I was born and raised in China and spent the first, I can't remember, 25 years in China. So, yeah, I'm so used to that being the case that I don't even think about it anymore. Well, actually, I didn't even think about it from the beginning because it's always been the case. And I only thought about it when it was brought to my attention, almost like it's pointed out to me that, "Oh, hey, you're the minority here," sometimes.

MADDIE: 16:06

Yeah. So when it's been pointed out to you is it in way of they want your perspective to better understand where you're coming from or do you think it comes from almost like a tokenism type situation?

BINGQIAN: 16:23

Often, it's sort of just like jokingly in a friendly way. But people say like, "Oh, hey, do you notice that you're the only woman here?" I can recall situations where maybe someone said something and I wasn't thinking much of it. I don't see the benefit of paying too much attention to it. For example, often I walk into a training room and it's a room full of white male but why does that matter? It shouldn't matter that I'm training a room full of white male or--

MADDIE: 17:05

That you would be the trainer, you're the instructor?

BINGQIAN: 17:07

Yeah, I'm the instructor. So, yeah, it shouldn't matter to me just like it shouldn't really matter to them that I am a young-looking Asian girl that's going to train them. It really should be what kinds of things I have to say, how I'm going to deliver the training, how knowledgeable I actually am in the topics that I'm going to talk about. I think sometimes it's about perspective. And I think we should all beware of the self-fulfilling prophecy. If we keep thinking that people are treating us differently because of my gender, because of my skin color, because of my age, even, then maybe it will become true. Because I'm going to act differently because I think people are treating me differently. On the other side, sometimes people don't mean to do that or they're not doing that, they're just treating me as me and they're doing things for other reasons. So I think if we feel like we are being treated unfairly we should raise it, we should talk about it. But at the same time, I think we also shouldn't overthink, "Oh, is that joke targeting me. Is that sentence that he said offensive because I'm a woman in the room? Is he not paying attention to what I have to say because I'm a woman?" Maybe he just doesn't pay attention to anyone who has anything to say. So, yeah, I think there is a balance in everything. And I think it's important to realize that.

MADDIE: 18:50

So, yeah, one of the topics that was discussed at the Women of Analytics Panel was about if women were expected to go get coffee or take notes. And I'm curious if you've ever run into either of those scenarios or anything similar to that?

BINGQIAN: 19:13

So nothing to the extent that I was asked to get coffee or take notes because I'm a woman. But I did get asked to change my shoes before going into a meeting. And just for context, I was wearing those sort of off-white Stan Smith city trainers. And I was wearing a smart dress so not sort of yoga pants and gym trainers. And it wasn't strictly a client meeting either. And it was like a friendly sort of reminder thing so I didn't take it sort of the wrong way or I wasn't resentful about the request and I did change. And I completely understand where they're coming from because there's a certain expectation in the industry of how maybe consultants should look like when they're having client meetings. But it just made me a little bit sad. Again, I don't think this is just about gender. I think there is also an expectation for men in terms of how they should look and what they should wear, etc. But I just kind of wish that if only one day, people could just make their professional judgement based on what kind of value people bring into the meeting room and what I have to say and how I behave and what value I add instead of how I look like or what I wear. I don't think me coming to the meeting room with high heels adds any additional value to that meeting itself, if anything, I was distracted a little bit.

MADDIE: 21:16

Personally, I don't know how I would react. Your approach, even when you're telling the story, you're very understanding. It seems like you're really trying to kind of understand things from all angles before you kind of make your judgement on the situation. But I think your call-out about how we put so much into appearance and valuing appearance is strange, given that the work that you produce-- it's not like your face is on whatever work that you produce. Or it's not like your workflow has your face as a signature on it. You know what I mean? So I think it is a strange kind of phenomenon that we have in the workplace and just in general in the world that we value that so much. So I think your approach to it is probably a very healthy one.

BINGQIAN: 22:08

Yeah. I think the easiest way to deal with it is probably just do as you're told because there's no conflict. You ask me to change shoes, I will just change shoes. But equally, I think it's very important for us to think about those things. Where are the expectations coming from? And are they justified? Because there might be situations where what you wear is important. For instance, if you were on a flight and the flight attendant were not wearing something special you might not know where to get help. You might not know who to speak to. But in those odd institutions, certain expectations, I think it's just less justified. And things are changing as well. 20 years ago, 30 years ago, women are expected to dress a different way than what we're expected now. And there's a reason for those changes. And I think it's important for us to keep thinking the expectations or standards in place right now, are they justifiable? And do we want to fight to protect it or do we want to fight to change it? And, also, one thing that I find quite interesting is sometimes you hear people talk about more senior people showing up in more casual clothes or people who are more focused or specialized in technical fields showing up with maybe trainers or T-shirts, and that's completely fine or more acceptable, why is that?

