Using Data to Land on the Front Page of Reddit (Andres Slaughter) - KNN Ep. 87
Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Andres Slaughter. Andres is a digital marketing specialist who has worked in various capacities for over 5 years. He’s worked in several sectors including technology, education, and food services with nearly 10 years of experience in marketing. He runs a YouTube channel called Andres Slaughter where he discusses the oddities of life and dives into topics to improve your life. He also is a part-time content creator known as StatsPanda on Instagram where he makes data visualizations about interesting topics. He’s the youngest person to receive a graduate degree in the state of Oklahoma and one of the youngest managers of a global 300 company - Compass Group. In today’s episode, we talk about how Andres was able to grow and manage a community around his data visualizations, we also learn about what makes a compelling visual, and about how he was able to land on the front page of Reddit with his work multiple times.
[00:00:00] Andres: In the beginning, the master's wasn't because I wanted to get it. It was to give myself more time to sort of figure out what I wanted to do and like to keep myself the skills to get a job. It worked out in the end perfectly, but if you want to be, I think really good at what you do, then it won't hurt to learn more than you are already learning outside of the class and that really goes for anything.
[00:00:33] Ken: This episode of Ken's Nearest Neighbors is powered by Z by HP. HP's high compute workstation-grade line of products and solutions. Today, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andres Slaughter. Andres is a digital marketing specialist who's worked in various capacities for over the last five years. He's worked in several sectors, including technology, education, and food services with nearly 10 years of experience in marketing.
He also runs a YouTube channel called Andres Slaughter, where he discusses the oddities in life and dives into topics to improve your life. He also is a part-time content creator and known as StatsPanda on Instagram and Reddit, where he makes data visualizations about interesting topics. He is the single youngest person ever to receive a graduate degree in the state of Oklahoma and one of the youngest managers of a global 300 company- Compass Group. In today's episode, we talk about how Andres was able to grow and manage an online community around his data visualizations. We also learn about what makes a compelling data visualization to begin with. And finally, we talked on how he was able to land on the front page of Reddit, multiple times.
I enjoy talking with Andres. I learned a lot and hopefully you will as well. Andres, thank you so much for coming on the Ken's Nearest Neighbors Podcast. I actually found out about you through Reddit on DataIsBeautiful. And I was like, wow, this guy's really making a name for himself here. I thought you'd be an incredible kind of case study and background for the podcast.
And I'm so glad you actually responded to my Reddit message.
[00:02:02] Andres: No problem. Thanks for reaching out.
[00:02:05] Ken: Yeah, no problem. So in order for people to sort of get a better understanding of your story and your background, can you tell me about how you first got interested in data? You know, like what was that experience like?
Was it just this like a one pivotal moment or was it a sort of slow progression over time?
[00:02:22] Andres: I'd say there was a sort of awakening. It started during my undergrad career. I've never been good at math and it's always been the crux of my academics. But I took a statistics course and I was like This is new. This is amazing, you know, diving into really simple things like using SPSS and building models that way in Excel opened up this whole new world of you. Don't have to be great at math to be, you know, a data scientist necessarily. And it, you know, it intrigued me moving forward. Once I started to get my master's to get my MBA, took some advanced data courses, and again, the intrigue continued.
And it carried on to a curiosity of maybe how I could turn this into something that I could use for myself. I never thought of it as being like a career choice or path. But definitely like a tool I could use moving forward for whatever career path I chose to go down.
[00:03:22] Ken: I really like that. I think that I had a very same, a very similar experience when I took my first statistics class and I actually ended up in college.
I think it was three or four statistics courses, all like the same level. So I changed majors a lot. And when you change majors, there's like a statistics for business statistics, for health exercise science, research methods and statistics for psychology. So I ended up taking virtually the same course a bunch of times, and I realized that, like this isn't the math that I learned about, you know, not like out above with like geometry and calculus and those types of things.
To me, there's something really actionable about statistics. And that to me is what really drew it to me. You know, I actually have been having to use quite a lot of trigonometry for creating some visuals I've been experimenting with the tool. But outside of that, I don't think I've used any of that in my adult life.
