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Data Storytelling for introverts, Drawing Data with Kids


MindSpeaking Podcast Episode 19 - Gulrez Khan , Paypal Data Science Lead





▶️ Watch the podcast with video on YouTube:


Timestamps:

00:00 Intro

02:02 Mission of Data Literacy

06:33 Kids Learning Data

08:14 Creative Data Literacy

11:21 Parenting in Data Ed

12:19 Learning from Kids

14:56 Creativity in Children

17:30 Homeschooling Impact

22:17 Storytelling for Kids

23:49 Overcoming Data Fear

25:07 Data Presentation Pitfalls

28:36 Personal Data Stories

30:40 A/B Testing Stories

34:15 Sharing Work Benefits

36:30 Visual Data Storytelling

38:14 Rapid Fire Q&A

39:15 Organizations Data Literacy

40:19 Overcoming Introversion

44:20 Engaging with Kids

45:31 Connecting with Audience

47:00 Conclusion



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Introduction


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Today's guest is Gulrez Khan, he is the author of drawing data with kids. It's a brand new book that was part of a Kickstarter campaign, and it has been quite successful. Google has gone is the data science lead at PayPal and in the past, you worked for Microsoft for eight years. And we talk about two topics mainly. So first of all, we talk about data storytelling, how to present your data and the story. But that's not all because we also talked about kids. We talked about what we can learn from kids, how to raise your kids and how to also remind you out of curiosity, instead of just giving them scripts. So we also talked about data storytelling and some common mistakes, how to how to fix them. And if you're an introvert or not a big fan of speaking on stage or even talking, talking about your work to others, you get some tips, how to get out of your comfort zone, how to build your own library of stories, and even a B test your stories. So definitely this is an episode even if you don't have children, but you would love to learn more about it. If you're thinking about how education has an impact on the world, or if you just want to get better, a better storytelling. This is your episode. All right. Welcome, ghoulish. How are you doing today?


Gulrez Khan

I'm doing well. How are you doing?




Mission of Data Literacy


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Excellent, excellent. I'm looking forward because we have a lot of things to dive into. But before we start before we go into your path, I'm really wondering about your mission because I read you're on a mission to improve the way people make sense of data. So I was firstly while I was wondering, why is that important to you?


Gulrez Khan

Yeah. So I've been with the IT industry for around 20 years now. And I work day in and day out with the data with a lot of great minds. There are people who are PhDs who have lots of experience. We work on this detailed analysis creating different models. But what I've seen is when it comes to presenting the data, that's where like, it's just five minutes before your presentation. You're dumping everything into your PowerPoint deck and then you think, okay, that's where like I go in and present the stuff and I want to talk about all the things that I have done, how I did those ETL and then I created this model, and all those things. But when it comes to the impact, the audience is hardly getting it right. So that's where like I have changed that thing for myself in the last five years. or so. And that has made a dramatic difference. So I think this is where our community lacks, and that's why I think it's important. So for that reason, I started this campaign of doing those data storytelling workshops, and then even in my company and my prior companies. I tried to do those things. The second thing that I started is like doing this thing, data literacy for kids. I've got a 10 year old six year old and a three year old and as a dad, like I want my kids to learn this data literacy at an early age. So how we can make fun hands and teach them as well. So that's also something I'm doing and I'm sure like we can talk about it at a later point.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Yeah, definitely, definitely because this is one of the things that fascinates me the most when I look at your background and but I was wondering when I read about your mission, not just to create more data literacy in the world and have people understand data but also its mission with kids. I was wondering, so what what is the world full of children or data literate children look like what how can I how can we imagine this what what would it look like?


