#176: Analytics on the High Seas: Data at the Helm of an Aircraft Carrier with Capt. Paul Lanzilotta

Stop for a minute and think about the highest stakes campaign or test you’ve ever run. Were you nervous? Now, instead, imagine that you’re on an aircraft carrier with a few thousand people on board whose safety you are responsible for, and your team is about to watch 40,000 tons of ordnance detonate (in an environmentally friendly way) right next to the ship… so you can collect data to verify that the various systems are working as expected. On this episode, our guest can’t really talk about the former situation, but he can discuss the latter in depth: Capt. Paul Lanzilotta is the commanding officer of the USS Gerald R. Ford, the lead ship in the latest class of U.S. Navy aircraft carriers. Perspective, much?

Links to Items Mentioned in the Show

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ridge Leoni

Episode Transcript


0:00:05.9 Announcer: Welcome to the Analytics Power Hour. Analytics topics covered conversationally and sometimes with explicit language. Here are your hosts: Moe, Michael and Tim.


0:00:21.8 Michael Helbling: Hi, everyone. It’s the Analytics Power Hour, episode 176, and I wanna introduce you to my co-host, Moe Kiss. You lead marketing analytics at Canva, and how are you doing?

0:00:34.2 Moe Kiss: I’m fantastic.

0:00:35.6 MH: Outstanding. Tim Wilson, you’re the Senior Director of Analytics at Search Discovery. What does that mean in your day-to-day life?


0:00:44.2 Tim Wilson: That means I’m wondering how much caffeine you had right before we started recording.

0:00:48.6 MH: None at all.

0:00:49.8 TW: Okay.

0:00:49.9 MH: I’m just projecting a lot of energy ’cause I’m super excited about our show. And I’m Michael Helbling. Let’s get started. You know, you do know that feeling, just rocketing to about 150 miles an hour in a couple of seconds as the catapult throws you and your aircraft off a ship into a mixture of sea and sky, and if everything goes smoothly, you get all of sky. Oh. Oh, you don’t know that feeling? Well, we’ve all seen it on TV and in movies, and sure the pilot’s job is pretty cool, and we’re all analysts and we see all those other people in all the different colour outfits doing their jobs, creating this crazy orchestra of activity leading to this amazing capability of putting jets in the air from almost anywhere in the world. And it’s interesting because from the earliest sailors, data was used to navigate, first with the stars and, well, it’s gotten a bit more sophisticated since then.

0:01:46.5 MH: But we’re gonna use this show to take a few steps closer to understanding some of the modern uses of data at sea, and for that we definitely needed a qualified guest and we got one. Captain Paul Lanzilotta is the Commanding Officer of the USS Gerald R. Ford. He’s logged over 2600 hours in 22 different types of aircraft, including the E-2C Hawkeye. He’s a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was commissioned to the Naval ROTC program. He also has earned a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University and has served in numerous assignments both at sea and on shore. He’s been awarded numerous decorations throughout his career. And today he is our guest. Welcome aboard the USS Analytics Power Hour, Captain Lanzilotta.

0:02:31.8 Capt. Paul Lanzilotta: Alright. Thank you very much for having me. It’s an honour to be here.

0:02:34.4 MH: Okay. The one thing we haven’t actually done is, how are we supposed to address you? ‘Cause you’re a Captain, but can we call you just…

0:02:44.0 TW: I prefer Lord… No, I’m just kidding. I think…


0:02:47.0 MH: Lord Admiral Lanzilotta.


0:02:49.7 CL: No, I think Paul is fine, or Pauley, or whatever works for you.

0:02:51.6 MH: Paul?

0:02:53.6 CL: Yeah.

0:02:53.7 MK: What do the guys and girls on the ship call you? CO or…

0:03:00.8 CL: Well…

0:03:00.9 TW: I think they call him “Sir,” maybe.

0:03:01.3 MK: Oh, sir.


0:03:01.8 CL: That’s a really good question. Yeah. Generally, “Sir” is an easy one. And on Fridays we go with first-name Friday, so only my direct reports, and we play a little flattening of the power gradient there, game, and we’ll go first-name Friday and I’ll get a lot of Paul that day.

0:03:19.8 MK: That’s cool.

0:03:20.5 CL: Otherwise, it’s generally “Sir” or “Skipper” or “Boss” or whatever.

0:03:24.4 MH: Wow. Casual Fridays. Even the Navy. I love it.

0:03:27.3 CL: No, it’s not casual at all. It’s first-name Friday. Yeah.


0:03:29.9 MH: Well, first name. That’s the Navy version of casual Fridays. This group… This small group of people can use my first… Anyways. Well, it’s an honour and thanks so much for coming on the show and we’re delighted to have you. I think, just to get us started, I think very few of us understand and lots of us, our listeners, understand really the scope and scale of the ship that you’re commanding. And I think, just to get us started, it’d just be good to put some shape around that.

0:04:03.3 CL: Sure, yeah. It’s a pretty big ship. If you’ve seen it at sea, or if you’ve seen pictures, it probably jumps out in that regard, although there are plenty aircraft carriers that are… That look about the same shape but are a bit smaller, just in terms of general dimensions. And forgive me, I don’t have the metric available, but about 1100 feet long. So…

0:04:24.2 MH: You’re hoping for displacement and… No, I’m just kidding.


0:04:27.8 CL: Well, let’s talk a little bit about that, ’cause it’s important to realise the differences there, ’cause not all the attributes of a ship scale with length. The ship is 1100 feet long and with draft about 40 feet depending on the loading, how many aircraft, what kind of weapons are on board and that sort of thing, how much fuel, and by that I mean jet fuel. So, that’s the length of the ship and the ship displaces about 90,000 to 100,000 tons, and that’s a pretty common reference point for maritime measurements. But if you go back to my last ship that I commanded, was an LPD or a landing transport dock, that ship was about 700 feet long, just shy of 700 feet, but it only displaced 25,000 tons, about three quarters the length but fully one-quarter of the displacement. And then if you look at a destroyer, a US Navy destroyer which are among the biggest destroyers in the world if you just compare them nation to nation, those ships are about 500 feet long and they displace about 7000 tons, just less than a tenth of the displacement of an aircraft carrier but about half the length. So, that just… It doesn’t scale linearly with displacement, and displacement matters ’cause that’s where all the people and all the things go, all the machinery that…

0:05:50.3 MK: Okay. As a Navy newb, when you say “displacement,” do you mean weight? Is it like what you’re carrying or what the total load of the ship is?

0:06:02.7 CL: Yeah. It’s essentially the weight. It’s the whole Archimedes’ principle thing. If you were to take the volume of the water that the ship pushes out of the way, how much does that volume actually weigh? And that’s what that number means.

0:06:14.9 MH: Oh, it’s a lot.

0:06:16.1 TW: It’s a lot.

0:06:16.6 MK: It’s a shit ton.

0:06:18.0 CL: I would agree.

0:06:18.1 MH: It’s funny because I was looking at… When I was young, I was able to go to Charleston, South Carolina, they have the USS Yorktown there, which is, I believe a World War II era aircraft carrier…

0:06:31.1 CL: Yes.

0:06:31.6 MH: And it’s maybe served in Vietnam too or Korean… But just from the pictures I was like, “Oh, this is a much smaller vessel than the Gerald R. Ford, much smaller,”and they’re both aircraft carriers, so I was like, “Okay, yeah, this is a biggun.”

