Build Better Data Products By Creating Data, Not Consuming It - Episode 340

Summary

A lot of the work that goes into data engineering is trying to make sense of the "data exhaust" from other applications and services. There is an undeniable amount of value and utility in that information, but it also introduces significant cost and time requirements. In this episode Nick King discusses how you can be intentional about data creation in your applications and services to reduce the friction and errors involved in building data products and ML applications. He also describes the considerations involved in bringing behavioral data into your systems, and the ways that he and the rest of the Snowplow team are working to make that an easy addition to your platforms.

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Prefect LogoPrefect is the modern Dataflow Automation platform for the modern data stack, empowering data practitioners to build, run and monitor robust pipelines at scale. Guided by the principle that the orchestrator shouldn’t get in your way, Prefect is the only tool of its kind to offer the flexibility to write code as workflows. Prefect specializes in glueing together the disparate pieces of a pipeline, and integrating with modern distributed compute libraries to bring power where you need it, when you need it.
Trusted by thousands of organizations and supported by over 20,000 community members, Prefect powers over 100MM business critical tasks a month. For more information on Prefect, visit dataengineeringpodcast.com/prefect.


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Announcements

  • Hello and welcome to the Data Engineering Podcast, the show about modern data management
  • When you’re ready to build your next pipeline, or want to test out the projects you hear about on the show, you’ll need somewhere to deploy it, so check out our friends at Linode. With their new managed database service you can launch a production ready MySQL, Postgres, or MongoDB cluster in minutes, with automated backups, 40 Gbps connections from your application hosts, and high throughput SSDs. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/linode today and get a $100 credit to launch a database, create a Kubernetes cluster, or take advantage of all of their other services. And don’t forget to thank them for their continued support of this show!
  • Atlan is the metadata hub for your data ecosystem. Instead of locking your metadata into a new silo, unleash its transformative potential with Atlan’s active metadata capabilities. Push information about data freshness and quality to your business intelligence, automatically scale up and down your warehouse based on usage patterns, and let the bots answer those questions in Slack so that the humans can focus on delivering real value. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/atlan today to learn more about how Atlan’s active metadata platform is helping pioneering data teams like Postman, Plaid, WeWork & Unilever achieve extraordinary things with metadata and escape the chaos.
  • Prefect is the modern Dataflow Automation platform for the modern data stack, empowering data practitioners to build, run and monitor robust pipelines at scale. Guided by the principle that the orchestrator shouldn’t get in your way, Prefect is the only tool of its kind to offer the flexibility to write code as workflows. Prefect specializes in glueing together the disparate pieces of a pipeline, and integrating with modern distributed compute libraries to bring power where you need it, when you need it. Trusted by thousands of organizations and supported by over 20,000 community members, Prefect powers over 100MM business critical tasks a month. For more information on Prefect, visit dataengineeringpodcast.com/prefect.
  • Data engineers don’t enjoy writing, maintaining, and modifying ETL pipelines all day, every day. Especially once they realize 90% of all major data sources like Google Analytics, Salesforce, Adwords, Facebook, Spreadsheets, etc., are already available as plug-and-play connectors with reliable, intuitive SaaS solutions. Hevo Data is a highly reliable and intuitive data pipeline platform used by data engineers from 40+ countries to set up and run low-latency ELT pipelines with zero maintenance. Boasting more than 150 out-of-the-box connectors that can be set up in minutes, Hevo also allows you to monitor and control your pipelines. You get: real-time data flow visibility, fail-safe mechanisms, and alerts if anything breaks; preload transformations and auto-schema mapping precisely control how data lands in your destination; models and workflows to transform data for analytics; and reverse-ETL capability to move the transformed data back to your business software to inspire timely action. All of this, plus its transparent pricing and 24*7 live support, makes it consistently voted by users as the Leader in the Data Pipeline category on review platforms like G2. Go to dataengineeringpodcast.com/hevodata and sign up for a free 14-day trial that also comes with 24×7 support.
  • Your host is Tobias Macey and today I’m interviewing Nick King about the utility of behavioral data for your data products and the technical and strategic considerations to collect and integrate it

Interview

  • Introduction
  • How did you get involved in the area of data management?
  • Can you share your definition of "behavioral data" and how it is differentiated from other sources/types of data?
    • What are some of the unique characteristics of that information?
    • What technical systems are required to generate and collect those interactions?
  • What are the organizational patterns that are required to support effective workflows for building data generation capabilities?
    • What are some of the strategies that have been most effective for bringing together data and application teams to identify and implement what behaviors to track?
  • What are some of the ethical and privacy considerations that need to be addressed when working with end-user behavioral data?
  • The data sources associated with business operations services and custom applications already represent some measure of user interaction and behaviors. How can teams use the information available from those systems to inform and augment the types of events/information that should be captured/generated in a system like Snowplow?
  • Can you describe the workflow for a team using Snowplow to generate data for a given analytical/ML project?
    • What are some of the tactical aspects of deciding what interfaces to use for generating interaction events?
    • What are some of the event modeling strategies to keep in mind to simplify the analysis and integration of the generated data?
  • What are some of the notable changes in implementation and focus for Snowplow over the past ~4 years?
    • How has the emergence of the "modern data stack" influenced the product direction?
  • What are the most interesting, innovative, or unexpected ways that you have seen Snowplow used for data generation/behavioral data collection?
  • What are the most interesting, unexpected, or challenging lessons that you have learned while working on Snowplow?
  • When is Snowplow the wrong choice?
  • What do you have planned for the future of Snowplow?

Contact Info

Parting Question

  • From your perspective, what is the biggest gap in the tooling or technology for data management today?

Closing Announcements

  • Thank you for listening! Don’t forget to check out our other shows. Podcast.__init__ covers the Python language, its community, and the innovative ways it is being used. The Machine Learning Podcast helps you go from idea to production with machine learning.
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Links

The intro and outro music is from The Hug by The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

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