top of page

Learning Data Science, self-awareness, and how to tell a Data story

Updated: Mar 14, 2023


MindSpeaking Podcast Episode 13 - Ken Jee , Head of Data Science at Sports Consulting Group





▶️ Watch the podcast with video on YouTube:


Timestamps:

00:00:00 Introduction

00:00:22 Introduction to the guest

00:02:37 Why do you do everything?

00:04:14 How he started his Data journey

00:06:30 When do you know it's time to switch/add a new category to your existing skill tech?

00:09:02 Passion for reading

00:11:22 What are the five-second moments of your life's career?

00:15:02 Did other people help you with your transformation?

00:25:01 How do you become more self-aware?

00:28:26 Do you think people in data are good at analyzing themselves?

00:31:17 What are other obstacles in getting to know yourself?

00:34:28 How important it is to build something that is scalable?

00:38:20 First YouTube video

00:39:47 Where do you get your inspiration from?

00:41:21 How has data storytelling benefited you in your data career?

00:43:27 Learning from athletes

00:45:46 What are your favorite ways to learn?

00:51:06 What's one thing that surprises people all about you?

00:52:34 Job you're terrible at?

00:53:53 Takeaway

00:56:38 - Conclusion




🎙️Listen to your favorite channel:




Introducing Ken Jee

Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Today, the guest of the show is Ken Jee. He's the head of data science of sports Consulting Group. They improve the performance of athletes with data. Also, he's a content creator. He has a YouTube channel with over 200,000 data scientists who are a fan of his videos that helped them in their data career. Next to that, Ken is the host of the podcast against nearest neighbors. I love that name. He has a background in computer science, but a must in computer science and a concentration in AI and machine learning. Next to all of that, he's an adjunct professor at DePaul University. Ken is a former professional golf player, and he was using data to improve his game he's telling you about that in this episode. Also sharing his five second moment in his life. He will tell you how to communicate with people who are less data minded minded. He's talking about books and how he got too crazy good at learning new things. We discuss a bunch of topics and as always, when I talked to Ken, we go a bit deeper. I learned a lot this episode, and I hope you enjoy it and take away as much as I did. Enjoy today's episode. I can see you again.


Ken Jee:

Great to see you too. How are things?




Why do you do everything?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Really good. It's really good. I'm so happy to speak to you. Again. We've spoken a few times. I've been a guest on your podcast. Thank you for the invitation. And of course I'm really curious and looking forward to to turn the tables now to talk more about you because I know you have a great message to share. And of course I also want to know a bit more about your story, your backstory. But first I want to talk about something else because I know you'd like to book Start with Why. So today I also want to start with why and an introduction I sum up so many things you're doing and so many activities, so many professional things. I know you have a lot of hobbies. So why do you why do you do all this? You live in Hawaii, Hawaii, you can chill on the beach the whole day. So why do you why do you do everything?


Ken Jee:

It's a really good question. First, thank you so much for having me on the show. I think for me, I realized at a fairly young age. I always wanted to be doing something I always wanted to be pursuing something I wanted to be striving towards something. And that for me is where I found enjoyment. It's where I found happiness in the process of pursuit. When I'm bored when I'm just sitting there. I think that those are valuable moments to absorb and to reflect and to think about the things that that give the pursuit meaning but for me, I have to be constantly moving because that's where I where I essentially find the most joy right when I was playing or when I was playing golf competitively professionally. I loved going to the driving range and just hitting balls and just hitting balls and refining a craft trying to improve a little bit every single day. And you know, of course in college and during my earlier life. I spent a lot of time and I enjoyed going out to bars and doing stuff like that and having more recreation, but I just didn't find as much meaning in that I don't know if it was like what all tied it together towards the sort of unifying goal. But for me, just just having something that I was striving for was what the fun thing was it wasn't necessarily reaching that end product.





How he started his data journey


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Right. So the incremental improvements also are very rewarding for you and in the moment playing golf improving your game using data to improve your game. And so tell us about a bit about that about golf and how the data your data journey started.


Ken Jee:

Yeah, so I was not interested in data or technology in the slightest throughout high school and throughout most of college. And it wasn't until I think it was my junior year of college I sort of reached a stall in my competitive golf career or wasn't exactly getting better. And I at the same time I was taking an economics course and I saw how we could look at the data in economics and see trends and understand things and this this concept of diminishing marginal return was really irrelevant to me. So if we spend a lot of time working on one thing, we're not going to get as good returns practicing that thing over and over as if we spend time on another category. So maybe I'm hitting a lot of iron shots. The amount I can improve and improving my iron game is gonna lessen with time, the more I focus on it, if I focused on a different area of my game, I might get a greater return. And across all those different categories of my performance, they might have different different rates of return. So I could spend maybe a lot of time practicing my driving, and that would still produce greater returns than working on my chipping or something like that over the long run. So that to me was this groundbreaking paradigm shifting concept is wow, I can like dedicate how I practice differently and that can change how I perform in the long run. That eventually led me to start collecting more data on all my rounds. I wanted to see how I was performing on the different hole types. I wanted to understand the different areas of my game that I needed improvement. And that led me down this giant rabbit hole of golf statistics. And that laid the groundwork for my entire career going forward. Actually, I really got excited in it even after I stopped playing competitive golf. And it's essentially what I do for a living outside of the content creation stuff.