0:06:45.9 CL: Yeah. Back in the earlier wars, in World War II, we had scores of aircraft carriers, we didn’t have just… Right now we’ve got 11, depending on how you count them. There’s one that’s being built right now, USS John F. Kennedy or PCU John F. Kennedy, Pre-Commissioning Unit John F. Kennedy. Back in those days we needed a lot more of these ships to do similar kinds of missions, and the reach of the ships weren’t nearly as extensive, they were powered with diesel fuel, not with nuclear power the way we do now. Their endurance was a whole different story, they had a whole different footprint in terms of how much logistic support was required and how long they could go without resupply, which is a pretty big deal for us. So that’s one of the reasons why the ship is larger than they used to be, and then there’s just a matter of how much striking power can we carry, so how many aircrafts, how big are those aircrafts, how far can those aircrafts fly, how many weapons can they carry and those are all really important things when you compare these kinds of capabilities.

0:07:51.5 TW: So can you say ballpark how many people… If you were deployed on a lengthy deployment, how many people are on the ship?

0:08:01.6 CL: Sure. Yeah. So the ship’s crew of… My ship’s crew, just the crew that run the ship and run the flight deck and do all the things is about 2,700 people, and then we embark almost 2,000 more people in terms of what the air wing brings, so the…

0:08:17.8 MK: Wow.

0:08:18.7 CL: So the aircraft that fly onto the ship are all commanded by individual commanding officers, which was the first command that I had about 11 years ago. We embarked… That whole air wing, we embarked the command-and-control that make sure that the air wing can sustain, be sustained and do all the planning that’s required to do their missions, and then we also embark a staff for the admiral that embarks with the ship. That staff is about 70 people, and then we’ll embark a commodore who’s in charge of all the destroyers in the strike group, and we’ll bring his staff along with us, another 40 or 50 people, so it adds up to about 4,700 people on my ship. On the older carriers, we needed more people, so the crew on a Nimitz class carrier is about 3,200 and then you’d end up with about a little over 5,000, about 5,100 or 5,200 people on the ship when deployed and over the horizon.

0:09:17.4 TW: And that’s due to technology and automation, is that the… A lot of… More coverage can be done with fewer people? Okay.

0:09:26.8 CL: Short answer is yes. Yeah, absolutely.

0:09:28.6 TW: Okay.

0:09:30.9 CL: You probably… If you go down a Google wormhole, down into figuring out things about new ships and stuff, you’ll see that our ship has a lot more electric and electronic systems on it that used to be more conventionally powered. The way we launch aircraft, for example, is done with electromagnetic fields and forces, as opposed to using old-fashioned steam. When you use old-fashioned steam, it comes with it, all the maintenance that’s required for those giant steam risers, all the giant valves that go along with the giant steam riser valve. And we’re still, I think, in the process of maturing our awareness of what our actual efficiencies are in the long run, which that’s the whole idea, bringing fewer people to sea. The people component is actually the most expensive component of what we do because of how we take care of our folks.

0:10:25.1 MK: And so how do you… Is that something that you or the team are responsible for measuring and reporting back on? I guess that… Is that a measure that the Navy is trying to track and improve over time? And if so, how do you do that?

0:10:42.1 CL: So for my team, it’s mostly more rudimentary cost and not the lifecycle costs that come along with the ship. There’s a whole part of the Navy that does program management and the acquisition of ships and systems that are put on ships, and they’re a whole lot more interested in the cradle-to-grave costs and things. And there’s a model that they’re going by that they’re using upfront and then as we progress down the maturation of system of systems, they’ll add the data that either validates the model or makes the model learn so that they can more accurately assess what those costs are and whether or not we’re as efficient as we wanna be.

0:11:27.5 TW: So what are the more tactical… So does your… I guess, the scope of your responsibility for… Is it really, it’s basically half of the people on the boat are under you and there’s a…

0:11:38.9 MK: Ship, not boat.

0:11:41.5 TW: Oh, ship. Yeah.


0:11:43.6 CL: Yeah. That’s good. I’m glad you did that, Moe, because I didn’t have to. No, I’m just kidding.


0:11:52.6 CL: The traditional would say, a ship has boats, which we do. So if you can carry a boat on the boat, then you’re a ship, but I think… And the more stodgy among us would say, “Well, please call it a ship, not a boat,” but the 100% truth is that a lot of people on my ship call it a boat.

0:12:10.9 TW: As I was doing research and prepping, I was trying really hard, I knew that I was doing the ship thing and I kept finding myself, so of course, of course, it’s… Comes through and I screw it up and…


0:12:22.6 MH: I think what Paul’s trying to say is, you could serve on the ship, you probably just couldn’t command it.


0:12:28.9 TW: I probably couldn’t call him Paul… I probably couldn’t call him Paul. I wouldn’t be able to call him Paul on Fridays, I don’t think I…

0:12:33.8 MH: Yeah, you might not be in that so much group. Anyways.

0:12:38.8 TW: I might be one of the first staff decommissioned.

0:12:42.4 CL: Your question was about, what things are we measuring or what things are we… From a data analytics perspective, what do I get into with respect to that?

0:12:53.7 TW: Yeah, if started with, what are you actually responsible for? And then, where do you then spend your time thinking? ‘Cause I guess you said it was kind of the more tech, you’re not worrying about the overall lifecycle of the boat, you’re kind of, it sounded like on a little bit of a shorter horizon, so what do you… Yeah, what are you responsible for? And then how do you actually monitor what’s working or what’s not or what you need to adjust?

0:13:21.4 CL: Yeah, that’s a good… There’s a lot in there, so I’ll try to start with… The short answer to what I’m responsible for is everything, all of it, you name it. That’s the nature of being a ship’s captain, is whether it’s the perception of what the ship does and is and what our culture is, all the way down to the more granular details of like, “What are we doing today? What maintenance items are we performing?” And so, the example I would give that I do pay a lot of attention to on a routine basis is the planned maintenance that we do on the ship, and most of the components in the ship to make sure that it’s… All of those things need to function properly and it all ties down to what a sailor has to do on a day-to-day basis as she walks the deck plates and does her job.

0:14:10.7 CL: That gets aggregated in a, I would call it an access database on steroids, it’s an app or an application that we have contracted and bought that tracks all of the planned maintenance and all of the preventative maintenance that we’re doing and that’s everything from the anchors that are on the front of the ship, I need to know that they’re gonna work, I need to know that the brakes work, I need to know that the windlass that brings the anchor in is gonna work, all the way down to the trash disposal, or the ovens that are in the galleys, where we feed people, or the commodes, the toilets that we use everyday, all that stuff needs to be maintained properly, and it aggregates to about 100,000 maintenance efforts every quarter. So…

0:14:57.2 MK: Wow. And is that… Those maintenance efforts are they something that you do… Is that an always on thing even when you’re at sea, or is that something that you only do when you’re not in a deployment?

0:15:10.7 CL: Yeah, it’s always on.

0:15:12.4 MK: Wow.

0:15:12.6 CL: Always, always on. If you put this giant ship into a bathtub of salt water, if you take your most prized possession and put it in that environment, you can probably think about like, “Oh wow, I’m gonna have to do a lot of things just to keep this thing running.”

0:15:27.9 TW: So was that… Is that, if you’ve got 100,000 things and they’re all supposed to be, “This is supposed to be daily, this is supposed to be weekly, this is supposed to be monthly,” is that there’s an access database on steroids saying, “These need to be done,” when somebody does one, they log that it’s been done, and that’s then what you’re looking at or saying, “Do we have areas where the maintenance that was scheduled hasn’t been done? Or we have a whole group of areas,” which means it wasn’t done or it wasn’t recorded? Or is it, “This thing actually isn’t working, the anchor… ” There’s a signal… Or are those two different things, one that, “We’re doing what we think we needed to do as planned, and we have issues there,” but is there a totally separate way of saying, “This broke, this door won’t shut,” or maintenance tickets?

0:16:16.4 CL: Yes, yeah. It’s…

0:16:18.8 TW: Okay.