Gulrez Khan

For the world looks like if they encounter a chart, right, so here like we are living in a world of a humongous amount of data, even right now as you and me we are talking. There's so much data which has been transferred, the voice that we are recording, it has data, every word you and me we are talking about it as data. So how you can make sense of data is very important. And as we are living in this world of human this amount of data, this comes with data literacy, you will see that charts are thrown, the diagrams are thrown everywhere. And if that is something which is intimidating our kids, then that's not a good sign. So I want to make it fun for the kids to be able to see those things and understand it and see that on a regular basis. So the other day, my 10 year old like she just came to me and she said, whoo, I saw this graph in my notebook. And this was fun. I just got like 100 person it was just a line graph and all those different things. And I said, Yes, that's a win for me. I don't want to be intimidated by the graphs, like the heat maps and all that stuff. So that's the world that I'm talking about. They should be able to see it and understand it.




Kids Learning Data


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Right And it makes a lot of sense and kids learn so fast as well if you see how quickly gets languages for example, my my girlfriend's my fiancee she has his sister who was married to a Spanish man so they're so they raised their kids in two languages. in German and Spanish, and it's amazing how quickly they adopt to new languages and I'm sure they can do the same with data right if they get to learn about data, early on, that it's less intimidating compared to when you learn it later. in life totally like I've got three kids


Gulrez Khan

the speaker two and half languages, so they speak English this Peixoto and a little bit of Arabic something two and a half. And it's fun like how they pick up these languages. So it's my son like, all my kids are homeschooling and my son has not gone to school so he we haven't taught him English, but he's picking up here and there like when he hears me talking to someone on the phone or his sister like he would pick those things, and then he'll mix those sentences. And then it comes become some kind of a funny language. But yeah, like the there is so much energy and then the things with gifts that we can pick up and learn things so quickly. Yeah, maybe you can send




Creative Data Literacy


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

this podcast episode to your son, and he will pick up some more English words or maybe some data stuff as well. Yeah, I was I was also wondering because what I see in the news and what I also see in reality is that with many children as children grow up with technology, with social media with all the technology they can have today, there are also disadvantages right? Because they, research shows that they have less, sometimes more struggle to communicate or to call people instead of texting. And do you see any parallels between creating a world which is more data literate and having a more technology, or can they be separate? What What are your thoughts on that? I think that's a very good question.


Gulrez Khan

And as as a mindful parent, right, so we trying to avoid giving them screens. So my kids are homeschooling. We don't have a television at home, and yet, I want them to be data literate. Now how do we do that? So that's where like, we you become creative, right? So use that we have been used to do this family exercise every weekend, every other weekend where we would sit with the kids and we would draw something right so and kids would just love this right? So I'm not teaching them anything, right? So they would just bring a pen and paper and my friend would say abou draw something. And then I would draw and then he will bring colors. And he'd say, Okay, put this green color now. So I'm not teaching but he comes and he enjoys me spending time with him and trying stuff with it. Now I thought okay, they enjoyed this kind of thing. Let me see if I can turn this into a data visualization thing instead of just drawing, right? So that's where I come and I see okay, we have created this tree or can we do something with a bar graph, right? And they would look into this, okay, it makes sense. And then like they would look into the boyfriend, we try talking about different things the other day like, it's a beautiful, beautiful day and it's the springtime. So we have got these cherry blossoms in our backyard. So we look into the cherry blossom having a good time. Under the sun. And we feel okay. Can we create a graph or a map where it has cherry blossoms are famous, right? So I got a printout of the states of United States and then every place which is famous for cherry blossom, we put one flower over time. That's a heat map for you, right? We took a picture and I told them, hey, this is heat map and I said okay, I love it right. So now they can think about doing it with a different in a different way different manner. So going back to your question, technology will be there. And it's all there. Right? But again, like there are parents like me who are mindful who don't want to give a MacBook to their kids right away. They will eventually get it right. But saving them from the spring screen time. You can still teach them about certain things. I'm not worried about teaching them coding at this point, right? When it's more about if I can teach them about data literacy offline. I think that's a win for me. Yeah, I love how you combine those two




Parenting in Data Ed


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

data literacy and offline, because I can imagine it's so tempting to when you're busy and your kids want some attention to give them an iPad, because then they're quiet for some time. So I guess it takes some discipline as a parent to, to stick to your ideas. And your your mission as a dad.