When do you know it's time to switch/add a new category to your existing skill tech?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Awesome. And if you talk about diminishing marginal returns, how do you look at that in from a career perspective because if you want to start into the data field, right, there's a lot of a lot of time you need to spend on you know, analyzing data and working on your technical skills working on communication skills. When do you know that when do you know? What is the moment to switch to a new category? Or to add a category to your existing skills tech?


Ken Jee:

Honestly, that's a question or a problem that I have not personally solved yet. But I think a good thing to do is to evaluate what skills you do have first so you know what to work on. Right? So to me, I know that I have interpersonal skills I quite enjoy and I think I'm pretty good at public speaking. And I'm pretty good at the creativity side I can tell a very good story. I also think I'm reasonably good. Technically, I'm by no means best of class there. But the combination of those two skills to me is fairly compelling for employability if we need to get more opportunities and whatever that might be. And so I see that the combined effort of those things is a lot more valuable than those skills individually by themselves. And I would look at sort of these compounding returns between two different assets or skill classes, rather than Oh, I have to maximise on an individual category, and then I have to work on something else. So you know, there's this idea that I took the GMAT a long time ago, right. And I did not great in the math section. Actually, I think I was in like this 78th 60th percentile, something like that. And then in the the grammar section or the reading and grammar, I was in the I think it was maybe like 91st 92nd percentile. And overall, I was in the I think 90th percentile, right that the power of those combined returns is actually a lot greater than what you expect them to be together. Right. I mean, I actually think I was in like the 89th percentile in in reading and grammar and overall I was I was higher total and aggregate, which I thought was very interesting. But the two categories combined, make up more than just the two isolated.





Do you do have any experience or knowledge in the field that seems to be unrelated with data but still benefits you as a head of data science or content creator?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

I love that perspective. Also, because fields are changing so rapidly, and I also believe that we can learn so much from seemingly unrelated, unrelated categories, right, unrelated topics. What's your take on that? Do you do have any experience or knowledge in the field that seems to be unrelated with data but still benefits you as a head of data science or content creator? What do you think?


Ken Jee:

Well, we're both really passionate about this. So I see your bookshelf in the background. I've hit in all my books, but you know that I love to read a lot of nonfiction in the psychology and personal development realm. To me understanding goal setting understanding why we do certain things, why we pursue certain things is unbelievably valuable. And when managing people when working with other people striving to understand their motivations, their goals, and their perspective is always unbelievably valuable. So some would argue that that's a part of every single facet of life related to community building. But to me, those are just really interesting topics that that I personally am always pursuing and trying to understand, but have obviously bled into my work. It helps me to tell better stories. It helps me appeal to people's emotions, right? It also helps me to communicate better with individuals on my podcast, I'm able to hopefully get to these really meaningful conversations, rather than just sort of scratching the surface of what is, you know, what's the best way to break into data right? Or, or like these super high level questions, in every conversation I've had with you we've gotten beyond that surface level and have talked about things that I deemed to be significantly more meaningful than just, oh, this is you know, this is a functional thing related to utility of this information, projects me to do this activity rather than this information. prompts me to look more internally and evaluate and reconsider and and progress, my mentality and my and my philosophy forward.





What are the five-second moments of your life's career?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

I love that and I would love to deep dive deeper. into self awareness and some things you've you've learned and what what changed you. You also touched upon storytelling, and you recommended me a book I have it here. It's a book story sorry, worthy by Matthew Dix. I put the link in the in the show notes. It's a great book about storytelling, not necessarily about data, but I'm sure there are many lessons and ideas you can take into the data world or any world, basically. But one of the main things one of the main themes of this book is it says that every story great story is about a five second moment of her life. And the purpose of the story is to bring that moment to declare greatest clarity possible. So we're talking about your stories. I'm very curious what is what are some of the five seconds moments of your story of your career?