I'm really interested to hear, you know, you said you did your MBA. You know how was your like academic and sort of professional career progressed? Like how do you use data in your life right now, if you've been to use data in your in your career?
[00:04:36] Andres: Yeah, absolutely. So I had a couple of jobs during college that really allowed me to like take advantage of the stuff that I was learning in class, which albeit didn't happen as much as I wanted it to not a knock on college.
I loved it. But the data side of things really. Picture my mind when I was doing, you know, editing and sort of putting together stories from people. I was wondering how I can tie together their data points in terms of like how they spoke into like a story that people would want to watch. And ultimately that led me down the path of getting some marketing internships and a lot of marketing jobs have to do with like research and analyzing the data to put together some actionable projections moving forward.
And that's sort of led me along the lines. Moving past these internships in the marketing field to getting a marketing management position at a fairly young age. And I think, you know, thanks to the understanding that I wasn't great at math, but you don't have to be to finding a love for like the field of data.
And using those, those skills that I've picked up along the way in the classes and then doing a little bit off course research which I'm really thankful because it's carried over into some soft skills that I use for my job that I think has kept me in this position longer than I probably should be.
Just don't tell my employer that. So it's been honestly really great. I've loved it.
[00:06:04] Ken: That's incredible. It's like, what did you do? You study like business, marketing, management, obviously you did your MBA, but what did you study in like undergrad.
[00:06:12] Andres: So surprisingly, and this, this surprises, everybody, even myself, as much as I love marketing, like it's my passion, and I think I'll carry it to the grave. I only took one marketing class through both my degrees. It's been business administration with, you know, sprinkling in some Dungeons and dragons extracurricular courses to get done as quick as possible. So it's, it's really just my bachelor's of science.
And then I went on to get my, my MBA. Really super simple business stuff, but I've always had an interest from marketing. And a lot of what I learned that I use for my jobs has been, you know, outside of the classroom, I'd say 99% of what I've learned and how I know how to do marketing has been through the courses like on Skillshare and Udemy.
And I couldn't be more thankful for like having the insight to be like, Oh crap, like, what am I supposed to do once I graduate? If I want to do more. And I haven't taken any classes, so it's been a blessing.
[00:07:14] Ken: So how do you balance that? So obviously you have an advanced degree and you were, if I recall correctly, the youngest person with a graduate degree, in the state of Oklahoma, I see that that's smoke smile, but you know, you're also saying that you learn the majority of the things that you learned to come from outside the classroom, you know, like how does that, how does that balance out in your mind?
Like, what is, what does that mean to you that like, Hey, you were able to Excel in school, you're able to, to, to get these degrees and do well there, but you also learn so much outside of the classroom.
[00:07:49] Andres: Yeah. I think it's, it's a weird sort of ironic situation that I put myself in. I would never tell anybody not to go to college.
I think a lot of people that go to college end up learning what, what they need to not that you get the most out of it for the, for the money that you put in hot take. But for me specifically, the university that I went to was due to the fact that I was there on a track scholarship. So it wasn't my ideal school if I wanted to learn the most I could about mark, but the situation had it they offered me the most running money to run. And so I decided I'll take that. I'll go do that and explore the marketing opportunities that they presented, which resulted in one class amazing professor. And then she left the next semester.
So I kinda all went downhill and then I realized, you know, I want to make a career out of this with the time that I have left, because I'm already on this fast track. Right. So I have two years of undergrad and then I have to either get a job or take some time off or get my master's. So in the beginning, the master's wasn't because I wanted to get it.
It was to give myself more time to sort of figure out what I wanted to do and like to keep myself the skills to get a job. It worked out in the end perfectly, but if you want to be, I think really good at what you do, then it won't hurt to learn more than you are already learning outside of the classroom.
And that really goes for anything. I think even if I specialized in marketing there's always more to learn. Especially when there's so many resources online in the 21st century. The fact that I was able to take advantage of. Moving forward.
[00:09:46] Ken: Did you also run in your while you were doing your MBA or?
