A bit about Arunas
Starting off the week on a fun note, we talk to Arunas, one of our Data Scientists, about his career trajectory, life goals, and musings about everything from travelling around Lithuania to getting an MBA (or otherwise).
Tell me a little bit about yourself; how you got to where you are career-wise:
I think I wrote my first program maybe around the age of 13. I’ve been interested in computers since, but somehow ended up studying Math instead of Computer Science. Turned out that it was as interesting as computers, and now I find myself somewhere between the two.
Can you name some companies that you respect and ones that you think have shown some interesting growth?
Like many people I used to be captivated by the fast growth of companies like Google, but it turned out that it coincided very much with the transformation that happened to internet. There is a multiverse of interesting ideas brewing in startups, but personally I am more interested in alternative business models. For example, Wikipedia or Lichess.org with their donation systems, although I am not sure Wikipedia could be called a business at that point. Also, Craigslist or Bandcamp have interesting models of charging (or not) their customers. I don’t know if such models are sustainable long term or even possible for most startups, but I believe tech is still a young industry, both for companies and for users, so maybe time for alternative business models is still to come.
If you had to pick one common trait among revolutionary companies or founders, what would it be?
I would like to say a fun team, but I’m not so sure it’s true. For me, being a part of a fun and friendly team is necessary to stay motivated, but I’ve also worked on some projects that I did not enjoy and they still turned out to make money. So I don’t really believe there is such a common trait.
What kind of software do you use with your work on a daily basis?
I am a very satisfied user of Ubuntu, and I am constantly being amazed at the things that you can do in command line. I like to use sublime text and I’ve been recently introduced to tmux, which is already becoming my favourite, but in general I would say I am not a power user - every time I watch Chetan or Bjarne do something I learn a new keyboard shortcuts.
What about it bothers you and you'd like to change?
I would like to know all the keyboard shortcuts!
Did you always want to be a data scientist? How did you end up as one?
Like I said, I’ve always been interested in computers but that took a backseat when I started studying. I have actually earned a degree in actuarial and financial math, but I quickly learned that it wasn’t where I wanted to be. So here I am in data science, where Mathematics and Computer Science converge.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 20?
On a terrace of a cabin house eating scrambled eggs in the sun. I think I would like to have my own business/company, but 10 years is a long time, I don’t make such long-term plans!
You said you don’t like MBAs. Should MBA students just drop out?
I think NBA is a very entertaining league, I just don’t like kids leaving college in hopes of making it big in the NBA but then their careers don’t turn out that great and they’re back on the street having squandered their millions. Things would be looking different then if they had a degree!
If you had to pick one sector that has the most vertical upside, what would it be? Why?
I am trying to keep an eye on blockchain. I think some interesting things are going to happen there. I don’t know if it’s too late or not to invest in cryptocurrencies, but I think they are just the tip of the iceberg.
"On a terrace of a cabin house eating scrambled eggs in the sun."