Ken Jee:

That's a really good question that, you know, honestly, the pivotal moment in my story happened in 20 Oh, really was 2011. knows as 2010 And so I was in college, I was kind of coasting along, was a pretty much a C student didn't know any direction where I wanted to go, what I was interested in pursuing. And, you know, I wake up pretty hungover. I think it was a Saturday morning. No, it was in the middle of the week. It was like a Wednesday morning. I don't know why I was hungover on a Wednesday but took a call from my dad. Right? And I thought it was a little weird. Usually I call my dad and it's it's later in the day. And he picks it up and he says, kind of, I don't know how to tell you this. Your cousin passed away. So my cousin was a year older than me, the closest person to me in the entire world. And without any warning. He was, you know, he had a freak heart attack at 21 years old. And that day I went out I didn't know what to do. I went to the golf course I just hit balls. mindlessly, I just walked around I contemplated my entire existence. And I realized that if I wasn't pursuing something, if I was just coasting by, if I was just in life and riding the wave, I wasn't going to make anything of my life. And my case study right there. My cousin passing away just a year older than me, suggested that, you know, it could all be gone the next day and I wouldn't have made any mark I wouldn't have done anything I wouldn't have, have like, found meaning or pursued anything, which is what I find a tremendous amount of meaning in. And from that moment on. I went from a C student to basically a straight A student. I went from kind of dabbling, and not giving my all in golf to really pursuing it professionally. I went from being someone who was letting life sort of me to someone that took control of my life and made decisions that I thought were best for the short term as well as for the long term. And honestly, I think the broader story and that is obviously something terrible happened, right? I wouldn't wish for that to happen again, even though I've had a tremendous amount of positive life changes from it. But the fact that I was able to transform my life in virtually a week, I was a different person, a week after that happened than I was before. is unbelievable and unbelievably inspiring to anyone. Right? I mean, I was this this person that didn't care that there was apathetic to everything. And something in me lit up something and be transformed and a very short period of time. That kick started the journey to who I am today.





Did other people help you with your transformation?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Well great story. Thanks. Thanks so much for sharing that and you mentioned that you transformed in that week and you're playing golf golf hitting balls. In that week, did you speak to a lot of people where you're really by herself that did other people help you in that transformation? How how did that go?


Ken Jee:

So in terms of transformation, I should I should be clear, my mindset completely transformed in that week. I felt like I had something very meaningful to live for rather than I was just exploring and just there and was just cruising, right? I I'm who I am now is very different from who I was then. Even after that transformation in that period of time. I don't remember talking to too many people. I mean, there weren't too many people that could that could relate to my situation at school. I obviously talked to my to my dad quite a bit. I talked to my family. But what I really started doing after that period of time as I started reading, unbelievably aggressively, I read so many different books on designing your life and personal philosophy. One of the ones that really made a true impact on me was Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins. That one is sort of a complete audit of your life. It's it's something where you go in and you reevaluate a lot of your preconceived notions. You understand what your value system is, and you try to use those to pivot you towards your goals and the things that you'd like to achieve. And that idea that I wasn't fixed in space, the idea that I could change my mind the way the idea that I could change my career and my philosophy and my trajectory that I learned through those books was so empowering to me that I wouldn't say I got addicted but I really, I really double down and and I wanted to learn more. I mean, I found something so powerful in books at the time where someone you know, take Tony Robbins, he could distill years decades of experience and learnings into a book that I could read in a week, I could get someone's entire life story basically all of their condensed valuable knowledge in a couple hours if I learned to read really fast to me that was that was such a life changing experience and I hated reading in school. Up until college, I probably never read a book like a full book paid cover to cover. I would spark note it I would do everything I could not to read it. And from then on, I said, Wow, this is such a valuable resource for information. There's so much there that I can tangibly use to impact my life. How was I not doing this before? And essentially, the rest is history.





Passion for reading


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

The rest is history. Yeah. Yeah. I love your passion for reading. I shared that passion. And for me, it was the same I didn't read in high school. I only had I only read what I had to read right? Until I discovered some of the books you're describing as well and it gets something a kick kicked off a new, like a new chapter and some some people say that personal development books are I don't know a bit shallow or cheesy. What's your opinion on that?


Ken Jee:

I think some of them are. Without a doubt. I really like to read the diversity of like a wide breadth of them because you can then pick and choose what you think is cheesy or not cheesy, meaningful or not meaningful and I also don't think that they're particularly difficult to read. Usually they're pretty light, they try to make it fun. That's one of the ways that they differentiate. So it's not this really dense, rich cognitive task that you have to do. And a lot of the times it's reinforcing some of the same messages. It's a nice for me to have those reminders constantly. So, of course, there are books that are going to be cheesy, they're going to be over the top that are going to be maybe even counterproductive. But I think the vast majority of people writing these books is there to help us to help you learn from their experiences. And I would say I generally focus more on the self help space related to science. Or were like specific use cases I recently read that never split the difference, which some would say oh, that's a negotiation book. That's whatever it is. That to me is still in the category of self help, right? You're building a skill you're learning to negotiate or Converse or build empathy better. Those are very valuable skills to me for personal development for self help.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah, it's a great book, not just for negotiations, but just in in general right if you have not just in negotiation in a professional sense, but also if you have a angry spouse or girlfriend or whatever, you know, how to not negotiate with them, but understand them better and understand your own impulses and emotions.