[00:09:51] Andres: No. I got out of there. I couldn't do it again. I did anybody that says they love running is a liar. It was great. I loved it, but no, I had, it was time to.
[00:10:05] Ken: I got you. I know some people, so I played golf in college. Right. And some people would finish in three years and then they do a graduate program and they still have one year of eligibility.
So they're like, Oh, you know, I might as well just kind of hit this ball around this field for another year and do it to it, but I can relate to that. I firmly do not enjoy. So no, I... You know, that's awesome. I think. Something that is really relevant to me with your story here is that as we, you know, when you're in school. Right. You learn a lot of things, but that's the baseline that essentially everyone learns, you know, depending on what school you go to, all those things, it's really what you do with that information. Whether you take it into internships or whether you do projects or whether you are supplementing that with, with other coursework to make you as desirable as possible for employers, or to fill out gaps that you think are really interesting.
That's where the secret sauce is. Actually makes you employable, or gives you the abilities to create something special on your own. And you know, a lot of people, especially in the data domain, they're like, Oh, should I get this master's in data science? And the answer is if you can afford it. And also if you're actually going to do something with it, you're not just going to go and drop the classes.
Like I look at a lot of these programs as things that by time. To be able to build out your skills, to be able to build out a portfolio, to be able to like practice this in a dedicated environment, rather than it's like saying, Oh, like, you know, I'm starting to work. I have to focus X amount of hours on work and then I'm going to be tired, so I won't be able to do that in my mind school has always been I'm buying time. So I can build out the skills to create the exact future that I want. And I did go back to school quite a bit. So I was trying to buy a lot of time, I guess. So speaking of, you know, building skills outside of school.
You're obviously very well known on Reddit. You've been on the first page of Reddit multiple times if I remember correctly. And I'm wondering how that started, you know, obviously it's related to data visualization, but what gave you the idea? What made you want to start posting on that medium, specifically?
[00:12:25] Andres: Interesting that story. And it's something that I can remember, like it happened yesterday. So there was this one day, it, while I was in the first semester of my MBA. And I had just finished watching the episode of Rick and Morty with the squirrels. And I don't even remember the entire premise of it, but the fact that there were so many squirrels on planet earth and if they had intelligence, they could turn on us.
And I stuck with me while I was in class. I don't know what we learned that day at all, but the thing was to me, the most, the squirrels. And I said, you know what, it'd be interesting to know how many squirrels are in the U.S. And then I realized, like I could make a visualization. I've seen a lot of them on Instagram, the explore pages will open me up to this, to this world.
I would see something about sports, or about like how to diversify your portfolio. And they were all, some sort of graph or chart. And I was like, it can't be that hard to make it. And so the beginning of this started with friends and family. So I needed, I wanted to do this correctly because I knew it could be something that could be good at.
I had the skills to make it what I wanted it to be. And so I created a Google Form and I sent it to 50 people and I had them pick between like several names, StatsPanda was one of them and the logo. I actually had somebody, a freelancer make that logo for me. And I gave them a bunch of choices for the logo and it almost wasn't that Panda, it was almost something completely different. I think it was like bamboo poles or something. It was something outlandish. But it ended up all working out. They, they chose the face of what StatsPanda is and the name exactly like that. And I was like, okay, perfect. Now I have like the foundation.
And so I started creating content based on what I was seeing on Reddit after I found out. DataIsBeautiful existed and there was this whole community of up to 20 million people now existed. I had a platform that was the foundation for my voice, for my content. And I started making things based on like, what was relevant and the content is archived.
Now nobody can find it, but it started out almost as like screenshots of other people's graphs. And then I would put texts around it. So like stealing content. Yeah. But I just found it so interesting. And this was like, sort of the plug in between the content that I was making. And it sort of evolved into this, this community.
Nearly 10,000 people that are from all over the world. That very much enjoy what I make, but you know, have active conversation in the comment section. Not all great, but it's something that I've really started to appreciate. The more it's evolved.
[00:15:26] Ken: I really like that. Something I wouldn't say unique to Reddit, but something that is highlighted in Reddit as sort of the anonymity side of it.
