Describe what you do in one word…

This is a challenge an old boss of mine used to set. He was an alpha male. The answer he was looking for was usually a variant of “lead” like “inspire”, “command” or “drink”.

But it is a good exercise to set yourself.

This evening I was responding to an retweet of an article I published on my company website last year. Vish Agashe retweeted this post about data modelling and Data Protection. In response I asked him if he was still finding the ramblings of a legodatapsychoeconotechnoqualitatrian interesting.

Then it hit me. That’s a word. A bloody good word. A “kicking my dad’s arse in scrabble” kind of word. Because it almost perfectly describes me.


No. I am not made of plastic and if you separate my legs from my body you will find it very difficult to reattach them.

But I spent four years half a life time ago studying law and business in UCD. From that study I developed a love of law and all things legal. In particular I developed the skills of legal interpretation and research that all lawyers need to possess.

And, just as (if not more) importantly I developed a network of friends who are lawyers. Yes. Some of my best friends are lawyers. Who’d a thunk it?


No. I am not an android with a positronic brain and the strength of 10 men (I wish). And if you poke me in the back between the shoulder blades I’m more likely to turn around and put you in a painful joint lock or punch you in the face than calmly power down and go lifeless (hint: if you want that, a few bottles of good wine is the best option).

But I am obsessed with data. The capturing and creation of it, the analysis of it, the value of it. It’s what I do. I’m a Data Scientist, but in the “lives in a castle in the mountains and don’t ask about the missing corpses” sense of “scientist” (at least at times).


No. I don’t own a run down motel and I haven’t hacked a young lady to death in the shower. At least not since the dried frog pills kicked in.

However I have been a closet psychologist for years. And once I realised that closets had very few hidden secrets (if you discount fantastical lands ruled by big lions) I turned my attention to the Human Equation in the context of change management and how we perceive and value information.

So, BF Skinner was a lovely man who pigeons experimented on to see just how far would he go to have them support his flawed hypothesis that extrinsic reward/punishment is a key motivator of behaviour. At least that’s my opinion.


Last time I checked I’m not a gas guzzling American mini-van that is anything but economical to run. But, linked to my love of data and the interfaculty degree I did in law and business, I am a fan of economics and economic theory and practice. In particular I’m an advocate of the branch of economics that applies economic principles to the study of law and legal principles, and the application of economic principles to the valuation of and management of data.

What is the value at risk?

Where is the economic equilibrium of risk and reward/supply and demand?

Is the economic deal fair when Entity A gives data to Entity B… what is the valuable consideration given for the exchange of assets?


No. I don’t play annoying 9000 beats per minute europop techno. Except for Saturdays. And even then only when there is a total eclipse of the moon.

But I do enjoy my technology and my tools. I was the first customer in the world for Informatica’s Data Quality offering (back before it was Informatica). And I’ve coded countless Visual Basic skunkworks to do data reformatting, consolidation, reporting etc. And I do like Sharepoint and Drupal and WordPress and Unix and Linux and…..

…  I think you get the picture. I know a few things about databases and database technology. But unfortunately not with a parchment attached to it (yet).


it’s all about quality. Quality of outcomes for the end customer in a value chain. And quality of outcomes for the data controller, or the regulator, or society. Everything comes down to this.

  • Laws exist to regulate outcomes. Often badly
  • How we internalise and conceptualise the customer and the outcome are key to achieiving the right balance.
  • Technology is a tool to getting us there but is not a destination.
  • The economic value is the point at which things are good enough to achieve the outcome that is required… and no more… anything beyond that is a value-add luxury that we can charge premium price for.

Now. Where’s my scrabble board?