BINGQIAN: 23:59

Why is it more acceptable for the senior managers or directors, or presidents to wear casual clothes but less so for more junior people? Is that justified? Why is it okay for more nerdy people to wear T-shirts but no so much for business consultants? Why is that? I choose this industry because I like the things that we do. I like the work. I like the challenges. I like the things I produce. I like the value I add for my clients. I like the problems I solve. Does that have to mean that I have to take whatever the industry expects me to wear as well? I think it's a question that we should all think about.

MADDIE: 24:49

I completely agree. I think we should always think about and kind of question why things are the way that they are, especially if they've been that way for forever. You know what I mean? So, yeah.

BINGQIAN: 25:00

Yeah. And also, in Asia, women are expected to wear makeup in certain industries and if you don't people challenge you and say, "This is rude." And I don't know how you feel about that. But a lot of people here, around me, or in UK or in London, when they hear that, they find it unbelievable. They find it incredible and say, "What is that? You shouldn't be asked to wear makeup." But how is that different from being asked to wear high heels or a certain kind of clothes?

MADDIE: 25:42

Agreed.

BINGQIAN: 25:44

And I actually have this foot condition that prevents me to wear heels for a long time. Which, I didn't actually tell that person. I didn't tell anyone at work. It's only relevant to a certain extent because I am in pain when I wear heels. But at the same time, even if I'm not, I would like people to make their judgement based on what I have to say and what I have to add to the project, what I have to contribute rather than what footwear I show up with in a business meeting.

MADDIE: 26:22

I can't believe that, though. That's--

BINGQIAN: 26:27

It's a bit sad.

MADDIE: 26:27

It's sad. And the makeup thing too, I love the days when I don't wear makeup. And then it's like if I want to put on makeup then it's because I want to, not because I'm expected to. And it is sad that people feel that pressure. And especially if you think about, yeah, like the gender expectations too. People who maybe they don't identify with that gender or maybe they-- everybody's on some sort of spectrum. And if wherever you fall, if you don't align with the girliest of the girly then that's somehow a problem. I don't think that that's right, but. So did you have heels on-hand?

BINGQIAN: 27:14

Yeah. I keep a pair in the office. Yeah. And that's why it's not a foreign sort. It's not something that surprises me because I know the industry expectation but it still makes me a little bit sad. Yeah. And another thing is, I think it's broader than that. It's not just about gender. It's not just about ethnicity. It's about workplace being more inclusive. It's about diversity. It's about perspective. Gender's really visible but not everything is. There are other things that are less so. And what do you do with those? So who looks out for shy, modest, quiet, male employees? They don't necessarily fit any of the tags that we're talking about just now. But they might need support in terms of how to boost their confidence level, how to make them more comfortable talking about their achievement or how to recognize their achievement at workplace.

MADDIE: 28:31

Exactly. Because we don't really have luncheons for people who are shy or people who might be a little socially awkward. I totally feel like in some certain settings, I can totally work myself up into some weird anxious feeling where if I walk into a room with people that I don't know or I feel like I really need to be on it that can be tough for me. And so the social settings can be tricky to tackle. And like you said, they're not visible for people to really see.

BINGQIAN: 29:04

Yeah. Exactly. And when I think of team-building activities, a lot of times in London, I don't know about the rest of Europe-- but in London, a lot of that involves going to pubs and bars after work and maybe have a drink, have a chat. What about those people who don't drink? And if that is the only team-building activity then they will feel left out. And you can say that, "Oh, hey. They can just show up. They can order an orange juice," whatnot. And they absolutely can. They can make that effort to go to places that they don't enjoy going just to hang out with those other people who are drinking. But should we also consider, "Hey, those people on our team who would enjoy a different kind of social outing, should we ask their opinion for the next social outing? What do we do?" And I think those are the things that are less visible and it's as important to think about.

MADDIE: 30:14

Yeah. 100%. Maybe people want to go home early. Maybe they have kids at home. There's a lot of different scenarios that are hard to understand if you aren't asking people and getting to know them and really trying to understand their preferences and what they're comfortable with.