I mean, I can't post in a, one of the data science and machine learning platforms because I get crucified. There's like this big stigma in those communities about sharing your own work. And I find it just like a really, I mean, it's not as fear that I believe to. Have cracked or I plan to crack, but I'm interested in how you found specific success there.
And you know what that story is like, like what do people resonate with in that domain?
[00:16:02] Andres: So I think sort of the most that I've learned. Outside of actually, you know, diving into like how to make visualizations. The correct way has been through the comments, sections of Reddit they're ruthless and they show no mercy.
And in fact, in all seriousness, like I made a post back during the 2020 election by saying we Kanye West was receiving votes and I made a visualization that they reached the front page. I think it was one of the first times. The first time that my content was, was shared worldwide. And I had that sort of, that reach that everybody was able to see, and that meant that they were able to give their opinion on it.
And I remember going through the thousands of comments and, you know, Reddit, the top comments, how have, you know, stand out the most because they have the most likely. And some of them, if not, all of them were criticisms of how bad the graph was. I didn't use the correct color shading. I didn't represent the data well I was, you know, it was misleading.
I was spreading misinformation and I remember one comment that just sent me over the edge was he said, this is pants on. And I was like, Wow, that hurts. Thanks though. And so I started using this as a way to start learning what I'm doing wrong and correct it in the future. Now there are some people that they just absolutely despise me as a person now, which I find kind of admirable.
Thank you for that. I've made it to that point. But on Reddit, I sort of started posting my content on. And had the ability to type more of a description than on Instagram. There's no character limit on Reddit. If there is, I haven't reached it yet. So they able to tell more of the story, which allowed me to share more of what the graph means, what it represents and, and sort of how I went into this process and sort of tell the story, the whole point of like, why I started doing this is I wanted to tell a story beyond just what you're seeing.
I know the visual part is like super important, right? It's what draws people in and keeps them. But the story also, I think, is really important for those who want to learn more. Cause I know a lot of people don't really read the descriptions, but for those who. That's what it's there for and those, those type of people, I want to draw it in.
And so my process for Reddit is simply posting on the type of subreddits that I think are related to data. A lot of asks you have like cool guides, data, beautiful visualization, and then specifically, and this is sort of a hack that, you know, people can take with them. For example, I recently did a post about Lego sets and the data community just brushed off.
They didn't care. It got a couple of likes, but I posted it in the, our Legos group and they loved it. So I tapped into those, those niche communities. That's what the graph is about. And that seems to really drive home the growth beyond just like what I'm typically doing.
[00:19:02] Ken: I really liked that. And you know, something, something in there that I think is I don't know is particularly important, is that just you're identifying the audiences that not everyone is going to be a fan, right.
Not everyone is going to like everything you do. But the odds are that there's going to be someone that, that does appreciate your work. And I think that that's pretty powerful. Another thing is the feedback mechanism, right? Although Reddit is absolutely ruthless. I think people shy too far away from quality feedback.
So like on my YouTube videos, some people are just like me, right? Like my last video, I messed up my camera settings for the audio and it didn't sound as good as usual. And they absolutely crucified before. They're like, Yeah, audio socks. This is trash, yada, yada, yada, but you know, I probably, at least on my devices, I didn't notice.
And that's an easy thing for me to fix. It's legitimate feedback. It gets old after a while, but like, you know, if you can develop that skill where you take away the sentiment of the message and look at it essentially for what it's worth to me, that's one of the most valuable things you can have because you're going to be able to take improvement or criticism at like true face value. Like, is this meaningful? Are they just being mean or is it constructive? I don't care if it's mean or, or whatever it is. If it has some way that I can improve my content or I can improve myself, I'll listen to it. So many people are scared of that, that they're too scared to even post on LinkedIn and people's faces are attached to LinkedIn.
Their jobs are attached on LinkedIn. What are you, what are you scared of? No, one's going to say anything being like, if you have a typo, they'll let you know. But, you know, for example, I had a typo in one of my videos and like two or three people reached out via email. Right. And they're like, before people go crazy.