0:16:19.9 CL: There are separate efforts for corrective maintenance and then I… I also get reports from each… And there are 20 departments on the ship, they all own their spaces and they own all the maintenance of all the things inside those spaces in the ship, and they individually keep track of all of their gear and whether or not it’s fully up, or up with some degrading factors or out-of-commission, doesn’t work. If it’s in the out-of-commission doesn’t work category, then we use a whole separate process to program maintenance for it, and sometimes it’s just a sailor fixing a door, which can be fairly complicated, or it’s a much bigger job that we have to screen to a dedicated maintenance period, if that makes sense.

0:17:02.3 TW: So do you run into data collection issues where there’s a group that’s good at… They’re doing this stuff, but they’re forgetting or it’s not getting… I’m assuming about a lot of the logging is not like going into the bathroom or somebody writes on a notepad that it’s all digital. No?


0:17:19.8 CL: No, it’s walking into the head and writing on a notepad, but you’re pretty darn close there, yeah.


0:17:25.6 TW: Oh my God, I’m just doing…

0:17:28.9 MH: It’s okay.

0:17:30.4 TW: I was equating it to the land, I was equating it to the…

0:17:32.5 MK: Sure.

0:17:33.1 TW: Airport restroom. No, that’s what I was thinking.

0:17:35.2 MK: But I do love that Paul has picked up that a big part of this show is giving Tim shades, so you fit right in.


0:17:42.5 TW: He’s like, “Oh, nothing’s changed.”

0:17:42.7 CL: Well, it’s gonna come the other way, there’s no doubt in my mind.


0:17:48.9 MK: So, the other… You set this up a little earlier, the… I won’t even try. What do you call the catapult that you were describing, that was…

0:18:00.5 CL: The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System, the EMALS?

0:18:03.4 TW: Yeah, maybe I don’t feel too bad about that. And that’s a video I feel like I’ve now watched like 15 times, was the test where there’s just the dolly getting shot off into the water.

0:18:12.4 CL: Oh yeah, it’s much more fun with the actual aircraft.

0:18:15.0 TW: [laughter] Especially if somebody was in that.

0:18:20.1 CL: It’s much more fun being in the aircraft as well, I can attest to that.

0:18:24.9 TW: Definitions of fun?

0:18:25.1 CL: One of the cool parts of my job is I get to strap in the aircraft and go flying, which is a surreal experience too.

0:18:30.9 TW: Really?

0:18:31.6 MK: Still?

0:18:32.0 CL: Yeah. Yes.

0:18:34.1 MK: Oh!

0:18:35.1 TW: Nice.

0:18:35.6 CL: Yeah. It’s pretty surreal to take a catapult launch from your ship that you’re still responsible for after your circling overhead.

0:18:45.7 TW: Talk about the people knowing when the boss is not around.

0:18:49.9 CL: Yeah. [chuckle]

0:18:51.1 TW: It’s pretty visible.

0:18:51.6 CL: Yeah. Well, they ring a bell and they ring me off, they say, “Gerald R. Ford departing. Ding!” And then the whole ship knows I’m not on the ship, including my boss who’s often on the ship as well. That flag officer is the person that I work for and who writes my evaluation at the end of the experience. So, that’s good. It’s really good, it’s really humbling which is the way I like it.

0:19:14.1 MK: Okay. In addition to the maintenance work, what are the, I guess, the metrics that are… What are the things that are thrown around that are in your head? As an analyst, say for example, I work in marketing, so it’s always like, “I know that this team has spent this much, I know that this is the return on investment for this… ” You know how there’s just stuff that you know and everyday you’re like, “Is that on track or is that off-track?” What are the things in your head everyday, the numbers that I guess you need to know to know everything’s on track? Or is there, like, “The ship is going in the right direction and… ” Yeah. [chuckle]

0:20:01.5 CL: Yeah. No, that’s a great question. It’s a blend of subjective as well as objective or numbers measures, that’s why there’s a human side of this enterprise because I can walk around the ship and within 20 or 30 minutes really get a sense where like, “Are things okay right now? Are we on track or what?” I need to talk to sailors, I need to see in their eyes and see… I need to get a sense for the… The crew has a spirit, and it’s palpable when you walk through, you can tell. When we went to our shock trials, which I’m sure we’ll talk about, you can feel the excitement and you could feel also the anxiety of the unknown before we did the first event. There’s a subjective part of it, which is, “Hey, are things on track? Is there a huge line waiting for lunch? Or are the sailors all going through the line and at least somewhat happy about the prospects of the food that’s coming to them?” So that’s one… It’s a small thing, but it’s a pretty big deal to me that my crew is happy and that they’re able to eat, ’cause you’re not gonna do a great job and you’re not gonna fight the ship real well if you’re pissed off and hungry. That’s just a subjective thing.

0:21:18.9 CL: Some of the other stuff that I would say is, “Are we on schedule? Are we executing the thing that we said we were gonna do yesterday when we signed the… When I signed the flight schedule?” When the clock… If our first aircraft is supposed to be off the front of the ship at 1100, at 11 o’clock in the morning, I wanna see the seconds going towards 11:00 and I wanna see that aircraft literally leaving the ship at 1100 and not 1100 and 15 seconds, because that tells me, “Well, we weren’t really all on the same page, we didn’t get the memo all the way down to the sailor.” The sailor that’s pressing that button could be maybe just two years in the Navy, third class petty officer, E-4, one of… A pretty advanced qualification, but pretty junior in the grand scheme of things. So that person all the way down at his or her level needs to understand, “Hey, we’re doing this on time,” because… And the real point of that is, I don’t wanna be in a position to have to… Where I’m flying aircraft I need to be in the wind typically, which means I’m not maneuvering the ship maybe in the direction that I’m choosing because the wind chooses its own direction. And so the longer we’re doing that, the more vulnerable we can be, so that’s one of my metrics, is how fast are we launching and recovering aircraft? If I’m shooting 10 and recovering 13, how long did that take? And we use that as a metric when we’re practicing.

0:22:46.9 MK: Sorry. Can you explain that, “Shooting 10 and recovering 13”? Shooting 10 aircraft off?

0:22:54.9 CL: Yeah. We carry about, around 60 or 70 aircraft on any given day, and on the flight deck we’ll have maybe, on the order of 30 to 40, depending on what the day’s missions hold, “Are we doing a lot of searching, or are we doing a lot of repetitive strike on a target that’s at sea? Or are we trying to send aircraft a really far, long way down range, across land over to Afghanistan, loiter and wait to help troops that might be in a land battle, and then come all the way back?” If that’s what I’m doing, it’s a different number of aircraft that I’m putting in the air. And the way naval aviation, the way US naval aviation does that, and has done that for decades, is we’ll shoot waves of aircrafts, so we will launch 10, 12, 15, 20 aircraft in a wave and they’ll go off and do their mission and then we’ll put the aircraft carrier where we want it in the time intervening and then we will shoot another wave of aircraft and that first wave will be on their way back, or hanging out overhead, and they will recover. And then, in the time that I’m resetting the position of the ship, we’ll refuel those aircraft, we’ll put a new set of crew in those aircraft and we’ll put new weapons on those aircraft and then shoot… Do the whole thing again, we’ll shoot a whole another wave and recover the wave that was airborne in the intervening time. We call that “cyclic flight operations.”

0:24:17.8 TW: Wow. I’m so…

0:24:20.4 MH: We got so many questions.


0:24:25.5 TW: Well, so right now, and I think we probably didn’t… I’m sure anyone who hasn’t… Wasn’t already aware has already pulled over and Googled. The stage that the Gerald R. Ford is in right now, it is not… It is in a testing phase, right? What you’re doing now is, like we said… We mentioned shock trials, I mentioned checking the… Right now, is that a big part of what you’re doing, is that testing and calibration, and is that the sort of thing that you have each day, “These are the tests we’re trying to do”?

