Analyzing data, building mathematical models, and using this information to implement new and improved internal processes and results for our partners is no easy task. Just ask Chenxi Zeng, Data Scientist in the AdColony Seattle office! Part detective, part number-cruncher, Chenxi has lots of experience doing research at Georgia Tech. When he takes a break from his busy schedule, he enjoys hiking and watching magic shows! Chenxi, it’s time to get you AdColonized!
What exactly does a Data Scientist do at AdColony? What’s an average day like for you?
Data Scientists have quite a few responsibilities here, to name some: we study our data, propose new features for the business, answer questions from leadership and operational teams, and build mathematical (most likely, machine learning) models and data pipelines to solve business problems.
My typical day is comprised of one or two business meetings, pulling data to understand the business and see if we can build a new product (this is my favorite part, I feel like I am a detective!), doing experimentations with data (coding) and writing research papers.
Tell us a little about your experiences prior to joining AdColony & how they have prepared you for your role here.
I did research in the field of stochastic optimization in Georgia Tech (model the blood collection schedules and optimize the process by stochastic dynamic programming) and worked as a Research Scientist at Amazon prior to joining AdColony. The research work at Georgia Tech has made a large impact and received prestigious awards from INFORMS (see the introduction video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTBUXMhOrvU). The research and industry experience made me think critically and gain the needed hands-on experience for my role here.
What made AdColony the right fit for you?
AdColony is one of the largest mobile ad platforms. I work with very talented and professional colleague here, from whom I’ve learned how our product (the SDK) works and generates data, how our ad server (together with data science core) calculates and matches our ads to mobile users to generate values. It is a very complicated system, but I find it fun, and I am motivated by the challenges every day. I also like the company culture here, as everyone is nice and friendly, and there are no barriers between teams.
How do you keep growing & learning in what you do?
Firstly, my team (data science team) helped me a lot when I ramped up. Secondly, I am very curious about our business and data, which motivates me to keep learning. I believe being curious is a good thing. Last but not least, it is essential to learn things by ourselves (i.e., there are a lot of online documents).
What are your hobbies or activities that you look forward to doing on the weekends or after work?
I like to watch movies and hike in the Northwest. There are quite a few hiking spots in the Seattle area, for example, I like Iron Horse Trail and Poo Poo Point. I love watching magic shows, especially figuring out the tricks by myself. However, there are still quite a few shows that I cannot understand. For example, the David Berglas Effect, but I am very close! 🙂
Which app is keeping you engaged lately? Why?
8 Ball Pool and Lumosity. 8 Ball Pool is such a stupid game that everyone can be addicted; Lumosity is a brain training app that I find very helpful. More importantly, I installed those apps via our AdColony ads!
What’s one thing not many people know about you that you’re willing to share?
One of the amazing things I can do is that I can play the gaming apps at work, where I learn how the ads are chosen and shown to the customers. There are not many companies out there that let you play games while working!
Do you have a nickname at work? If so, is there a story behind it?
Sorry, no nickname…
What is your favorite moment you’ve had with the AdColony team so far?
I initiated the funnel analysis while I was doing the traffic investigation. It looked like a byproduct, however, it got a lot of attention when I presented the preliminary results to leadership, and now it has become an important project I am working on.
Each AdColonized feature shines a light on a different member of the AdColony team. From favorite apps and hobbies to dislikes and odd secrets, we cover it all! Who do you want to see on the next AdColonized? Tweet it to @AdColony. For the latest AdColony mobile news and updates, follow @AdColony on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or connect on Linkedin.