Gulrez Khan

So more than dad like it's more like it's my wife submission and like the vision that she has that Fifi she's like she has been a university topper and worked at great places, but when she became a mom, like she made this conscious choice that I need to spend time with the kids and then like, she's so much into that, that that has made my life much easier and like the kids are growing. So I think kudos to all the moms who are doing these amazing things. Definitely, definitely.




Learning from Kids


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

And and kids because we're we have been talking a bit about what we can teach kids, but in many cases it's also the other way around. Right kids are so Korea's they have such amazing traits that we can also learn from so I was so have you learned any data or any career lessons or any life lessons from from your children?


Gulrez Khan

Yeah, I'm glad you asked that. Because my kids are my teachers. So basically, like if I look back into my career, I've benefited so much after my kids were born, and you would think it's funny, but if I look back, I am an introvert. I am not someone who would talk a lot in those meetings and like I would show her if I'm going into those presentations dooms even though I've done that hundreds of times, right. But then, like, the thing that happened with kids, right, so my daughter, like the older oldest daughter is now 10 when she was three or four, that's when I started telling her stories, and she wouldn't be that perfect audience like she would be. Okay, what happened next and next, please tell me please tell me and I said, Okay, I've got this talent of telling stories. And if I can tell it to my daughter, let me try it with my stakeholders as well. So I tried that at work. And guess what? It wasn't, it was with the annexes where I tell stories and then I got all their attention. So I have benefited from that. The other thing is like, when I go and do the presentation I'm doing for a new topic. I would practice 100 times in front of my kids. So they are there like I talk about to them. I'm dropping my daughter somewhere and I'm driving and I'm just realizing what I need to say. So that that has benefited a lot. And there are a few other examples as well. So for example, especially about data visualization, right? So I think it was me a year or two back like with COVID Everyone was working from home and I was working on this visualization called a tree tree diagram or something right. So it will be like you have got a node and then you have got further nodes. And then you've got further nodes. So like that and you will see my four year old son at that time like he came in and he said abou there is a mask and I said what he said there is a mask and I said okay, and then he was pointing at my diagram. And I said how is he seen it? And then I tilted my face this way. And the monkey said, This looks like a dome of a mosque and I said, Wow, I have never thought of it that way. They've got amazing imagination. And what happens is like as kids grow up, we kill their imagination, their creativity. But there's so much to learn from 100%





Creativity in Children


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

I've seen a picture of the mosque where you explained it in one of the blog posts. I think also on the Kickstarter page of drawing with kids. And I was really amazed because I would never see a mosque in that in that picture right in a diagram and that shows how imaginative imaginative people are. Children are and like you said, we we kill it because in society we we focus a lot a lot on other things. So I was wondering is there is there a way how we can keep children that imaginative and sparking their imagination instead? of killing it? What are your thoughts? Yeah, so that's the challenge.


Gulrez Khan

That's something me and my wife we have been thinking how we can keep that alive. One thing is like getting kids more towards the nature, right so we we do gardening like right now I in my I can see my window and outside there. There's a small garden, and we try to spend time over there we are growing stuff and then they tried different things. And often like I would see myself telling them, Hey, don't do this. Don't do that. But then I tried to stop that and then I say okay, let them do what they want, right? So they are Indonesia. They might spoil a few things here and there but then they are learning and then they do lots of experiments right so my son like the other day in came to me he sees this. What do you call like iRobot or something like with this, like mopping and other things which happened to companies. So he came up with a ball cap of a bottle and then a feather of a bird. And then he said okay, abou see my mopping and then he would then he say okay, this is how it is moving. And you just spend time with them, listen to them. And I think that sounds like you can keep that alive. The other thing is like as I mentioned earlier about homeschooling right. So there is lots of killing of creativity which happens in the schools right. So here you change their environment, their free environment, and you make them sit in a particular place for hours. And that's where like I think lots of those things get lost. So so there is good and bad in that like the schooling system. But again, I think we have been following for the schooling system for hundreds of years. So try different things. Go outside and spend time with the kids. I think that's the important thing. Yeah. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing that