0:25:00.8 CL: We just finished the majority of that, we just finished our post-delivery testing and trials phase, and then we… Right after that we went into our full ship shock trials phase and we finished that, and we actually just moved the ship to the shipyard, to Newport News Shipbuilding, to do a round of modernization, some repair, some upgrade before we bring the ship back out to sea in the early spring next year and do all the things I’m talking about really just operationally. All the testing, most of the testing, is behind us. We’ll do some more testing to ensure that the modernization things that we’re adding to the ship are working the way we expect them to, but for the most part, our testing phase is complete, which is really cool.

0:25:43.1 TW: Is the testing that was happening, and again, the videos of the shock trials, which might just be good to have you describe what those are.

0:25:50.8 MK: Yeah.

0:25:52.5 TW: How much is the… We did the… It seems like there’s a responsibility that we do the test that we were expecting, but then there’s also, how did the tests… I imagine there’s a million different things being checked during something like a shock trial. Is that like, you’re responsible for making sure the tests run, but then there’s somebody back on shore who’s analyzing the results of the test? Or how does that work?

0:26:15.2 CL: Yeah, it’s a combination. For most of these we bring a team of civilian experts, both technicians as well as engineering type background folks, a civilian team, and they are… Many are on the ship observing first-hand what’s happening with the system that they are the technical expert associated with, and then they’ve got reach-back via the networks, whether it’s our unclassified network or even just a phone call back to their engineering organization where they can get more in-depth support. So it’s actually a combination of my crew making sure that we’re in the right initial conditions and making sure that we’re taking the right precautions, making sure the environment is set up the way we plan for it to be, the conditions that we planned for, and then executing the test in the right parameter set so that we can get the data we want and then analyze that data, some of it real-time or some of it near real-time, and then some of it it’ll be a longer term analysis where we gotta wait a week or two or even longer to actually aggregate all the information. I’ll give you two examples. One is the Combat Systems Ship’s Qualification Trial that we did in April, the final portion that we did in April, where we basically shot all the weapons on the ship, we fired our self-defense weapons to include the close-in weapon system which is a gun-based system, the Rolling Airframe Missile and the NATO ceasefire missile against live targets.

0:27:46.8 CL: And so, we had to do all the stuff I talked about earlier in order to do all those events. While we’re doing them, the systems themselves will tell you like, yeah, either that went the way I wanted it to, which is actually how it all turned out, or, “Hey, we had an error in our real-time built-in test that’s built into the system,” or during a pre-operational check sometimes the system will say, “You know what, I did not pass that, I need to do this check again,” and then we will run the check, we will run that pre-operational check another time. We’ll see that real-time. And then during the test itself, we’ll execute it and maybe somebody will observe, a human being will observe, “Hey, I didn’t get this parameter that I wanted, let’s do it again,” and then they’ll be reached back to the engineering enterprise that can see all the data in detail to figure out, “Oh, we got what we needed, or we didn’t.” And the idea for my ship is, let’s learn, so I don’t see it as a proving effort, but an improving effort because we’re the first ship in the class, we’re expecting to find things that need to go… Need to get better, and we wanna find those things so that we can make the next three ships better.

0:29:00.7 TW: So can you describe the shock trials? ‘Cause I have questions.


0:29:06.0 CL: I’ll do my best. I’ll do my best. That one was planning, planning and more planning, I would say. A lot of planning, just first and foremost, from the perspective of the environment, environmental impact, we’ve got some information out there on social media that explains how we did all that, but we take that very, very seriously. Again, as the ship’s Captain, it’s my name on this whole thing, people can… There are other people associated with the effort and there were certainly people of a higher rank that were involved, but nobody’s gonna Google them and find them, they’re gonna find me if something went wrong. And I just owe it to my crew and to the people that embarked on the ship, their personal safety, whether it’s the environmental impact, making sure we’re taking the appropriate steps to avoid any kind of hazard to marine mammals, and that’s not just injury, that’s like we don’t harass marine mammals.

0:30:07.5 CL: Some of the questions I’ve gotten from other friends of mine are like, “Oh, did you use like a sonar to scare away the mammals?” And that’s a no-no, that’s not what we do. We actually position the ship where we know that we have a very, very, very low probability of seeing any of the species that we would be concerned about, which is pretty much any mammal out there, so that was one part of the plan. Another part of plan is just risk mitigation from a standpoint of how do you safely explode a 40,000-pound live charge in the vicinity of your ship, and there’s a safety piece for the people who have to deploy that, so that’s a charge being towed behind another support vessel, and there are great Americans that are involved in the process of arming and lowering that charge at sea…

0:30:55.0 MK: No pressure. [chuckle]

0:30:55.6 CL: Which is no small, yeah, no small thing. Making sure that we’re clear of any kind of weather hazards, so the weather has to be pretty nice for this, no thunderstorms, lightning and explosives do not go well together. That’s something that we’re really, really careful about…

[overlapping conversation]

0:31:11.1 MK: Sorry. Have I got it right? So the purpose of the shock trials is to basically detonate explosives near the ship to see how it handles it, is that the purpose?

0:31:23.6 CL: It’s pretty close. So like most tests and evaluation, for what I’ve done anyway in the Navy, is it’s to verify what we already know. The ship was designed with an expectation of hardness for… Hardness against shock, against underwater explosion. The team that designed the ship used modeling and simulation to a really high level to build the ship, in addition to all the common engineering tools at hand for marine engineering and building a vessel like this. And then, the way tests and evaluation typically works is you have some measure of laboratory testing and then some measure of not-at-sea testing, so for aircraft testing that would be ground test. And then you have a small portion of the breadth and depth of that test that you do real-time live, end-to-end, so that you really know that all the systems as integrated in the ship behave the way you expect them to. It’s really a verification of the shock hardening that we already know is engineered into the ship, more so than, “Hey, let’s see what happens.” “Let’s see what happens,” in my mind, that equates to experimentation and we’re not experimenting with this capital asset or the people inside it, so it was more of a verification of what we expect.

0:32:46.6 TW: But still… And especially, let’s go back to the… Well, you as well as maybe somebody who is on the ship who’s a couple of years in, at the moment, everybody knows this is gonna happen at some given point, with that, the human element of reading that, surely, is there electricity in the air? I mean…

0:33:08.6 CL: Yeah. Absolutely.

0:33:10.1 TW: And when it goes off, is it like, “There’s movement”? It’s not like, “Oh… ” Right? That just seems like a movie type moment of like, “Okay, all the pre-work we’re just verifying, but we’re verifying a lot at one time.”

0:33:27.9 CL: Right. And I’m betting all of these people’s well-being on it. Again, getting back to the sense of responsibility, it’s not just my own well-being but it’s all the people in my ship, as well as the 300 or so civilians that embarked for it too. I think the oldest person we have with us was 79 years old, medically cleared, very…

0:33:48.1 MK: Wow.

0:33:49.5 CL: Very well in shape, very sharp engineer, which he’s got a few years on me. I am concerned that he was gonna go. And as you would, as a human would, always be very mindful of the things that are risky that we do. I had plenty of sailors asking, “Hey, are you worried about this, Captain?” Or, “How do you feel? Are you scared?” And my answer truthfully is no, because if I had major concerns, concerns that would make me not wanna do it, I would not have voted yes when we had our series of pre-briefs and pre-meetings all the way up the chain of command, all the way up to the Chief of Naval Operations who received the information that I had in terms of how it was planned and what the risks really were.

0:34:39.5 CL: There was definitely excitement in the air, Tim, and there was definitely an electricity about the whole thing because it’s a kinetic event and if it’s a dynamic event and we knew that… Especially after the first one we knew that it would be loud, so sailors put in hearing protection, and turns out hearing protection works awesome. I strongly recommend it if you are gonna be near something super loud to throw in some hearing protection, whether it’s the foamies or some other means of covering your ears. Overall, I think we had, by the end we had a lot of confidence and a lot less anxiety because it was less unknown and more like, “Yeah, this is what’s gonna happen, this is what it’s gonna be like.” There were a lot of people that were really excited and motivated by it, to know that, “Hey, this ship is strong, look what just happened next to us.” So that was pretty cool.