Ken Jee:

It's funny that book probably helped me more with podcasting than any book I've ever read. Because the way that you build rapport with your guest is one of the most important things you have to make them feel comfortable. You have to make them want to continue talking you have to make them want to expand on the things that they're talking about. And most of negotiation is just letting the other person talk and, and making hypotheses about how they feel. So one of the big things in the book is labeling. Right? So it's like, it seems like you're really interested in this, this conversation. Topic, and then someone that prompts someone to articulate how they actually feel about the topic. Another thing is like mirroring and saying some of the last couple words that builds that builds more of a connection. And then the last one I really liked is using specific types of questions. So questions with how or what they prompt the other person to continue with a dialogue rather than just answering with a yes or no. So I think that there's there's so many things there like little things like that, that have helped me improve my ability to connect with people in general





What are some of the things you do to make sure it's not just consumption, but actually new knowledge or action?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

and I think the fact that you name three lessons from the top of your head shows that you also remember stuff right and put it into action. How do you how do you manage the three? Well, still, there are books I've I've I've read and still I, I I struggle to come up with these kind of things from the top of my head and I've been starting to take note notes and slowing down my reading as well just to take it in really in instead of trying to read as many pages or books in a year. What are some of the things you do to make sure it's not just consumption, but actually new knowledge or action?


Ken Jee:

It's interesting. I actually have almost the opposite approach where I read. I try to read a lot of books, but I try to make it so many of them have parallel themes. So rather than me just like memorizing what's what's relevant in a specific book, I find if I'm, if a theme is reinforced for me multiple times, that's how I remember it. So you know some of the why questions, the conversation things. Another book I read called Captivate by I think it's Vanessa Van Edwards. She talks about those things and pulling on threads and how to make an interesting conversation with with essentially anyone so I think for me, there's there's conscious overlap and a lot of the things that I read and if multiple people who are well researched well studied that care about these topics are talking about similar concepts, then that's probably worth remembering and and I naturally am more inclined to take note.




Personal development or investing or improving yourself to become happier


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah, to to like the ideas of naval Ravi Kant because he's also very much into science and also maybe personal development or investing or improving yourself becoming happier. So maybe also into personal development category and very science based or science focused. What's, what's your take?


Ken Jee:

Yeah, I love his work. I read the Novell almanac. So someone essentially went through and took all of his tweets. All of his I think he like basically transcribed podcasts. He was on and took all of the highlights from what navall talks about, and I really enjoyed I think that he gives off this sort of whimsical philosopher vibe. Which, you know, I think it might be a little overplayed, it's like alcohol is this, this, this guy who's just like, He's beyond us. I think we have to remember he's human too, and he's constantly learning. But the things that he says the insights that he provides are unbelievably valuable, but a lot of the times you know, he's just recycling things and he does reference where he got his information from. But he is in my mind, one of the great consolidators of our time. He's so well read, he understands all these different philosophies, and he's able to take those, combine them, wrestle with them. And regurgitate things that are insightful and impactful.




How do you become more self aware?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah. I think is his lessons that ideas he shares are very interesting because he combines ideas from various fields again, right. It's about about leverage how to build a business and I read the book three weeks ago in Uganda. Oh, Robben Island listened to it because the roads in Uganda are rather bumpy, and it's impossible to read a book without becoming nauseous. But I really enjoyed it. So it's a book I would recommend as well. And navall also talks about self awareness. And you mentioned before, I'm curious, how do you how do you become more self aware? What have you seen in the last 10 years? What what changed?


Ken Jee:

The single biggest self awareness hack or the single biggest thing that has changed my self awareness is having podcast conversations with people? Because when I hear someone else talk, when I hear about their story, I start to bounce my own story off of that, what would I have done in this situation and how do I feel about the way that they approach this? Would I have made the same decision as they did? Given the same circumstances or, you know, there's so many sparks firing in my brain when I'm having these conversations? The best way to reflect is is essentially with a mirror or from these case studies where you're understanding these different examples are you're evaluating your role playing in your brain. And I've learned a tremendous amount about myself from just having those conversations. People also ask you questions. So when I'm prompted, and I'm caught off guard or there's that moment of like, oh, you kind of, oh, shoot, what do I do? You start to really get honest with yourself at a certain point in time. I also meditate quite a bit. I think that that's really important. I journal, I write things down I if a thought comes to me, I really I really just focus on it and try to make space rather than always just looking at my phone all the time, which is becoming harder and harder, but I think one of the most valuable things that you can do is just give yourself time to think something you know, I grew up as an only child and my entire childhood I go, I find it Yeah. And and, to me, I was used to spending time alone. I got around a lot of people and they're, they're scared of their own thoughts. They're scared to be alone there. They always need someone around. And I don't I think it's very difficult to find happiness. If you're uncomfortable without silence without you know, you're uncomfortable with silence. You're uncomfortable with just hearing your own thoughts and being in a room by yourself. Boredom is a different thing. But discomfort with your mind is is the scariest thing for me because I genuinely I'm very extroverted, but I still enjoy time to myself because you know, it's, it's what was my baseline for quite a long time on when I was growing up?