And, you know, like get mad at you, like there's these typos and I'm a. No, one's getting mad at me. Like, I appreciate it. Like, this is really valuable. I like, I want this type of feedback, but like no one in the comment section is being like, You spelled organizing wrong
[00:21:13] Andres: I couldn't agree more on that.
[00:21:21] Ken: So, you know, something I'm particularly interested in is like building the community. So how do you, aside from posting and doing those things, like, what do you do to maintain a community? How do you cater to the needs of a community? And also, you know, outside of it, like, how do you choose a platform?.
Like obviously Reddit made sense for you because high volume there's specific sub-Reddits that are relevant, but, you know, do you have any like kind of broader level thoughts on that?
[00:21:48] Andres: I think that this is something I've really struggled with and I've thought about a lot. This was always intended to be something that was community-based.
So I wasn't making the content. Well, I was making the content because I loved it, but that was 50% of it. The other part was because I wanted to build a place where people could come to get, and see the type of content that I was sharing and sort of talk to like-minded people, whether it's in the comment sections or, or in the subreddit.
I think a large part of picking the right platform has to do with obviously the type of content. Though the results may vary. What I mean by that is like, if your goal is to build a community, then you probably should choose Reddit. To get the most reach the most amount of impressions that you possibly can while, while you know, increasing your karma score for whatever that's worth Reddit's your man.
And I guess technically offsite has given me the most opportunities. What I mean by that is the people that reach out from like business insider or MSN or some, some other smaller media organizations to do some articles, all found my stuff. Reddit, which is fantastic. Unfortunately I can't really change my name.
I would love it to be StatsPanda. But that Reddit was made a long time ago. So it's a different name, Dre Marius, which now I'm associated with. So there's sort of this, like I've made a mistake, but I'm too far in to fix it now. So it is what it is. So that was something I've had to like. To deal with because it's almost like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, because they're just two different people doing the same type of thing. So with me and Instagram, it's sort of my. It's my it's my baby. I love Instagram. I love the amount of insight that I could, you know, derive from each post. So I could see like where it's being shared, who sharing it, how many times where it's going to reach engagement, stuff like that.
And it helps me those metrics help me drive my content. It's what has made me pick the type of content that I'm posting now. And more specifically, the comments are less about. Somebody's opinion and more about the type of content that's being posted, what the actual content is, and if they have any values that they've drawn from it, what that value is.
And specifically in the direct messages, people have know, giving me feedback on terms like maybe this could have been better because of this, or I love your page, man. You should definitely do something about this. And that's sort of the community that I've always wanted to build. In the beginning there were several people.
Stuck around as I've grown that have been just as active. And I remember that and it's grown to like a handful of people that I can call true fans and just love my work. And don't, you know, go to bed dreaming about me, but when they wake up and they see that I posted they're like, Heck yeah, my day just got like, well, I wouldn't say 10%, but like 9% marginally better.
[00:24:57] Ken: This episode of Ken's Nearest Neighbors is brought to you by Z by HP. HP's high compute workstation-grade line of products and solutions Z is specifically made for high-performance data science solutions. And I personally use the ZBook Studio and the Z4 Workstation. I really love that the Z line who comes standard with Linux and they also can be configured with the data science software stack. With the software stack, you can get to the work of doing data science on day 1 without the overhead of having to completely reconfigure your new machine. Now, back to our show. I really liked that. I mean, I'm constantly thinking about platform and I think anyone that's looking to build communities or share their work, that's one of the most important decisions you can make.
I mean, I got really lucky as a data scientist that I started on YouTube. Right. Like I didn't expect. To make YouTube videos a lot of the time. Right. I just put one up and it did pretty well. But the thing with me is I could see so many metrics associated with that video, right? Like that became something that I was already excited about is data.
