By Jayden Soni

As a software engineering intern at Civis this summer, I worked on a project supporting our Identity Resolution product. Under the hood, it relies heavily on Apache’s distributed processing framework Spark to run our proprietary person matching algorithm. While we currently maintain a Kubernetes cluster to handle the jobs, scripts and notebooks run in Civis Platform, our Spark applications are currently run directly using Amazon EMR. Version 2.3, however, has made it possible to run Spark applications on Kubernetes instead. …

Automate Your Data Science Workflow Faster with Projects and Zapier
An Intern’s Journey
By Charlie Hanacek

Civis Platform has the ability to run a wide array of tasks, including but not limited to complex SQL queries, large dataset imports, and creation of reports. Each of these tasks is considered a “job”. These jobs can take minutes or hours to complete, depending on the level of complexity and the volume of data involved. Platform users need a consistent way of staying informed about the status of their jobs. To satisfy this need, users could configure jobs to notify them of their job’s progress via email. This configuration helped users actively monitor their jobs, but the feedback loop was too loose. There wasn’t an opportunity to connect the output to another application of service automatically. …

By Kui Mwai

Here at Civis, we understand that data has the power to transform lives. It’s our responsibility to use our “data powers” to serve people and improve their quality of life. While we are a company filled with people of unique interests and backgrounds, this commitment to serving our communities is what unites us. To fulfill our passion for philanthropy, we created the Civis for Good program.

Civis for Good is an employee-led effort, uniting teams in serving our local communities and supporting issues that we care about. The program is two-fold — first, we offer “volunteer time off,” which employees may use on their own, or choose to join a Civis-organized volunteer day. …

Every few weeks, we’ll interview a new Civis team member to offer insight into their day-to-day, hobbies, and more

Here at Civis, we have some of the smartest data-centered minds on our team — but in addition to their day jobs, our employees have a wide array of hobbies, talents, and interests that make them truly unique. This Q&A aims to introduce our readers to the clever, informative, and witty members of the Civis family. Welcome to the first of our Employee Spotlight series.

Our first interview is with Chantel Miller, a Software Engineer on our research team who coaches CrossFit in her spare time.

By Emma Peterson

Many nonprofits find themselves at a difficult impasse: while direct cash assistance may be the most effective way to support the communities they serve, it can also be the most challenging in terms of soliciting donations. Direct cash assistance allows recipients to decide for themselves exactly what they need the most. However, donors often want to understand exactly how their donations are utilized, leading to an excess of in-kind donations like food and clothing which require extensive resources for proper management and distribution. …

By Sherry Shenker

No one likes being dependent on someone else for their day-to-day work. It leads to inefficiencies, a cycle of endless change requests, and a general feeling of powerlessness.

Unfortunately, this type of dependency often occurs when data scientists and decision-makers are working together to tackle a problem. Data scientists hold the keys to data stored in complex databases, as well as the tool sets for analysis, so non-technical decision-makers have to send requests for new models, analyses, and visualizations that they cannot produce themselves.

At Civis, we love it when users ask data-driven questions. However, we seek to avoid the dreaded situation of dependency as much as possible by building tools that hand over data to business users and key decision-makers. They can explore trends and generate insights without depending on data scientists, providing data teams resources to improve their data pipelines, test out new models, and implement better approaches to analysis and visualization. …

By Dan Wagner

Below is an open letter to the business community from Civis Founder and CEO, Dan Wagner.

I’m writing today about something near and dear to my data-driven heart: the 2020 U.S. Census. I’m not asking for anything — I just want to make sure that I share my data science perspective on the Census for the wider business community.

Here’s the context: The Wall Street Journal’s “Numbers” column from last week discussed the consequences of including the citizenship question on Census response rates. It’s pretty clear: including the citizenship question will reduce response rates across the board, but especially in new, more diverse communities.

We’re thrilled to announce that we’re launching a limited release of Sparklight, our attribution tool designed to help marketers measure and maximize the impact of their campaigns.

Marketers are currently inundated with ineffective, touch-based attribution models that only measure the correlation of ads against decisions. Worse yet, the results of these campaigns often don’t see the light of day until the campaign ends. In a world where time is of the essence, many marketers are left struggling.

Sparklight is different. It looks at the causal relationships between marketing activities, enabling marketers to accurately map the customer experience across all channels and devices, resulting in a comprehensive understanding of their campaign’s impact. …

By Allison Sullivan

A product manager is responsible for leading a cross-functional development team in building and iterating on a product. A big part of that responsibility is collaborating with people in your organization who aren’t on the team but are interested in the product. Managing these stakeholders can be challenging, but the work is essential for delivering a successful product. Engaged stakeholders can provide helpful feedback and advocate for your product. However, disengaged stakeholders can seem like they are throwing needless obstacles and pointless requests in your path. But how can you create an efficient and engaging stakeholder culture?

The most important thing is having empathy for your stakeholders. They have many competing priorities and are taking time and attention away from those things to contribute to the success of your product. With that in mind, here are three tips for bringing empathy to your stakeholder relationships and building successful…

By Haley Bryant

Beyond the phrase “you are not your user” part 2

The first part of this series alludes to two ideas. One, product design (and its many similarly named, interactive, user-centered siblings) intersects with and derives from many other disciplines. And two, because design is more mindset than skillset, the attempt of young designers to go forth in their careers and be “user-centered” can have an adverse effect; trying to be unbiased and empathetic at the same time can feel like an exercise in self-denial.

In response, I’ve come up with a mantra that helps me pay deference to design’s multidisciplinary background while also grounding me in the face of its intrinsic…


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