Homeschooling Impact


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

experience as well of homeschooling and I think more and more people started doing this because of COVID. And I see definitely see your benefits because to me, it's strange that the schooling system has been the same more or less for so long, even though the world has changed and to me. I think we need to spend more time on also communication and soft skills and how do we collaborate, you know, because we get all more specialized, the world is getting more complex, we need to collaborate better. And if we don't learn this or not explicitly, at least of course, of course we do learn by mistake in the playground, but I think we can put away more emphasis on this part. So what I would love to dive into now is the book drawing with kids because we touched upon some topics already which are related, you know, how do you raise kids later literacy book drawing with kids, what what was the inspiration for you? Was there a turning point where you thought, hey, I'm going to make this happen?


Gulrez Khan

Yeah, so drying data with kids is something the activity which I talked about, right, so I was doing these trying things with my kids. And then like I said, there is a data nerd in me, right. So and I think like it's us well, what I've been following about you, we think about data, like all the time, right? So I'm driving and I say oh, I think okay, this is how I can turn the raindrops into some kind of visualization like this, all this data that I am right. So I always think about that I am a visual person and then like when I was doing these training activities, I thought, okay, let's do some fun things with the kids and see if we can do some kind of drawing of a visualization. So I started doing some of those things which would be like, with days of the week, right? So Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and then how you can turn that just those letters into some kind of a graph right. So I converted that into a line graph, position of the letter on the x axis. And then you have got on the y axis would be the letters from A to Z. And then for the for the first position for Monday, you have this, right? And then one Oh, and then the next position, and then you can complete that and that becomes the graph, right? And that's how I teach to my daughter that this is a line graph and then that's similar to what you see for temperature changes for different places for different days. And I was doing those activities and then like you said, like, it was COVID time, you're working from home. I shared your stuff at my office, and people really like that and we continue to do those things. I did one thing after the another. And then people started reaching out to me and then said, Hey, can you teach it to my kids? And I said, I'll be happy to do that. And one fine day we did a workshop and there are a lot of people who are interested. They joined and then I was talking to the kids and they were drawing all these different visualizations, that timelines and all those different things. And then like, the other day, I was reading one of the books from my 10 year old about how it was being explained that a particular topic, thought they don't have a book for data visualization or data literacy. And I asked my wife, maybe we should have a book. And that's where like someone says that if there is a book you don't see, write that book. So I said, Okay, all right. Let's see if I can make it happen. And that's all like I have been working on it for around 18 months now. And finally, like happy to share that. The book will be available pretty soon and I hope like a lot of people get benefit out of it. And it's not a traditional book like kind of covering the different curriculum pipeline. So if you open a traditional book, you would say okay, what is data? What these are the different types of charts, this is how you use it. In this is more of a storybook, right. So this is me trying to get attention from the kids. And that's where like it's a story of me and my daughter, so a dad and a daughter. They talk about different things. They do different activities. And then they data nerd when Dad comes in and says, Hey, let's create a graph of this activity that we were doing. And then the daughter would do that. And then at the end of each chapter, there was a technical exercise where you can do the stuff that we talked about, and then next chapter, another story. And like that will be talked about in that.





Storytelling for Kids


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Right. So it's very interesting if you're saying that every chapter, there's something to do. And that seems to be very much aligned. With kids you know how they are they read a little bit and then become active and apply what they've learned. And I love that you wrote it in a story as well. I mean, that goes along with your job as well and how you like to present right with with stories.


Gulrez Khan

Yeah. And hope like, we as a parent, like spend time with the kids like when we give this book to the kids, I think I hope that the parent gets involved as well. They read the book with them do those activities. So the other idea is not just to have them learn this new skill, but also increase that parent child bonding grade. So the activities that I was talking about me sitting at home over the weekend, drawing with them, I hope like the other parents follow that and with that, like you'll have a good bond with them as well as good learning which is happening. And there are some few things here and there that you might learn as well. Awesome. Awesome.





Overcoming Data Fear


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

So for in terms of parents, it doesn't matter if they're working in data or not at all.