Do you think people in data are good at analyzing themselves?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah. So you you enjoy time by herself. I think if we look at many data scientists, data analysts people working in the data space, people that have an analytical mind, according to themselves. Many people say those people are not as good socially. And you are, but I know there's this stereotype that people are not great people that work in data. On the other hand, self awareness is a big component of getting along well. with other people because you need to understand yourself. Do you think this is something I'm coming up right now? So I'm curious if you agree, that analytical thinkers people in data, they think they're good at analyzing themselves? Better than other people, other type of thinkers or feelers?


Ken Jee:

That's a really good question. So what I just described is that I understand myself in two ways, right through introspection and through conversation and through collaborating with other people are talking with other people. I'm able to shape my opinions of different things. I have so many more examples to to understand how I feel about things. When you're purely analytical. You're just looking internally and you can only evaluate on what you feel. So I think that analytical people this is a vast generalization, perhaps focus more on internal understanding, just looking at what's going on inside of them. And they're not quite as attuned to what's going on outside of them playing multiple scenarios understanding how the how the world works, world works as they interact with it. And I think for me that that's that's why perhaps some analytical people aren't quite as effective at communication is because they are only evaluating Hey, I would like to be communicated this with this way. This is my personal how I like receiving information and whatever it might be, rather than realizing that there's a breadth of how different people like to be interacted with. You know, something that is always present to me is, you know, you say you have a big zit on your forehead, right. You go out and you think everyone is looking at it. But if you flip that around, and you start looking around, do you ever notice when people that you've never met before have a giant head on their forehead unless it's taking up their entire face? No, you don't. Right. And so this idea that we are hyper aware of our own circumstances, when even other people don't really care about it. It is a perfect example of what I'm just describing, right? We're over evaluating on what we feel, and not interacting with the world enough and observing it for what it is to see that really a lot of the time. Other people don't care what you feel individually.





What are other obstacles in getting to know yourself?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah, exactly. I think even as a name, the spotlight effect. So I think it's something almost everyone suffers from and almost everyone lives in their head every now and then and doesn't make space and you say you do and it becomes more difficult. You're saying staying away from your phone and this aid of distraction, as I always call it. What are other obstacles? In getting to know yourself?


Ken Jee:

So obviously, we'd mentioned technology that for me is the single largest one. Also, the one that's facing me a lot right now is good opportunities. So we always think about, oh, you know, I have so much stuff to do, but there's so many things that I want to do write and if I want to do so many things, I'm very busy. And if I'm very busy, I don't make time for myself. And so sometimes it's really important to say no to good things, to make way for great things but also make time for yourself and your your development and to reevaluate. I'm reading this book essentialism right now, which is talks a lot about that I've I've also in terms of parallel books. I read the one thing which was a transformative book for me as well which is essentially like narrowing scope and focusing down but I think the same philosophies associated with cutting back on on work or on focusing on just the select few things that are relevant. One of the most relevant things or the most important things you can ever have possibly in your life is your peace of mind and your and your, your personal understanding.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

And then how do you make the choice? How do you evaluate what are your take on this additional project that you do? Enjoy? But might add to your Yeah, or adds to your workload that might cut down your time with yourself time for self awareness.


Ken Jee:

That's one I'm still figuring out. I'm in the process of scaling back quite a bit of the stuff I do right now. And you know, it's like, it's like, abandoning your children almost in some sense, where there's the sunk cost fallacy where you put time in or you see so much tremendous upside. One metric that I constantly fall back on is current utility versus the size of the tail of a project or an endeavor. So if I think something is going to bring me short term enjoyment, and also long term payoff, those are the types of things that I will pursue wholeheartedly. If there's just long term payoff. Depends how good the payoff is and how much I have to sacrifice in the short term. If there's just short term payoff. I try not to I like almost try not to ever do those. Unless it's food related. That is my My only advice so. So yeah, I mean, that's generally the rating scale that I give things.






How important it is to build something that is scalable?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

I like that idea. And how important is it because you you work online, or you are content creator, right to be a successful YouTube channel, you do a lot. You also have online trainings. I know you also do live sessions. So presentations, workshops, how important is it for you to build something that is scalable, because if you do a live session, that is great, but it's not very scalable, but it might be more fun to interact with people. What's your perspective on that?