0:35:28.8 MH: Alright. Let’s step aside for a minute, for a word about our sponsor, ObservePoint. Do you know what ObservePoint does, Tim?

0:35:36.1 TW: Of course I do. Their tools give data professionals confidence in their data and insights.

0:35:42.1 MH: Well, sure, but what is an insight, really?

0:35:45.6 MK: Really? Let’s not go there.


0:35:48.2 MH: Good call. Probably better to just provide a little more detail or the nuts and bolts of their platform. For instance, I bet you both know their tools can be used to automatically audit your whole website for data collection errors and on an ongoing basis.

0:36:03.0 TW: Yeah, sure, but can they automatically audit sponsored messages in a podcast for flubs and missed cues?

0:36:09.1 MK: I wish, but I don’t think so. To be honest, they’re much more about digital data collection, testing your most important pages and user paths for functionality and lastly, that it’s accurately being collected.

0:36:23.1 TW: And then what? Do you have to remember to log in and check to see if it found any errors?

0:36:27.6 MK: Oh, no. But the platform will alert you immediately if something’s going wrong. But you can track your data quality over time by logging into the tool, which you know, who doesn’t like to log in and check to see if you’re on a steady march towards pristine data or backwards slide towards some type of unreliable information, which…

0:36:50.0 TW: We don’t want that backward slide.

0:36:50.9 MH: No, in fact, you should slide on over to observepoint.com/analyticspowerhour to learn more about ObservePoint’s full data governance capabilities. Okay. Let’s get back to the show.

0:37:05.1 MK: So Tim, I’m gonna totally turn this, I’ve been dying to do this the whole time, to a topic, Paul, that you touched on, which I’m really passionate about and so is Michael.

0:37:13.5 S1: Oh. I think I know where you’re going.

0:37:15.7 MK: Okay. So, I really, I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek, and I’ve read his book “Leaders Eat Last” which talks a lot actually about military leadership and culture and a lot of things that any leader can really take away from the military. You mentioned so many times about your people and the culture on the ship matters. I’m really… You’ve got nearly 5,000 people at sea together, how do you manage when there are those… You can tell as a leader, normally the vibe when things aren’t going so well, there’s rumblings, and yeah, people are tired or grumpy and you start to pick up… Or they’re overworked and they’re not happy for some reason. But I can imagine it… Or that’s all heightened when you’re at sea, right, ’cause you’re in each other’s pocket. How do you address issues like that? How do you get the culture that you wanna have on the ship?

0:38:16.5 CL: It has a lot to do with the leadership that’s out on the deck plates, the leadership that… I’m just one person, of course it’s important for me to set the tone, so when I talk to the crew, it’s my job to be honest and transparent because anyone can tell when you’re not telling them the truth, it’s a human nature thing. My first rule of thumb is be honest and transparent with the crew and not hold back things unnecessarily. It’s very, very rare that I would shield something from the crew, and I get that as a feedback point quite a bit but my sailors appreciate it and they can tell when we’re being open. And not every… I don’t think every leader out there does that, whether in the Navy or not, I’m sure you’ve seen that before where you can tell like, “Hey, am I getting the whole story here? What’s the deal?” So that’s a good starting point from my perspective.

0:39:06.8 CL: But in order to keep positive culture on a warship, it really comes down, especially in the United States Navy, my experience is it comes down to the deck plate leaders. In our Navy it’s called the chief petty officers, these are the senior enlisted leaders in my crew that had been at sea before, they’ve been in the Navy a while, they are above the frontline supervisor, so they’re not quite in the weeds of the everyday where the rubber meets the road in terms of, “Who’s gonna do which job today?” That’s not their level. They’re a level above that and I meet with them pretty commonly and pretty routinely whether informally at a meal or just in the passageway talking with them, but that group is a tremendously positive, encouraging, enthusiastic group on my ship, and I’m really lucky for that. I didn’t get to choose all those people, I hopefully inspire and motivate them, but they’re a really great group on Gerald R. Ford, and it’s one of the reasons why I’m so thankful I’m lucky to be their skipper.

0:40:11.6 TW: Okay. That was your touchy-feely crap moment, Moe.


0:40:15.6 TW: Back to the data.

0:40:16.4 CL: Touchy-feely wins wars, man.


0:40:18.6 S1: That’s right. Haven’t you ever seen Richard III, Tim?

0:40:22.9 TW: This is why I have shirked the leadership responsibility for as much of my career as possible. So, I do, there was… I have many, very, very small little questions. When it comes to… You mentioned having an app, which the military commissioned and was built, and is secure and does all that. Are there mainstream, are people working in Excel, are they doing PowerPoint stuff like…

0:40:51.8 CL: Yes. Excel is pretty common, it’s something that people are pretty familiar with, and it does enough rudimentary stuff that you can very quickly get some numbers down and look at what trends might be. As soon as… I took command in February, and I’ve been on the ship for about a month, and that was before we had access to vaccine for the majority of my crew, only the healthcare providers had access to vaccine, which is about 4% or 5% of my crew. So I was really interested in what our COVID trends were looking like and how they changed from when we were at sea to when we were in port, because we’ve got some very, very careful operational guidance in place for the safety of the crew and the assurance of the mission. So I just, I pulled up an Excel spreadsheet and started putting daily numbers on there, and yes, I put a… I can figure out still to this day how to make a trendline on Excel.

0:41:43.9 CL: That’s a dumb, stupid example, but that’s an example of where I would use that, where people use trackers, probably in Excel quite a bit. We do use relational databases for things like watch bills so that you can make sure that you’re putting people on watch who are actually qualified for the watch that you’re assigning them to. And then, there’s a handful of other applications out there that are Navy-sponsored and Navy programs of record that do some of the stuff. I try to avoid PowerPoint from a standpoint of running the machine because PowerPoint will take as much time as you have to create the PowerPoint, but it’s still part of how the military asks for consolidation of information for briefings that go up to higher headquarters and things like that. So we still use it.

0:42:33.3 MK: I work at a company that has some great presentation software that might be able to help with that.


0:42:38.4 MH: Yeah, great. Great one, yeah.


0:42:41.9 MH: Get a military contract going. That’s perfect.

0:42:44.9 TW: Yeah.


0:42:47.1 MH: So, do you have a sense for how much data the ship is producing, say on a daily basis? Because I’m assuming all these different systems are logging things and keeping them in various places, and most of them have now converted to a digital format, so that means there’s just a lot more storage. Any sense of that, or is that not even a thing that… I assume there’s not an infinite amount of storage space on the ship for data, but I’m just curious if you know.

0:43:17.5 CL: Yeah, I wouldn’t know what our daily generation rate is, off the top of my head, I could… I don’t know, honestly, it’s not so much that it’s filling up our network, or primary networks, or even… So we’ve got, obviously, we’ve got tiered networks and different levels of classification and stuff like that, but it doesn’t appear to be an issue that… It’s not an issue that I manage by any means.

0:43:41.6 MH: Sure. And of the 20 different departments that make up the ship, do you have a sense for which one is generating the most data on a regular basis? Who’s dropping the most data on you?

0:43:54.7 CL: They probably have an independent network. For shock trials, for example, I would say our media department because we had photographers and videographers on the ship as well as on other ships, as well as on helicopters, and thankfully, they’ve got a stand-alone and backed-up network for all of the media production stuff, so that it doesn’t get intermixed with all the other rudimentary ship stuff. They probably would dominate during that period of time. And then besides that, probably the engineering and the reactor departments having to do with propulsion plant.