Gulrez Khan

 Yeah, it's very light hearted and then if kids can learn it, you can pick it up as well. maybe it's also a way to


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Yes. So get business stakeholders also more data literate, right, not just not just kids.

Gulrez Khan

Yeah. And it's not just for the parents, like even someone who is new to data, if they want to start right. So they have not dealt with data. And those graphs and other things which you see in our daily lives. They intimidate you. I will say if you pick that book, that will help you like overcome that barrier. And then like I am planning to do a series of these books. So we will move to different levels. And as you start on this journey, you will see other things that you can learn as well. Nice, so it's not going to be the last one.

I hope to see how the responses and if the people are not too much annoyed with what I wrote, I can continue to write. Ya know, so far, the response




Data Presentation Pitfalls


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

seems to be very good with the Kickstarter campaign that was fully funded. So I'm looking forward to those next steps. And what we have briefly discussed is about you know, stories and presenting data and his story presenting stories in general. If we look at data presentation, because you have been a data science, lead and big companies, what what are some of the frequent mistakes that you see in data presentations or when people present their insights or their dashboard?


Gulrez Khan

I think we are living in a very exciting time this these years, Gilbert. So if you see writer prior years, it will be very difficult for someone to kind of make a graph, but now with the tools like Tableau Power BI click, what has happened is we have made it very easy for people to create graphs right? Excel as well. So with that, there is also a problem. The problem is people can drag and drop things, and it can create a mess, right? For for a person like me who attends four or five meetings on a daily basis. You come in at at 4pm and you're presenting this dashboard where there are a number of colors. There are so many things out there and you are trying to get me get an attention from me and I also have my phone I'm getting lots of messages from my wife and some funny things from my friends. How do you get my attention right? So to get my attention to to get the most of the two minutes that you get? You will need to be like very you need to be aware of how you use the colors, how you use the different real estate that you have not in your dashboard. So that's number one mistake I seem like people would push everything in front of your eyes. And that will increase the cognitive load. Right now as I'm looking into your screen I see mine speaking at the background, and I can see okay, that's where like I can focus and otherwise let's say you had the colorful background and all that stuff. There would be hardly anything I can focus on. And then I'm getting a boost from my phone and I'm getting all the attention is lost. So that's one thing which I think people should avoid. Then there are other things right so we talked specifically about data presentations. But again, everything starts with a human connection. So when you go into a room and someone who has been in those meetings for last five hours, if I talk about all those jargons you get bored, but before that before doing anything, I'm telling you a story. I'm telling a story of what happened last evening, when my son was crying a lot in a supermarket. So now, as I started with that, it gets you hearing me that, hey, this guy is talking something different from the regular jargons that I've been hearing last for hours. And that's where I get your attention. And then I tried to do a parallel between that fall between that supermarket thing of my son and then the work that we are doing. So now there is a connection, right? So the first two minutes I got your attention, and now you start liking me. So now you start liking me. Then I tried to present the numbers, but even when I'm presenting the numbers, I don't want your attention to go down so that's where I use those cognitive to reduce the cognitive load on your eyes. I want you to focus on just these numbers. What are we doing with it? And how what are my recommendations? So these are few things I think, you know, like it's it's, it takes a lot of time, like I do workshops, which goes for a whole day on these topics. So there are a lot of things that we can do and improve when we tell stories with data.




Personal Data Stories


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Yeah, absolutely. And I love the way you brought up human connection right and telling a simple story about your child crying the day before and connecting it to the making it relevant, right for the context, your student presentation. I don't think the stories have to be amazing, right? It's just a very short story to get grab people's attention. The connection between the story and the presentation is not even that relevant. Of course there needs to be a link, but it doesn't need to be the perfect the best metaphor in the world. And what I hear from many people is that they say I'm not sure about insecure or afraid to bring in personal stories because I think they're not relevant. What would you say to those people?