What if I could combine this hobby or a passion with all of the data that's out there. To me, that was an incredible journey that, that I was just starting on. It's like every video I made, I could analyze it. Right? Like it was more, it was like more, the data is content for me to consume and understand, and like that positive feedback loop to me was incredible. It's like, Oh, I make this video, which I enjoy doing. I get to see the data from the video and I can analyze it and see what that means for the next video. And there's this really cool momentum that's created associated with those things. And, you know for me, YouTube was the perfect marriage, right?
For other people, it might be LinkedIn, right? If someone's very scared of criticism, like LinkedIn is really a great place to post a lot of content. If you're looking to grow professionally, same thing, LinkedIn is an awesome place. You want to just berate people. Twitter's a great place. So so, you know, I think that there's there's just like a lot of beauty in, in the medium that we choose.
And I think people should be really mindful of that. And I also think that we shouldn't just spread on every media. I'm like, I've been very careful that as much as I'd like to get on some of the platforms that are growing quickly, for example, like TikTok, I that's not the style of content that I've necessarily mastered yet.
And not that I've mastered YouTube content by any means, but it's like the additional effort I have to put into that would detract from the content that I produce on the other platforms that, that I'm stronger on. And so, you know, maybe it's better to focus on one or two first and let those carrier growth.
I mean, it's not like Reddit does not bleed into Instagram, right. Or Instagram doesn't bleed into these other platforms. So for me, again, I can't stress enough. Like choosing medium is, is really powerful. I am interested, obviously your stuff focuses on data visualization. How did you pick up those skills?
[00:28:03] Andres: A lot of practice. So early on, like I said, while I was finishing my undergrad a lot of the jobs that I had involved video editing and scripting, and that also meant that I had to take up some graphic design skills because they needed that in the stories. And that sort of, you know, brought me into this, this realm of like lacking, create whatever I want.
I just snapped to know how to do it. And along with everything in the classes, you know, learning, you know, how to use data, how to manipulate it, how to tell a story through a visualization. If you, even, if you couldn't add a description to it was really important. And as much as I would have loved to abuse, like Tableau I'm broke.
So I can't, I was broken. I am broke, so I still can't.
[00:28:49] Ken: There's a student free subscription now.
[00:28:53] Andres: I know hindsight's 2020. But I use everything that was available to me, which meant that I was using a lot of like websites made specifically for creating data visualizations. And, you know, they sort of really just walked me through how to do that.
And I'd say that a lot of what I do is done the correct way. But for example, I do this sort of like bubble chart which almost isn't even really a visualization that relates to data. It's almost sort of like just the guy, but I still consider it sometimes that I'm using data points. Right. I've convinced myself that that's what it is.
And I will not be deterred, so I continue to do this. Right. And so I've picked up a lot of, like I said, how I picked up marketing skills and all the knowledge that I needed was sort of outside the classroom, learning on all these websites. Typically just doing Google searches. When I wanted to learn more about how to do something.
Now I would have loved to learn how to create relations through Python. But my programming skills have gone away. I used to know how to do somewhat and to get things done that I needed to get done. But now it's left me like my ability to run. But both I do not know. And I'll continue to do what I'm doing now, because I mean, it works for me which I'm really thankful for as well.
[00:30:21] Ken: Yeah, well, I think something that people get way too wrapped up on is the tools, right? I mean, think you were telling me offline, you were using Excel and Canva and some other stuff that, you know, a data scientist or some of them might scoff at. Right. But the beauty is that, you know, your visuals are being used.
Thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of times, and interact with us so much. Like, is that what matters or is the tool that you used? Is that what matters? No, it's like how compelling the visual is, how much people are gonna engage with it and resonate with. And I think that that's something that for anyone starting out is an unbelievably powerful lesson, is like, it's what you create.
It's not necessarily how you got there. I mean, for the scientific method. Yes. It is how you got there. Like you have to be right. But like the outcome, I mean, some of the, some of the visuals that, that I've made, it's like, okay, I started it in Python, but it was just easier for me to add all of the labels and all those things in PowerPoint or something like that.
Right. The impact on the client was the exact same. And the number of hours that it took me to do was significantly less because I use some of these other tools. And you know, if you care about replicability, that's one thing. But if you care about like bottom line impact, which I think business people, which I think most data scientists also should care about, no one really cares how you got there.