0:44:33.3 MH: Yeah. Which is interesting, we didn’t even talk about the propulsion, but basically… And we’re not gonna talk about it.

0:44:39.3 TW: Yeah. And we’re not gonna talk about it. [laughter]

0:44:41.8 MH: Because it’s pretty cool. Alright. Moving on. Tim would like to know to what extent pie charts get used in the data that you review on a day-in, day-out basis. Do you see much in the way of pie charts?

0:44:56.9 CL: Like exploding pie charts? 3D pie charts…


0:44:58.8 MH: Yeah. 3D exploding pie charts.

[overlapping conversation]

0:45:04.3 CL: Only when they have meaningless levers, then we track them as much as possible.

0:45:06.5 MH: Okay.

0:45:09.6 TW: I like this guy.

0:45:11.1 CL: Are you a pie chart guy too? Or you hate pie charts?

0:45:14.2 MH: Oh, he’s so anti. That’s why he’s the quintessential analyst.

0:45:18.7 TW: No, because the neuroscience backs up their highly ineffective way in general to display data, but…

0:45:24.6 CL: Really?

0:45:25.4 TW: We live in different worlds.

0:45:26.7 MH: Okay. It’s that time of the show, that is the mysterious quiz, the Conductrics quiz. We should come up with a theme song.


0:45:35.5 MH: Conductrics quiz.


0:45:38.6 MH: Alright! Let me tell you a little bit about Conductrics. They’re the company that doesn’t promise you a silver bullet to make experimentation easy, they tell you the truth about what it takes to run an effective experimentation program, and then they give you the technology and tools to make that happen. It’s a combination of commitment and technology that has served their customers well for over a decade in some of the largest companies with tons of sophisticated data offering best-in-class technology for testing contextual bandits, predictive targeting, they always go above and beyond, not only to write crazy test questions for our two co-hosts, but also, to go above and beyond and beat client expectations, so check them out. And here we go into the quiz, Moe and Tim, are you ready to hear who you are competing on behalf of?

0:46:33.5 TW: Absolutely.

0:46:34.4 MK: Sure thing.

0:46:35.6 MH: Our contestants today, long time friend of the show, Mike Harmanos. Moe, that is who you are representing.

0:46:42.9 MK: Poor Mike.

0:46:43.2 MH: Go Moe. No, come on.


0:46:46.2 MH: He’s got probably… As data has shown at this point, he’s got about a 50% chance. And then, Tim, you are representing Riesling Meyer who actually lives out here in Georgia near me, so…

0:47:00.8 TW: Atlanta-based. Yeah.

0:47:02.3 MH: Yeah. No favoritism in this selection at all, but we’re excited. Okay. Let’s get to the test, the quiz, the Conductrics quiz.

0:47:10.0 MK: The test, that’s exactly what it is, a stupidity test.

0:47:14.1 MH: That’s right.


0:47:15.5 TW: The torture, the humiliation.

0:47:17.3 MH: Let’s do the painful part. Okay. There is, of course, a big ramp up here. So, let me get you started understanding… Let me set the scene. The time, the 1940s, the Second World War. Alan Turing led a team at Britain’s Bletchley Park that cracked the Enigma machine, a German enciphering device, thought by the Germans to generate unbreakable codes. As part of their efforts, Turing and the team created a sort of anti-Enigma machine called the “Bombe” to help them decode Enigma messages. Other members of the team at Bletchley went on to create Colossus, the world’s first programmable digital computer. And that’s where Numberwang came from eventually. No, I’m just kidding, that was a joke from a few episodes ago with Sir Tim Harford. Okay.

0:48:05.4 MH: That Turing was such an important contributor, it’s not surprising, given that before the war Turing invented what is known as the universal Turing machine computing abstraction that is the foundation of modern computer science. Interestingly, Turing didn’t develop his universal computing machine in order to build computers, instead he was trying to solve one of many problems in mathematics that David Hilbert had proposed. Which of Hilbert’s problems was Turing trying to solve using his universal computing machine? Was it A, the continuum hypothesis? Or B, proof that the axioms of arithmetic are consistent? C, the Riemann hypothesis or Riemann hypothesis? D, is there a general process for determining whether a given formula A of the functional calculus is provable? Or E, to derive an axiomatic treatment of probability with limit theorems for the foundation of statistical physics?

0:49:11.9 MK: Do you know, you started with Enigma machine and I was like, “I got this, this is in my wheelhouse,” and we went too deep right field out of any realm of me possibly knowing the answer. [chuckle]

0:49:27.2 TW: So, do you… We could go the route of, you can choose to select a correct answer or choose an answer that you think is definitely wrong…

0:49:35.9 MH: Yes.

0:49:37.1 TW: And to stay alive and alternate that way.

0:49:41.5 MH: Well, however you choose to conduct yourselves, I may or may not be able to participate, we’ll give it the old Turing test, or something, doesn’t really apply.

0:49:50.4 TW: Moe, I think Matt actually requested that you go first, but…

0:49:55.2 MK: Stop it. No, he didn’t. You’re winding me up.

0:50:00.1 TW: I have a Slack message to prove it, but that’s fine.

0:50:04.7 MK: Okay. We need a brief recap at the answers again. Or the options again.

0:50:11.4 MH: Okay. A, continuum hypothesis. B, proof that the axioms of arithmetic are consistent. C, I’m just gonna say the Riemann hypothesis, even though I don’t know if that’s the right… It’s R-I-E-M-A-N-N. D, is there a general process for determining whether a given formula A of the functional calculus is provable? Or E, to derive an axiomatic treatment of probability with limit theorems for the foundation of statistical physics?

0:50:42.0 TW: I’m gonna go, I’m gonna start by saying, I think it’s not the Riemann hypothesis. I’ve heard of that and know it, and I’m gonna just say it’s not that.

0:50:51.3 MH: Okay.

0:50:53.3 TW: Yeah. And so I stay alive if…

0:50:57.4 MH: So you’re saying, your answer is, “This one’s not the answer”?

0:51:01.9 TW: Yeah.

0:51:02.3 MH: Okay.

0:51:03.0 TW: It doesn’t mean I win, it just means I don’t lose.

0:51:05.2 MH: Do you wanna guess, Moe?

0:51:08.1 MK: Guess and not answer.

0:51:09.9 TW: Either way, you can guess and not answer. Or…

0:51:11.2 MK: Ohh. I’m gonna guess and not answer because that increases my likelihood of getting it right. It’s a totally random guess, completely random. Of not being E.

0:51:28.1 MH: Of not being E. Okay. So we think we’re gonna try to eliminate the Riemann hypothesis and eliminate E, to derive an axiomatic treatment of probability limit theorems to the foundation of statistical physics. Okay, so let’s just sweep those to the side. Amazingly enough, we’re able to just sort of blup, those are gone, and now we have three answers, the continuum hypothesis, the proof that axioms of arithmetic are consistent or D, is there a general process for determining whether a given formula A of the functional calculus is provable?

0:51:58.4 TW: Okay. I’m gonna end it, which means either I’m gonna win or Moe’s gonna win, ’cause I think it is D.

0:52:04.3 MH: You think it is D. Moe?

0:52:07.1 TW: She doesn’t have to say, if I’m… If I’m right, then I win and if I’m wrong, she wins. And we still haven’t gotten to the right answer. Shoot.

0:52:17.4 MK: Yes. Well, let’s just go for…

0:52:19.6 MH: Yeah, there’s two other options. So you’re basically… What you’re saying, Tim, is you’re willing to go double or nothing.

0:52:26.7 TW: Pretty much.


0:52:27.3 MH: So, if D is not the correct the answer, you are gonna basically give the win to Moe by default, and she doesn’t have to guess between A or B?

0:52:34.5 TW: Yes. Yup. Then you’re just gonna tell us the answer. Yeah.