Ken Jee:

I try to focus 80 to 90% of my work on scalability. And the goal for everything is to be as scalable as possible I start a new business The plan is to systematize it as quickly as possible. The for YouTube the plan is for me to make the effort of creating videos as low as possible and the Create and the production quality and the value of the videos as high as possible. Those are always the longer term visions and goals doesn't always work out that way. Not necessarily. To be perfectly honest, there are a lot of things that I do just to say that I could do them and then I probably won't pursue them that many more times. So for example, I gave a keynote speech about a month ago. I enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun, but the return on investment for me, even though I'm getting paid to speak after I've done one keynote speech, I can say I'm a keynote speaker does, you know if I do three, is that any different than doing one really? If I do 510? Is that really different than doing one? Not really? There's massive diminishing marginal returns after the first one. And the amount of publicity, the amount of opportunities, the amount of these two types of things that I get from doing something like that are dwarfed in comparison to the YouTube video that I make that that gets a couple of 100,000 views or something like that. And so why would I spend so much time preparing and pursuing one of those things? After the first one, if I can spend that same time and effort to make something that produces returns in perpetuity? So I probably will do more speeches just because I like them and but at the same time, that's where sort of how my mindset works. Is that okay, there's a lot of upfront costs are that with average return is it worth it to do it after? After getting a title of keynote speaker? I don't know the answer to that. Things on the other hand, like live panels where I get to talk with my friends for an hour, and I get paid to do that, I will do those all the time, because there's utility in in having those conversations. The upfront cost is virtually nothing. I don't have to prepare for a panel. I just go talk. So it's something like this right? I don't have to prepare for this necessarily. I get to come talk hang out with you one of my friends. And so the utility goes far beyond any financial or awareness or any of these types of gains that I could associate with these. So that's generally how I approach almost all of my scheduling or live versus recorded scalable interactions.





First Youtube video


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

It's very insightful. Maybe not the insightful to the audience, but that's at least very insightful to me because right now, I this is something I'm trying to adopt, try to focus more on scalability, I've been putting off, you know, creating some automations and, you know, making myself more scalable because I, I still don't know don't have an online course by the time this is out I probably do. So maybe it is a commitment that I need to need to keep but I, for me, it's hard to say no against a new project that comes up if people invite me and it's a very good opportunity both in what I can learn and what I can bring, and what I can earn. So it's Yeah, so I think I either need to raise prices or say more, no more often. You also mentioned YouTube a few times. And I'm curious if we go back to the beginning. Do you remember creating your first YouTube video?


Ken Jee:

Yeah, so I made my first YouTube video for a class I just I had a project and one of the two ways we could submit it was either YouTube or Vimeo. And so I just put it on YouTube. I didn't realize you could make an unlisted video and share the link. I just put it up there. Didn't think about it for three months. And I looked back and it had I think it was like 1000, maybe 2000 views at a time. And to me that was astronomical. I thought, wow, people are actually interested in watching content like this. And at that time, I wasn't a huge consumer of YouTube. I wasn't, you know, I guess I would go there. I find some videos sometimes. But after that, I realized maybe there's an appetite for more storytelling. Maybe there's an appetite for someone for me to tell a story to someone who was in a similar position to me maybe a year ago and I started making videos and it was it was history from there. I also really enjoyed it. I had so much fun making the video for my class.





Where do you get your inspiration from?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Nice, nice for such a single video ends up into a whole YouTube channel and you post on a regular basis where do you get the inspiration from?


Ken Jee:

So you say I post on a regular basis even the last month I've taken basically off I finally posted my first new video in forever yesterday, which was actually very liberating to take a month off. I realized that I did some polling, I looked at the data and people are not super concerned with me posting regularly. They care most about the utility of the videos and what they got out of the individual video experiences. And that was a massive load off of me. But inspiration comes from talking with the community inspiration comes from just me thinking about what I would like to create and what I think would be interesting to the audience and sort of finding a way to merge those two things. So an exercise I do is I'll basically sit down I used to do this more often and just write 10 ideas down on a piece of paper. I used to do this every day for business ideas. And you start to just train that creation muscle and you start to snowball ideas in a very different way. You get more nuanced you start to go down these rabbit holes and honestly the ideation process is one of the easiest parts. Probably the hardest part is the detail orientation and making sure that for me this story makes sense and people want to watch it all the way through. You know those are those are where I think I'm really trying to focus.





How to tell a compelling story


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

And if you talk about storytelling in your YouTube videos, you've Of course you've learned a lot about storytelling how to tell a compelling story. How has it benefited you in your data?