Gulrez Khan

Yeah, sorry. I would say like, again, like don't be afraid, right? So when you go and present something, you need to like, just open up right? And have you stories in your pocket right? Few things work when things don't work, right. So I've got a few stories that I knew which has worked well with the audience. So I'll try to repeat, rinse and repeat again and again. And you get the same reaction. Can you do those AP testing, a B testing in our products, and you do those things in your presentations as well and see what works, what doesn't work? And then like, it's a journey you are learning every day you're trying something? You're learning something? I know there are a few people as I said, like I'm an introvert. So I need to have those stories in my mind that I need to speak about. But then there are people who are doing multitasking, right? So they go into a conference room. They're setting up the laptop, and they're talking and then there's few things are not working and they're talking and the audience is listening to them. And I wonder how those people are able to do that right? Because for me, I can only focus on one thing right now. If that's my microphone is not working. Let me fix that. And then I'll tell you story. There are different people you practice and you learn.





A/B Testing Stories


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Yeah, those are very good tip. Thank you very much for sharing and I can relate to doing just one thing at a time. It's very difficult for me to fix something and then speak especially during a story that I have never told and having a few in the back of your pocket definitely definitely helps. And I'm sure there are a lot of people listening who might also be more introverted. So I hope those tips help them be more prepared or feel more at ease. They also mentioned somewhere on the internet, or someone talking about you that you are very good at turning boring numbers into captivating stories. So I was wondering, how do you do that if you have some insights or some stories, how do you wrap them into a story?


Gulrez Khan

Yeah, so it's kind of a mix of things. So one is like, when it comes to the presentation, you go and you start with some kind of a personal story, where then the data itself is like, I am so much passionate about data, every data like tells some kind of story. So I do like to do some kind of analysis looking into it. But the numbers itself are not just numbers, right? There is the humans behind the numbers. That's where like you become a subject matter expert, or top subject matter experts to understand what happened because I can spend number of hours looking into the data and come up with those assumptions. But then, if I go and talk to the people behind those numbers, I understand more things that hey, this is why it happened. Right? So tell those stories. That's where like you add those mutations. Or anecdotes from those people. And then you bring those things in as well. Lots of time what happens and I used to do that in the past as well, that he that is this analysis that I'm doing on a certain topic, I would look into that. And I would run those in medium mode and all those different things, and all those technical stuff and ensure that this is the output, but then that doesn't take anywhere, right? So that's where like, what you want is you need to convert this. Like at the end of the day your goal needs to be to move the needle right? I think every data leader needs to be a change agent. At the end of the day. You want an impact out of the work that you have. Right? So that's where you take it home right take it till the end. You start with the problem why? People are asking that question. That is important. You understand that? And then you look into the numbers. You talk to those stakeholders and talk to the subject matter experts. Go back and forth. And then don't just present the numbers present, what's next after something and then what's next. Keep following up on that. And even though like in one quarter or six months, if that's just one project ended, end to end. That's that's a win, and then talk about that world. Every now and then. That will take you like further like write a blog post. Create a podcast. We'll do something even internal your company.




Sharing Work Benefits


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

And that's a very good tip to also talk about those wins, right? And one of the things that many people tell me is hey, I don't want to brag or it feels like I'm you know taking credit or and I felt like that as well. And the best. So what would you do you have any advice or any thoughts for people that feel like that?


Gulrez Khan

So again, it's about storytelling. So at the end of the day, like, you write your reviews, right, so we have all the reviews of the work that we have done on those things. So you write about your accomplishments are there but let's say there are these other things. For example, there's some work which I'm doing right now in my day job, and I'm very excited about it. Like it's not something anyone asked me to do that. But it's a fun project like Not, not many people have done that. And I'm very excited about it. So I'm spending time and enjoying I'm having fun. So I'm having fun. I enjoyed it. I got the results and then it could be done. But then I want to spend a couple of days to write a blog post about it. Not be the key. I'm so good at it. The blog post will be about the stuff that I have to write the problem that I found the one that I did, and then the results which are there. And then like this is not dragging. So this is about just a kind of a one that you have done. And then you send it out at multiple platforms to go over there. Like if there are any talks that you have happening. Go there talk about the work you have done, so you're not bragging anything. It's just about talking about the work you're doing. And that will take you to other places.