0:52:37.7 MH: Okay. And here we go…


0:52:41.3 MH: Trying to give 1950s computer. And the answer is D! So Tim, you do win. Congratulations, Riesling, you are a winner, and great job.

0:52:54.9 TW: That was way back in the… I had circled it. That was a book on the history of Bayesian stuff that I think there was some glimmer of a recognition that that was what he was trying to do.

0:53:03.3 MH: Ohh.

0:53:07.8 MK: And also, a shout-out to Joan Clarke who was the amazing woman code-breaker who worked alongside Turing.

0:53:16.7 MH: Thank you, thank you. Absolutely. Yes.

0:53:20.1 MK: See, that’s where I thought this was going.

0:53:23.9 MH: It could have, should have gone there. Alright. Well, thanks for participating, both contestants, and Moe and Tim, in this trial by question, and the Conductrics quiz. And if you wanna learn more about Conductrics, do go check them out at conductrics.com, you can learn about their products and features on their website. Alright. Let’s get back to the show.

0:53:51.1 MK: So Paul, for the young data analyst enthusiast, what types of roles on the ship, I suppose, are really focused on data analysis? What are the, I guess the careers that would be available to them? See, I’m always helping out with recruitment, whether it’s for Canva or the Navy.


0:54:14.9 CL: Yeah, that’s a good question. I think… More and more of our systems on Gerald R. Ford are actually digital, so some of our, what we call “Job specialties ratings” in the US Navy, and so some of the ratings that typically would not really touch data at all now do a lot. So the folks that run the aircraft launch system, for example, they can see health data real-time as well as logged, and that’s an aviation boatswain’s mate equipment person. I think for this world we’re in where we’re concerned about public health and COVID, a lot of our hospital corpsmen actually see data on a daily basis, I don’t know how analytical… How much numbers-based it is, but it’s a whole lot of data that’s important. So, the happy place answer for that would be our information technology folks that run our networks and maintain our networks and make sure that our networks are healthy are likely in that category. And then we’ve got network folks embedded in different areas of the engineering aspect of what the ship does to make sure the networks that run those systems are healthy too. I think those are probably the big ones that come to mind.

0:55:28.0 CL: And actually what’s really interesting is, I’m sorry to pile on, but some of the ratings, and in the same way that I mentioned with the aviation boatswain mate rating, the machinist mates, for example, will be touching data systems now, whereas they used to only touch pumps and machinery, because some of those valves and things that they’re touching are actually controlled via a network or they’re networked and have fiber optics that enable communications and stuff like that. So it’s really pretty cool because the sailors that come in the door are naturally a lot more tech-savvy than a generation or two ago. And so we find people who gravitate to that kind of work as almost an adjunct or collateral portion of what they’re doing, and it’s a nice fit. It’s a good… One of the aspects of having a good job satisfaction sense is when you have mastery of the thing you’re doing, but also when you got purpose or when you’ve got some autonomy that you’ve chosen that, and it’s not just being foisted on you. So that’s a good thing in my mind.

0:56:35.5 MH: Awesome. Okay. We have gotta start to wrap up, but this is all kinds of amazing childhood dreams come true for me, so thank you so much for being on the show, first and foremost. Paul, it’s been delightful to chat with you and get a sense…

0:56:50.4 CL: Thanks, Michael. It was fun to be with you all.

0:56:53.8 MH: Okay, so one thing we do like to do is go around the horn and share something that might be of interest to our listeners or something you found interesting lately. So we’ll do that. It’s our last call. And Paul, you’re our guest, do you have a last call you’d like to share?

0:57:09.3 CL: Sure, yeah. So I’ve got a bit of a commute that takes up time for me in the morning, and I think listening to podcasts is something that I do, as well as listening to audio books. So one of my favorites is No Stupid Questions unless you’ve heard of that podcast with Andy Duckworth and Stephen Dubner, but it’s a good one. It’s enjoyable, it’s light enough, but there’s some topics that they touch on that sometimes get me interested in other things. And I’m listening to a book that’s from a long time ago, it’s John Steinbeck, and it’s called The log from the Sea of Cortez, and I really enjoy his style of writing, and this is a fun one to listen to. It’s from… I think it was published in 1951, but the experience is based on something he did in the early ’40s.

0:57:53.2 MH: Wow. That makes me reevaluate my last call. So good job, not just…


0:58:02.8 MH: Moe, what about you? What’s your last call?

0:58:05.5 MK: Well, I’ve had this book sitting there for a fair while and I kind of kept putting it off, I don’t know why, maybe it’s because I was worried it would actually impact my life in a positive way and I wasn’t ready to change. So I didn’t read it. And it’s a book that everyone… I feel like everyone in tech reads it. And I actually was on a call with a bunch of women who work in tech the other day, and I was like, “Okay guys, I’m about to start this book, has everyone read it?” And of course everyone had and I was like, “Okay, tell me one thing that you read in this book that you still do now,” and to be fair, everyone kind of told me the contents of the book but couldn’t list one thing that they still did, so I was a little…

0:58:51.7 TW: This is quite a wind up to this. I feel like this is a quiz.

0:58:55.3 MK: Okay, anyway. It is.

0:58:57.5 TW: And it was the Bible.

0:58:58.6 MK: It was Atomic Habits. And so I’ve just read it and I think the reason that I put it off is that I know in myself that I perform at my best when I’m in a really good routine, if I get up early every morning, if I exercise, like what I eat for breakfast, all that sort of stuff, like how I get the best out of myself at work every day, and as I’m preparing to go back to work, it’s something that I really wanted to nail. So I was like, Now is the time, but of course, when I had Harry I wasn’t not ready to get back into a good routine yet, and now I am, and I’m actually finding… This, Tim, could be a book that I go on about for a long time, think like my sleep book that I got obsessed with, this could be the next obsession because…

0:59:45.6 TW: Good lord.

0:59:46.2 MK: I’m already finding… I’m going to bed every night and like reading books and trying to tackle my insomnia and not using my phone at night, like all these little habits that are making my life better.

0:59:58.0 TW: So it sounds like you sort of knew how you worked and then this… You kind of verified it, it was kind of like a shock trial of a…

1:00:05.8 CL: Yeah. Whatever you do, if you’re doing all this reading and stuff, don’t have any more children. Probably just stay right where you are. That’s unsolicited advice.

1:00:16.8 MH: That’s… Moe, I’m so glad that you’re reading that because I’ve had that on my list to read almost all year.

1:00:22.6 MK: See.

1:00:22.6 MH: And I’ve not read it, so as you share tips and tidbits, I’ll be glad to pick those up.

1:00:28.6 MK: Habit stacking, habit stacking.

1:00:30.4 TW: Wait a bit Michael, I feel like we need to check in then, have you finished… What’s the book called? Finish.

1:00:33.4 MH: Finish.

1:00:33.7 MK: The book’s called Finish.

1:00:34.6 MH: Because…

1:00:37.2 TW: It is.

1:00:37.7 MH: I didn’t finish it, and I learned from reading half of the book, I read that it’s okay not to.

1:00:43.4 TW: I’ve gone to the bookstore, there is no print on any of the pages after… For about two thirds of the book because that…

1:00:49.4 MH: Shout out to John Acuff. Alright, Tim, what’s your last call?

1:00:54.2 TW: One, I just wanna throw in one little bit of perspective from the shock trials. I feel like trying to equate that, if you take a marketer who’s doing a Super Bowl commercial, who’s going way out and they’re super nervous, and I feel like the shock trials are a little bit of perspective. It’s completely the opposite, it’s much higher stakes, but actually much more of a known or expected outcome, whereas you do some crazy marketing thing, as much as we would like to think the stakes are really high, you know there aren’t human beings and safety involved, but there are a lot more unknowns, ’cause marketers just shooting from the hip a lot more, but not my last call. My last call is gonna be… ‘Cause we said we weren’t gonna talk about specific systems, but I did, even Paul said this was pretty cool, so I just encourage people to go look up the plasma arc waste destruction system and watch some of the videos.