Ken Jee:

Career or in my data career tremendously. So for my work, I'd say about half of it is the actual analysis and then half of it is conveying information. Whether it's through PowerPoint slides, whether it's through talking people through what what I've been working on and I think that portion of the work is what single handedly has made my work at my company successful. So we're delivering a lot of information to professional athletes, mostly people who do not have a business or a data background. And the ability to articulate things in terms that they understand is really important. And I have to be clear here. So these athletes, the people we work with, they're incredibly intelligent. They're just not necessarily versed in the same languages and tools that we use. So I have to think very creatively, how do I put all of this analysis in the same terms that they're familiar with that they know better than than anyone else? So talking in sports terms, talking and terminology that that they really like their lexicon, and for me that's been one of the most difficult things but also the most rewarding things. Is, is being able to speak different languages within the English language.






Learning from athletes


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Right, that makes sense. So speaking, speaking, the language of those sports, that the athletes is one thing that helped you are there any other things that helped you? Yeah, understand their roles and step into their shoes and understand what they need it maybe even at the beginning of the process, right, because now we're talking about presenting your work, that may be the beginning phase where you talk with them and understand what they need and how they currently measure their performance or how you can help them. Is there anything else you've learned, you can share?


Ken Jee:

Yeah, so there's two things. So first, I did have a little bit of an advantage because I played a lot of sports at a high level. So there is that implicit trust that's associated with that. Something that we tried really early on is asking for feedback. And the funny thing is, is that if you're so far out of out of familiarity with data or the business side, you really don't know what feedback to give, because it's all pretty new to you. So you don't necessarily know how to articulate what would be better when it's all in the realm of the unknown. And to me, that was really interesting as well. How do you get better if there isn't a mechanism to tell you what direction to go and so we started iterating. We started prototyping and trying different things and putting that out there to give a lot of the people that we work with a baseline. So we could say Do you like this reporting style, but and this reporting style, do you like when it's communicated this way, rather than this way, and that helped us to be able to frame exactly or closer to what, you know, what they would be interested in, in seeing what would be most valuable to them. And that also gave us the opportunity to show our capabilities, the different things that we could produce. So I think that there is a really interesting lesson in there is that like a lot of people they don't they don't know what they want until they see it. It's very different one a lot of from, you know, what the business textbooks and whatever it is, whatever it says like, listen to your customer. They'll tell you exactly what they want, whatever it is, no, there's unarticulated needs that are out there. And sometimes the only way to teach those out is to look at behavior. Is to prototype and try different things and experiment.





What are your favorite ways to learn?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Right. And I think it's something that happens very often is that people create something and not really communicate or check or get feedback and then present something that is not desirable or that people don't want or maybe they said they want that. But you don't really check it in a in a middle. What are your favorite ways to learn because you mentioned books, but what are the ways to do learn?


Ken Jee:

So I would be a hypocrite if I or if I didn't say that I did online learning and YouTube and those types of things. I think that watching video is a really compelling way for a lot of people to consume information and to get an overarching sort of umbrella knowledge for things. I try to do as much hands on stuff as I can so if I wanted to learn how to knit, I would go knit, I would watch a couple of videos and then get my hands dirty. And I think that that process is is pretty valuable for for almost anything you approach. I mean, for the last almost a year now. I've been training jiu jitsu pretty consistently. That's something I've been unbelievably excited about. It sort of works my mind and my body at the same time. And the process that I use is essentially I will watch a bunch of YouTube videos. I will go train and try to implement it in practice or drilling. Then I will go and try and implement it in like a more. They call it a role in jujitsu where you're where it's more competitive, you're trying to hurt the other person, but it's a match. And then afterwards, I will take notes on what I could improve upon. I will sit there and meditate which has been shown to help improve the rate of consuming information. And then I will do it all over again for anything I'm trying to pursue and keep up to date. And so I think that that, that that process sort of articulates how any learning process could work is right you try to get some overall understanding. You learn the specifics by actually doing it and toying with it. You see how it works in the real world. Then you observe, get feedback, and then you sort of contemplate it a little bit and then go through the cycle all over again. And then after you've quote unquote learned a move, you can still you don't have to necessarily watch all the YouTube videos on it again, you can drill it you can you can practice and toy with it. And you can apply it when you're you're competing and when you're when you're doing it in a real world scenario, consistently and that's how you sort of build up that that memory or that comfort with it.



VR's role in learning new skills


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

You also mentioned video and watching videos can certainly help. I'm wondering, do you think VR has a has a role here in learning new skills or learning new new things?


Ken Jee:

I mean, I think it absolutely could. You know, I think I'm open to any medium that could be valuable. My main concern with VR is that it's so immersive that you know, we're sort of giving up a lot more of just our space than more than just our like, cognition to it. Right. So once you're in VR, you know, you're a lot more prone to look at notifications because they pop up right in front of your face, you're a lot more tempted by the games that are also on your VR headset, like I have an Oculus, and I try to use it as sparingly as possible because once I go in, I'm just completely, you know, looking all over the place. It's so fascinating to me. I am active actively trying to get less involved with technology. Even you know, even though I make content online, essentially for a living, but I again I wouldn't write off any technology for learning I would just look at the other side of it and say Could this also be detrimental in some way?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Right. And I think very often the answer is yes. In my experience. If I if I look at my own habits of of using my phone, my laptop, it's so hard to push them away. So it's so addicting.


