Name: Tiffany Hu
Role: Web Engineer / Data Scientist
Hometown: Diamond Bar, CA
Hypothetical SeatGeek talent show performance: Dance! It’s my main hobby. Also, I never did the whole middle school talent show ‘do a group dance routine to Spice Girls / NSYNC’ thing, so I think that would be hilarious and really fun to choreograph.
Twitter handle: @tfnyhu
SGFL (SeatGeek Foosball League) Ranking: Like… 10th? There are about a dozen who regularly play, so. I do alright when I’m teamed up with Dallas or Ben Clark.
What was your path to SeatGeek?
I graduated from the University of Chicago, where I studied economics and biology. I loved the classes and research I did, and when I finished school I was definitely still itching to explore and learn. I worked at a tech consulting company in Chicago for two years, where I was a part of two teams that focused mainly on different types of text / language analysis and predictive modeling for clients in a range of domains. I was able to pursue independent research projects that gave me leeway to do a lot of programming, and I became hooked. I knew I wanted a role where I could work on both the implementation of data products as well as the exploration and analysis, and I was ecstatic to find that perfect blend at SeatGeek (Steve, head honcho data scientist, dubs it ‘full stack data science’).
What’s the most interesting project you’ve worked on since joining?
Customer coalescence, which is basically looking at all the different combinations of identifiers we might see in actions taken across each platform and collapsing them so they’re associated with various customer “blobs.” Among other things, this gives us a more complete picture of a user’s entire activity history and a more accurate way to attribute user spend. Some of the fun bits were figuring how to best implement this within our ETL pipeline, keeping the processing within Redshift for speed, and using Python to manage the recursive logic that Redshift doesn’t natively support.
What do you want to work on next?
Customer experience is a big focus for SeatGeek right now, and as part of that I’m excited to look more into user behavior, particularly session activity and geolocation. We’re working hard right now to make the user activity data we have more consolidated and accessible for analysis, so that will definitely make it easier for us to tackle those topics soon.
What’s your favorite SeatGeek experience?
Being at SeatGeek has definitely upped the number of events I attend regularly, but I maintain that Slipknot and Korn at Izod Center in December was the best experience I’ve had by far. First off, I’m not a metalhead by any means — in fact, I’d never been to a metal concert before that event. Zack and Rick, two way-more-into-metal SeatGeek devs, made this really enthusiastic effort to get a bunch of the SeatGeek crew to go to this concert, and I was the only one clueless enough to take them up on it.
But it ended up being awesome. I’m not sure what part was best — there were a lot of absurd / great moments. The music I actually ended up loving. The show itself was fantastic (pyrotechnics! midair drumming!). The fans (typically the part that can ruin a show for me) were really nice. At one point, we were kind of this peninsula in a giant mosh pit and a guy next to me asked if I wanted to mosh — I politely declined; it was all very courteous. And then hanging out afterwards, still amped up from the show, was a blast.
What’s your top NYC recommendation — food, fun, neighborhood, etc.?
Xi’an Famous Foods, a fast-casual chain that serves stellar food from western China like cumin lamb ‘burgers’ and spicy hand pulled noodles. I grew up eating Chinese food, so authentic Chinese fast food — especially from a lesser-known region — is a dream come true.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve read recently?
I came across Dear Data recently. It’s a site where two designers who live across the world from each other put up postcards they send each other every week that contain hand-drawn data visualizations about events they experience in their daily lives. They have a different theme each week, like ‘people’ or ‘time’, and it’s interesting to read why they chose the theme, how they collected their data, and how each of them decided to visualize the data. The results often end up looking nothing alike, so it’s really cool to see how their individual aesthetic styles manifest themselves. And I love that everything is hand-drawn.
What’s been your favorite SeatGeek team event?
Workation last summer, because it started just days after I’d joined SeatGeek and was such an amazing way to get to meet my new coworkers. I definitely lucked out timing-wise! There’s nothing like living under the same roof to get people to bond (and that we were in the Hamptons definitely didn’t hurt).