BINGQIAN: 30:28

Another thing that I think is very important is mental health at workplace. We start to talk about it more and more. But I think there's still some kind of stigma around it. Because whenever you say mental health, usually what people think about is mental illness, right? But, actually, the phrase itself, is referring to health. And I think we just need to sort of maybe tell ourselves to shift the mindset a little bit. And it's important to be able to talk about those things when you're feeling anxious or feeling stressed either at work or just in life in general. And it's very important because it can affect everyone. I was reading about some stats on mental health and it seems like the most consistent number in terms of how many people are affected by mental health problems at workplace is that one in six people at any point in time is affected by mental health issues-- at any point in time. And we all know that it comes and goes. It's not something that kind of sticks with you and you have that all the time. And so as a people manager it's important because I need to know everyone is doing their best, everyone can do their best. As I manage projects, I need to know that people are happy working on projects, people are delivering at the level that they can deliver. I guess as business owners, you want to know that all those talents that you tried so hard to hire are performing at the level that they can perform to their best. So I think it absolutely affects everyone. And it should be something that if it becomes relevant at any point in time, there's a good reason to not ignore it.

MADDIE: 32:49

As a leader, you can really tell that Bingqian is honed in on the health and well-being of her team. So as I was editing, again, I wanted to reach back out to her and ask her to provide more tangible examples for ways to encourage this well-being in your own life and amongst your teams. Here's how she responded.

BINGQIAN: 33:09

I found guided meditation and yoga really great in helping me take a step back and remind myself what I value and what really matters to me in life. Talk therapy and exercises also work for some people. Eat and rest well if you can. There are mental health professional services out there that might be available to you so reach out to your HR or insurance provider to see what options you have.

MADDIE: 33:40

Something that I read the other day was from the World Health Organization. They have this entire section on their website for mental health which I thought was really cool. And within that, they specifically talk about mental health in the workplace. And then, specifically, also, within there is burnout so just feeling exhausted and negative and maybe cynical about your job, just really not enjoying it. And what I thought was really interesting is that they actually included burnout in their 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases as an occupational phenomenon. So very significant way for them to kind of describe burnout. And first and foremost, it should be about the human being and how they're feeling. When you also look at the rest of the data that was included at the World Health Organization, on their website they were saying things like the economic impact and the dollars that it cost for these people to feel burnt out. I mean, they included some interesting data points where they were saying every US dollar that's put into scaled-up treatment for common mental disorders there's a return of 4 US dollars in improved health and productivity. So, again, it's that cycle of if you take care of your employees then they'll be happier and probably produce better work.

BINGQIAN: 35:13

Yeah. Actually, I read something kind of in that space as well. And it was saying that one in five of the people who took days off work, they took it off because of stress or anxiety-related reasons. But actually, 90% of those people reported different reasons. So they actually gave work different reasons for why they need days off. So I think people still don't feel comfortable talking about their suffering from those sort of symptoms that's related to their mental status. And there was another stat that was saying of those people who took days off because of mental health issues, they are more likely to take more days off, which I found quite interesting. Because you can translate days off to costs to an organization. And those are all very important. It is very important. Like you said, people are important but money is very important for organizations. And you mentioned burnout earlier. I think it is something that can be prevented. And it is something that we would like to prevent before it happens. Because usually, when it happens it is already too late. I've had people around me who suffer serious physical conditions because of burnout. And usually, when it gets to that stage it's too late.

BINGQIAN: 36:56

And I personally have some experience of that too. Sometimes I feel like my chest is really tight or I find it hard to breathe. And I've gotten my heart checked out and there's nothing wrong so it might be stress-related. But you don't want to get to the stage where it's affecting your physical health because it might be too late. It might take longer to go back to the healthy status. So I think we should just check-in with ourselves all the time, check-in with our friends all the time, check-in with our colleagues if we can, checking with people around us if we think they're not themselves that day. Maybe just take them out for a walk, take them out for a coffee, yeah, it makes a difference.

MADDIE: 37:57

Yeah. Absolutely. All right. Did you catch that background noise? Yeah. You heard that correctly. It was the sound of a couple of my colleagues playing ping-pong in the next room where Bingqian and I were recording. Then you heard me running out of the room to kindly ask them to pause their ping-pong game until we were done recording. But, hey, my coworkers were simply engaging in their own version of a mental health break so I'm all for it. So moving into our section for community picks. This is one of my favorite sections because we can shout out the useful learnings that we've found throughout the week and share it with the audience. So what is your community pick this week or picks, you can have more than one?