Ken Jee:

Yeah, unbelievably addicting. And I mean, that to me is the scariest thing is I didn't have a cell phone until I think it was high school or something right? Or what we would consider a modern smartphone. And I see kids who are like, you know, seven 810 with cell phones now. And it's one of those things where I look at my technology viewing behavior, and I'm conscious of well, I'm addicted to this, but there's no conscious addiction with kids that age. It's just how things are just you know, they're what they're used to. And to me that's even scarier is when you you have this addiction and you're unaware of it, or you have this compulsion to do something and you're unaware of it. I mean, I'm very interested to see what the implications are of that in the longer term.





What's one thing that surprises people all about you?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Exactly. And the interesting thing or scary thing is that the research doesn't exist, right. We don't have the data yet. Yeah, various I would like to to ask some quick questions to to also give some more background in your your life. So yeah, we go rapid fire. Round. The first question is, what's one thing that surprises people about you?


Ken Jee:

That I'm not as tall as I appear online? How tall are you? Like 5'8" or 5'9" But I think based on my presence and my personality, people expect that I'm larger than life.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah, I did a live even second question, what is your favorite place to travel?


Ken Jee:

I think I'm here. So growing up, I would always travel to Hawaii and I guess I live here now. So I'm trying to try to think of anywhere I prefer to travel to and I can't really think of any right now maybe one of the other islands in the short term.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

You should have said Amsterdam.


Ken Jee:

But I've never been so I can't Ah, yeah. So I when I do can't say


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

it's your favorite one. Exactly. Maybe in a year. So the third question is, will you live in a wide rest of your whole life the rest of your life?


Ken Jee:

No, I'm actually planning to move back to the mainland United States. It's not 100% Certain but I'm I Utah pretty heavily.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Alright by Utah a lot of really good outdoors


Ken Jee:

is a good community there. Those are the those are two main ones. I love skiing. I love you know, there's just a really solid community when I when I went and visited recently.





Job you're terrible at?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Awesome. Okay, last question. What job would you be terrible at?


Ken Jee:

Terrible at? Oh, that's an interesting one. So my girlfriend is what's known as a applied behavioral analyst. And so she works with, like neurodiverse children to help them improve their interpersonal skills. And I don't think I could do her job. You know, I think people who work with children are absolute saints. I love kids, but in in timebox increments that I have control over. I plan to have children one day and those types of things but to work in that environment every day is really really it's really, really awesome and something I have a tremendous amount of respect for.






Takeaway


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Yeah, me too. So last questions. First of all, we talked a lot about deep we had quite a deeper, deeper conversation about a lot of different things about about learning about books about your business, about YouTube about data. About your career about your five second moment for me. I'm really happy with the episode already. Talking selflessly here. But what is one big takeaway you want listeners to to get from this episode?


Ken Jee:

I think the biggest thing for me is, you know, I alluded to it in my five second moment, I didn't realize this was so deeply ingrained in my mind and in my life is that you really do have the power to instigate change in your life. If you make the decision to or you realize that you have the power to I think taking control over a lot of the things in your life is one of the most valuable and meaningful and meaningful things that you can do. And the only thing that's truly holding you back from doing that as is yourself are your preconceived notions about who you are, and so reevaluating who you are looking introspectively looking at who you are through interacting with other people. Those are the ways that you can evaluate where you stand and where you potentially want to be.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

Powerful ending. Thank you very much, Ken. Where can people connect with you follow you, of course, your YouTube channel. Go check it out, because I'm a fan. And many, many more. So where can people find you?


Ken Jee:

So YouTube is probably the best place my podcasts Ken's nearest neighbors Gilbert has been an incredible guests there as well. On LinkedIn is another good place. I think those are those are the three main ones that I'm most up to date with. I'm on Twitter and Instagram, but I try to limit my presence and my scrolling. There is


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

fantastic. I'll put the links in the show notes so people can find you there. Again, it has been a truly oppressed pleasure talking with you. Every time we talk. I learned something and I took notes myself as well. Maybe you've seen if you're watching video. So I learned new stuff and I'm sure the listeners have learned new things at all. And I really enjoyed talking with you again, and I hope to speak to again soon.


Ken Jee:

I learned so much from you as well and I'm 100% going to steal your your five second moment for one of my podcast episodes. I really, really like that being able to sort of refine everything down to a very small thing like what are you all about that that's such a cool thing.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom:

That's it. Thank you so much again, and let's speak soon.


Ken Jee:

Amazing. All right


13 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page