What is your job at Lyssn?
I’m a data scientist and Python developer.
For those of us not familiar, what does that entail?
As a Data Analyst it is my job to analyze data provided by potential clients. Using Lyssn’s more than 54 externally validated metrics I look for data markers that indicate things like client retention rates or level of engagement, or empathy shown by the coach or clinician. This information can help our clients better support their staff while improving outcomes.
As a Python Developer I help maintain the codebase that powers the language models. Lyssn is multi-lingual and has amazing natural language processing now, but we are always working to expand our linguistic reach and be even better at processing languages.
That is an interesting combo, data analysis and language processing.
Yes, it was a weird route that led me here! My PHD is in English Literature, but my research used quantitative methods and computational text analysis to conduct literary studies. Using these methods, I was able to study the long-term trends in language use in collections of many books.
While therapeutic sessions are far more personal as they involve real people, the analysis of them is somewhat like the work I was doing with literature. Lyssn walks that same line of using pure quantitative data analysis to better understand sensitive subject matter.
What drew you to Lyssn?
Well, as a data scientist working with literary texts and doing interesting things with text data, I was immediately intrigued by the work that Lyssn does. But what really sold me on Lyssn was the team. The development team all have interesting backgrounds. Many of them, like me. came to tech later in life. When we met, we just hit it off. They’re all such smart and friendly people that have created this excellent collaborative environment. I can tell that every person on the team is excited as I am to be doing this work.
What’s one of your favorite things about Lyssn?
Lyssn is using natural language processing to do things that haven’t been done before, which is something I find very exciting. Also, as a company they are very supportive of employee growth. There are lots of opportunities to pick up new tasks, roles, and dive into new challenges.
What do you like most about working at Lyssn?
Working with the AI analysis of text data is fascinating. You get these eureka moments when the model makes a prediction that is really on the nose. The AI can accurately process empathy and complex human concepts, and that is amazing – and well, a little spooky too. I find myself thinking, “This shouldn’t be able to do this so well!” But it can, and that’s cool.
Before working at Lyssn, what was the most unusual or interesting job you’ve ever had?
I had a summer internship the first year of grad school, and one of the things I worked on was designing an alternative reality game for undergrads at orientation. The goal was to get undergrads engaged in the orientation process via role playing scenarios and other games.
What is the last book you read?
The last book I finished was a dissertation for research! Boring, I know! Right now, I’m reading Black Reconstruction by W.E.B. Du Bois.
What are your favorite hobbies?
I’m a big gamer! D&D and video games mostly. I used to have a podcast where we would find student indy games to play and then review them – that was fun. Since moving to the Pacific Northwest, I’ve been getting back into hiking.
Have you engaged in one recently, if so, what did you do?
Mostly hiking – there are so many places to go here! My partner and I have hiked in Rainier and the Olympic Peninsula. Mostly recently we went camping out at Seal Rock.
What is your favorite food?
All kids of fish. Love that about the PNW; great salmon.
What is something people are surprised to learn about you?
The data scientists are usually surprised to learn about my English Literature PHD. And the Humanities academic crowd are surprised to learn about my work in computational data.
What is one thing you like people to know about you?
I guess that I am a very honest and up-front person, and I really appreciate that in others.