Visual Data Storytelling


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Yeah, 100% and I also see a benefit for the audience, right because the audience learns about new methods or new ways how data can impact their organization. And if it's data scientists you're talking to they might learn how to do it themselves. And if there are business stakeholders in the audience, or who read a blog post, they might also be inspired and learn something about data about the possibilities and thereby also contributing to this data literacy spreading in the in the organization or in the world. And yeah, so that way, you can also contribute and I think that's the way your friend is a good way to look at it instead of bragging. You know, you're also helping other people. You're just talking about your work.


Gulrez Khan

And you know, Gilbert, I saw this visual like, as I said earlier, a very visual person. And a lot of times you would see you would think hear people talking about that he he's very lucky or she's very lucky to be doing this. And then like the visual that I saw was that you can increase the surface area of your leg. How do you increase the surface area of your land? You do that by talking about the work that you have done, right? So if you're just doing and then the chances of you getting lucky it's a small circle. But then if you want to increase the surface area of your mouth, do and talk to and talk. So do the work and talk about what you have done. So that's where like don't do multiple 10 things. So 100 things, do one thing, do it well, and then communicate and communicate and communicate. I love that perspective.





Rapid Fire Q&A


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

So do talk to talk is what many people do is doo doo doo doo doo, right at some point. They get frustrated, they are not recognized. They say hey, I'm doing fantastic work, but no one sees it. And I think people should also take a little responsibility to also talk about it and communicate it because then people will see it and you will probably get more appreciation as well. Yeah. Great, great stuff. Great stuff. What I would love to shift into his rapid fire round but two quick questions, partly about data. partly about the other stuff. So let's see what come. The first one is, uh, what was the first career you dreamed of? As dreaming of having as a kid?


Gulrez Khan

I wanted to be a pilot, pilot. Alright.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

And what's what's the number one place thing or person you go for learning?


Gulrez Khan

Learning how to pilot becoming an owner in general not not about not only to become a pilot. Yeah, so politically for me i I'm, I think I've benefited. God has been very kind to me. So I do our prayers. And that's where like, I learn a lot. Like I've been up since 4am. In the morning, it's a month of Ramadan. So I go to the mosque and then like, kind of reflecting on how I'm spending my life and all that stuff. That's where a lot of learning happens when you sit quietly and Yeah.





Organizations Data Literacy


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Wonderful, unexpected answer, but I completely agree. The third question, what is one thing that companies, organizations overlook when it comes to data literacy?


Gulrez Khan

Yeah, so when it comes to data literacy, the organization's I think, again, the main focus is more about the technical stuff, right? We People Keep Talking about these new technologies with the neural networks and then the alternative AI thing and all that stuff. So you will see all people talking about that. But when it comes to the basics, are people able to communicate data? Are people able to understand data, if that's missing? The whole thing that you're talking about these new Germans? will not make much impact? Wonderful.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

What is one thing that surprises people about you?


Gulrez Khan

What surprises because the reason I'm saying this is because as I said, I'm an introvert person. I do talk a lot and as a kid was a very shy person. And my school makes like the enemy talking, they will say, Okay, what happened to this guy? Right, and what made you just, that's maybe a longer question, but what made you shift or what made you help come out of your comfort zone or talk more to more confident in social situations?




Overcoming Introversion


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Yeah, so I think there are lots of things right.