1:01:48.3 CL: I agree.

1:01:48.6 MH: Yes.

1:01:49.1 CL: I second that.

1:01:50.0 TW: Is The Ford class, is that the first class of ships that have had that system?

1:01:56.6 CL: Yeah, absolutely. I think it uses a bit of power, it helps to have a couple of reactors on your side, where if you got a plasma arc waste destruction system, but it does eat trash like nobody’s business. It’s awesome. I’ve never seen shorter lines for trash processing, it doesn’t sound like a super sexy or awesome thing to have on a war ship, but gosh, if you’ve got trash stacking up, life is not a good life, but if you’ve got the trash going away in a very environmentally appropriate way where… We pick hundreds of pounds of trash, it ends up in basically a very light slurry of ash by the time it’s done, and it’s not at all impacting the environment, I’m pretty excited about that.

1:02:39.4 MH: Pretty incredible.

1:02:41.6 CL: Sorry.

1:02:44.0 TW: No. We didn’t get to it. I’m like, “I was just making my last call.”

1:02:47.5 MH: That’s right.

1:02:48.6 CL: Nice.

1:02:48.7 TW: Whats yours Michael?

1:02:50.4 MH: Well, I recently found out through the great newsletter that Ken Williams does that Google has come out with a new sample dataset for Google Analytics for in BigQuery. So I actually… It was pretty timely. I was chatting with someone who was looking for a way to learn some things about BigQuery and some SQL, and I was like, “Oh well, actually here, here’s these sample e-commerce data that you can actually use in their sandbox and it with some queries and things like that to get you started.” So that’s…

1:03:24.0 TW: Was that Kings newsletter or CMOS newsletter?

1:03:26.1 MH: Well, it’s probably both, I think I saw it on Twitter first, but then I remembered it from Kens newsletter, but you know, I wanna give Ken a shout out, CMO’s already pretty famous. So, much love CMO. Then the other one is a little off topic, but I think I’ve run into this recently, and I think a lot of people do because I’ve seen it come up again and again which is, I don’t cook every day, but sometimes I try to get in the kitchen and help out, and sometimes I go in there to cook something and I need to pull up a recipe, and the internet is full of these recipe websites that just simply will do everything but show you the recipe, and when you’re on your phone and you’re kind of feeling a little bit of time pressure, it’s one of the most frustrating things in the world.

1:04:11.9 TW: Where are you going with this?

1:04:12.5 MH: And I ran across a website called “Just the fucking recipe.” And it’s not super big yet in terms of how many recipes they have, but it is sent from above. It’s amazing and deserves a shoutout. I’m so happy.

1:04:28.7 MK: I’m all for this.

1:04:28.8 MH: Yes, I know. So it’s so random, but it’s one of those things, it’s just like that’s a quality of life improvement.

1:04:34.6 MK: That is.

1:04:36.3 MH: So I’m like… Now, I’m looking for recipes on this website that I can cook, because I’m so excited about the fact that it’s literally just the recipe and anyway, that’s my last shout out.

1:04:45.8 MK: Dude, I had one the other day that was to make brown rice and it had a one-page introduction to make brown rice. Like…

1:04:54.1 TW: Yeah, we can go a little off topic.

1:04:57.1 MK: We’ve gone really off topic today but that’s alright.


1:05:01.2 MH: Alright, that’s excellent. We know you’ve been listening, you may have questions, honestly, we don’t know if we can answer your questions, but we do wanna hear your comments and love to hear from you about the show, so please feel free to reach out to us and you can do that in the Measure Slack Group, you can also reach out to us on our Twitter handle and obviously, on our LinkedIn group. And we’d love to hear from you and any comments you have. It’s just a really cool show, and this is part of the reason we changed it from being just digital analytics to be more broadly analytics, so we can do cool stuff like this.

1:05:34.7 TW: You can also reach out to Paul and you will get routed to the Media Relations Department for the USS Gerald R. Ford, which is an impressive operation. I’m not saying that just because they will be reviewing this before… They were very, very helpful and we do appreciate them. But it was amusing also.

1:05:55.2 MH: That is technically where we learned about the plasma arc waste destruction system. Alright. Well, no show would be complete without mentioning the amazing work done behind the scenes by Josh Crowhurst, our producer. Does an incredible job getting this show out the door every time we make an episode. And I also want to give a special shout out to Megan Sing, who has listened to every single episode of the podcast, which seems like it’s sort of a punishment, so Megan, I don’t know how you did that, but wow. Amazing job. We’d send you a prize, but we don’t want to encourage others in this way, so just a shout out for listening to every episode. Thank you so much for being a listener. Alright, well once again, Captain Lanzilotta Paul, Pauley, thank you so much for coming on the show. Sir, it’s not a Friday, so sir.

1:06:48.7 CL: Thank you, sir.

1:06:50.8 MH: It’s been a real privilege. Thank you for helping us understand a little more about what goes on in the USS Gerald R. Ford and the amazing men and women and people who serve on that ship with you and doing such an amazing job. We’re very much in your debt. So I know that even though you may not serve on an aircraft carrier of this scale, you still have incredible things that you need to do with your job, and I know I speak for both of my co-hosts, Moe and Tim, when I tell you whether you’re launching 10 and recovering 13 or just looking at the latest marketing channels, keep analyzing.

1:07:29.0 Announcer: Thanks for listening. Let’s keep the conversation going with your comments, suggestions and questions on Twitter @AtAnalyticsHour, on the web at AnalyticsHour.io, our LinkedIn group and the Measure Chat Slack Group. Music for the podcast by Josh Crowhurst.

1:07:47.0 Charles Barkley: So smart guys want to fit in, so they made up a term called analytics. Analytics don’t work.

1:07:53.7 Thom Hammerschmidt: Analytics, oh my God, what the fuck does that even mean?

1:08:02.4 MK: Just give me two seconds because Jenny’s gonna come grab the little human.

1:08:07.3 MH: Okay, tell him he can just walk in. It’s not a big deal.

1:08:13.9 TW: Moe’s husband… He tries to sneak in, yet does such a terrible job. We’re not sure if he understands how light works. I’m not at home.

1:08:29.6 MK: Oh, I forgot. Where are you Tim?

1:08:33.2 TW: Cleveland.


1:08:34.8 MK: That’s not that exciting.

1:08:37.3 CL: Gateway to the… I don’t know what.

1:08:41.9 MH: Well, that’s in Cleveland.

1:08:43.7 TW: Gateway to the Lake Erie…

[overlapping conversation]

1:08:46.1 CL: It’s kind of Michael’s home town.

1:08:48.8 MH: Well yeah, I grew up in Cleveland, but I moved away as an adult and realized that was a great choice.


1:08:57.9 MH: We do maintain an explicit rating on iTunes and other podcasting platforms, so feel free to use any terminology you see fit.

1:09:06.3 TW: You could curse like a sailor.

1:09:08.5 MK: Oh geeze.

1:09:09.1 TW: You can pretty much say anything.

1:09:11.6 CL: I’d like to, but I probably won’t.

1:09:14.6 TW: Probably won’t.

1:09:14.6 MH: Yeah, I was gonna say it’s…

1:09:16.8 TW: It’s decorum. Rock flag, it’s a ship, damn it.


1:09:25.7 TW: There’s a… At the very end of our outtakes, there’s a… It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia reference, and they refuse to let me warn guests.

1:09:33.5 MH: I don’t refuse. You delight in not letting people know.

1:09:38.2 TW: No, I start feeling anxious two minutes before I realize I’m gonna have to do it.

1:09:43.6 MH: Oh, okay. [laughter] Traditions.

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