BINGQIAN: 38:48

Okay. So I have two. And they were both not super-related to analytics. I'm sorry. So the first one is a podcast called Science Vs. I really, really like this podcast primarily because of the content. There is a lot of researchers, numbers, facts, and some opinion about interesting topics. So there are things like vaccination, is it safe? Ketogenic diet, does it work? Hypnosis, how does it work or does it actually work? So I find those topics quite interesting. And it has a really fantastic and really charming host as well. So I just love her accent. And she talks like she's smiling and laughing all the time. So I absolutely enjoy that.

MADDIE: 39:49

Yeah. Yeah. That's a great one.

BINGQIAN: 39:50

And so the second one is a program called Letters Live. Have you heard of it?

MADDIE: 39:57

Uh-uh.

BINGQIAN: 39:58

So basically, as the name suggests, it's bringing letters live. So it's this organization, they organize a bunch of people to come together and read out letters to people. So it's kind of like a concert but for letters. And yeah, they invite all kind of celebrities or-- I'm really bad with celebrities so I don't know most of them. But I know Cumberbatch was there before and Tom Hiddleston was there before. And some of those sessions were recorded or filmed as well. So if you're curious, you can find it on YouTube, just search for Letters Live. My all-time favorite is a letter read by Tom Hiddleston and it was called All This I Did Without You. And it's a letter written by Gerald Durrell to his wife. And it's absolutely beautiful. And it's really funny as well. And it was really, really well performed. So sometimes I find myself bored or stressed or just want something different, I find those videos and watch them and it's just fantastic. And also, if you're interested in those letters you can buy the book. It's called Letters of Note. So it's a collection of letters in all kinds of styles about all kinds of topics and they're super interesting.

MADDIE: 41:48

That sounds amazing. And I definitely will be checking that out. I actually just inherited a bunch of-- so my dad's dad was in the Korean War. So when they first met in the '50s, he was over there and they would just write letters back and forth. And she kept all the letters that he sent to her. And I don't know if he kept all of hers but probably not because it's probably hard to keep a ton of letters around when you're in the military. But anyway, so I just inherited all the letters and I started going through them. A, letter writing is just such a lost art. We don't do that anymore. So it's really interesting to see what they talk about. And there's a couple where he would say, "Oh, I loved your perfumed letter," because she would just spray perfume. And so it's just little things like that where it's so romantic but also, it's such a human connection. So having an actor who has a very pronounced voice or a really charming or professional way of delivering a message, I can see that being really powerful. So I'm very intrigued by this. It sounds really cool.

BINGQIAN: 42:59

Yeah. Let me know what you think.

MADDIE: 43:00

Yeah. Absolutely. Very cool. My community pick this week is the Alan Turing Institute. I knew we were going to discuss mental health. And I was doing a bit of research and I stumbled upon their website. And they have this entire section of their website for data science for mental health, which I thought was really, really cool. And they actually list out different research areas and goals that the researchers in this group have identified. And they organize these monthly meetings that are held at the Turing here in London. So in the past, these meetings have included agenda topics such as Intro to Data-Driven Disease Progression Modeling. That was by a person named Neil Oxtoby. And then there was another one, Data-Driven Modeling of Disease Subtypes and Their Progression by Alexander Young. Their website prompts users to join their mailing lists for more information and updates. And we'll be sure to link to that page in the show notes. But I think if you're living in London and you want to go to these meetings, I don't know if they're open to the whole community or if you can get recaps. I don't know the whole process. But, again, I'll link that mailing list to the show notes. But, yeah. I mean, just to have a full group of people at such a prestigious institute like the Turing Institute, I think, would be really fascinating to learn more about. So I know I'm definitely going to keep looking into it. But I hope our audience does as well.

BINGQIAN: 44:33

Yeah. That sounds great. I'm definitely going to look into it.

MADDIE: 44:36

Yeah. Yeah. Cool. Thanks for tuning in. You can find links on the topics discussed in today's episode at community.alteryx.com/podcast where you can also leave comments and join in on our discussion. To share this episode with your networks, be sure to use #altereverythingpodcast. And to share the episode for International Women's Month use #iwd2020 or #eachforequal. Bonus points if you include a link to the episode either from the community, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app. Catch you next time.


This episode of Alter Everything was produced by Maddie Johannsen (@MaddieJ).