Gulrez Khan



So as a person grows up to the environment, which has been a grown up like that's where like those things play a key role into how you become as a person. And then like, there are different parts, right? So if you start like, visually like if you can imagine, right, so you start here at one node, and then you go to like, there could be 1234 different paths. You chose one bug, and then it leads to some other parts, right. So there are these different nodes which are connecting. And for me, like that's what happened. As I was telling my daughter, she enjoyed me listening to my stories. And then I was at work. I saw this great presenter called forgetting his name, James Whitaker and Microsoft, like he's an amazing speaker. I will say just check it out. But he is an extrovert. Like he tells stories in a different format. So I attended one of his session. I was amazed. I said, Okay, I cannot do it. I attended another session. He was repeating the session and I was learning new things. Every time I was attending a session. I attended his third session this time I was looking at how he's moving in the stage. And then I'm still thinking I cannot do it. And then he brought another speaker for Paul, Dr. Michelle Dickinson, and she's from New Zealand. I think she's, she's a doctor, and she came to the stage and she was talking about how how her her palms are sweating. So she was talking about how our palms were sweating, how she's shivering right now in front of the stage. And she gave a fantastic presentation. And then that's where I believe that he she was in an introvert, and if she can do it with her, palms, sweating and then sharing, I can do that as well. So that gave me a confidence. And then that's where I tried going to this another node, which is going and presenting to a data club at Microsoft, right? So they call it as a data club I presented. And my key metric over that time was like no one in the audience should go like while I'm speaking, they should not leave in between, and no one went right. And after that presentation, like lots of people like the email me that was the fantastic presentation, and there was a lot of passion and that led to another presentations, people started calling me in different places. And that will gave me confidence. And I said, okay, it works. So again, like I said, God has been very kind to me to put me in these different situations. And then I keep learning from that.




Engaging with Kids


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Yeah, that opens new opportunities, right. So it's something you mentioned also before the call that you're wondering what what could be coming next because always one thing leads to the next and we cannot really predict and that's also not required, but that is what happens when we keep on learning and they are to step in.


Gulrez Khan

Yeah, so I would totally say like for your audience out here who's listening, take that first step. Don't afraid like what would happen. There is always a new step which was waiting for you and which will connect you if you're thinking to start a new career going take that. If you're talking about doing a podcast, we'll do that right above to go do that and see what happens for me like this book thing happened with the some activity for my kids, then doing a workshop for the kids, sharing it online and people appreciating and now writing a book, and I don't know where it will take me but I'm happy with that.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

I'm so yeah, I'm curious whether it's gonna take you and I'm, I'm very positive that it will lead to a new opportunity that new nice places and a lot of impact. We're nearing the end of the episode and what I would like to ask you is if you have one big takeaway, or one thing that people should remember from this episode that you want to share right now.


Gulrez Khan

Yeah, so since we talked a lot about the case, I would say spend quality time with the kids. Another thing another question like someone asked me a brand presentation is what is the challenge I faced when I was teaching data literacy to my kids. The challenges like the issue that I faced was I tried to give them an exercise that hey, do this. I created this thing that he that has this data now create a graph. So this is when like the song I was taught in Holland, they loved it when I was in fourth. So be involved and that's how like, they will learn as well. They will love it. And you have good bonding with the kids.





Connecting with Audience


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Thank you. And where can people find you and your work and your book? I would get? Yeah, so drying data with the cursor.


Gulrez Khan

People will be able to find it on Amazon and people can follow me on LinkedIn is actually a good race car. Right now I work as a data science leader at PayPal so you'll see me over there. So you can follow me over there. And if you find it appropriate, again, like if you don't like it, that's okay. And then I also write a newsletter, which is published every few weeks on LinkedIn. So you can follow there to share see my journey of how I'm teaching data literacy to the kids.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Yeah, fantastic. Thank you very much for sharing that I would recommend everyone to to connect with you follow you your work, get the book drawing with drawing data with gifts, and I really enjoyed speaking today because not only have you shared some really good tips about how to present data, how to convert your numbers into a story but also a bit broader topics like how do you raise kids, right? How do you make sure they keep an open mind they keep their curiosity because if we do that I think that will lead to a better world, not only to more data literacy in organizations and in the world, but also better connections between people and better connections between the parent and the child. So thank you very much for all the work you're doing to contribute to those amazing goals. Thank you so much. for having me.


Gulrez Khan

I'm grateful for the time that he appeared to be connected. Yeah, me too.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Thank you very much again, and enjoy the rest of your day. Thank you.




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