[00:31:46] Andres: Yeah, true. I, for me, and again, you hit on this. What I do is very simple and I think that's what makes it so successful. It resonates with the people that don't have the same understanding as me or you, or as people that are well-versed in the community. It's just for anybody, it could be, my grandmother could enjoy just as much as you could where I could.
Okay. That's really important and it wasn't the goal. And I didn't have that goal in mind when I started making them, but I wanted the visualization to be as simple looking as possible. I kind of took inspiration from Apple. Everything you see from the website to the product is very simple. The user interface and user experience is for all. And I took that to heart and that's sort of my mission is to make all of the graphs that I make. All the content that I make is simple to understand and look at as possible. And I think that's, that's what makes it easy to share with your friends that you don't have to be like, oh my friend's not going to get this.
The dumb as rock, even if they're dumb, which they probably aren't, they're super smart. They could get it. And I carry that with everything I do. I, in fact, I probably have reverted to as simple as you can get before, it's almost like questionable content, like did my mother's kindergarteners make this maybe.
And there's three things that I like to touch on that go into how I make the type of content that I do and that I think was missing and sort of how I've carved out this little space on the internet. The first one is some, some humor. I gotta add a little bit of comedy, whether it's in like the type of content that's being posted or it's the description of the actual visualization.
So for example, the Kanye West one that I did super simple graph but I added Kanye West face at the very bottom as if he's like. Peeking up at you and people loved it. They were like, Kanye is always watching Big Brother, stuff like that. Which was kind of weird, but like that's kinda what I was going for.
And that type of stuff is like, oh, this guy's pretty funny. And they might even forget what the content about, but the fact that they remember, oh, this guy's super funny. They might bring them back. It sort of leaves a bigger impression. And then the second one is I think the most important, and it's sort of like telling a story beyond what you're actually seeing.
Yes, the content, the visualization is there. You can derive some sort of message or bring some value to it for yourself, but to tell a story of like, why I'm doing this what's happening why the data is the way that it is, and sort of maybe like a history of how we got here. Like, for example, one that I recently did was the most popular MTU actors in terms of Instagram followers.
Well, it wasn't the same five years ago. Type of people that are on there today. Probably we would have never guessed like Miley Cyrus was the top one. People don't even know who she plays. And that sort of stuff. I really love telling the story about, because if you see it and you're like, Oh, that's kinda interesting, but if you read about it and you're like, Oh man, that's so interesting.
That's sort of like what I'm pushing for. And finally, the third one is like, I think something, everybody should live in. Is she has to do it, right? So like I had struggled early on trying not to spread misinformation. And I got knocked for it cause I didn't do my research early on. Right. And I was, you know, maybe doing things that like weren't like in the best interest of the public, which meant that like it was a straight up wrong.
And I've sort of learned that like, you can't do that, especially if you have an audience, like it's gotta be correct. Those three things is what I carry, you know, like ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,everything I do which is super important to me and sort of like, I think you need to have some sort of rules and guidelines for like how you create your content, especially if like people can use that to share with other people in this day and age is super important.
[00:36:00] Ken: Well, you know, I think that the personal evolution is really powerful to see, right. It's that? Hey. You know, I've learned this and we've been able to like, improve the quality of the content. That's like a big lesson learned. And I mean, it's something I'm super mindful of too, is like, if I spread misinformation, I'm probably doing more harm than good.
Right. And that's not, I think what any of our goals are. I actually have this, I've been reading this every day. So I wrote this down. It says you do everything, how you do anything. And I try to remember that. It's like, even when I'm like sending emails, I'm doing something stupid. It's like, I should do my due diligence.
I should take the time. I should like focus on it because that's a habit. Right. It's a habit we create is if we're just like half passing the research, like, Oh, but I want to get the views first. I want to jump there. That isn't great for the long-term success of, of essentially any of the things that we build and we put out there. You know, I really like, like all of those ideas and how you're able to. I was kind of synthesized. I was going to ask you what makes it compelling data visualization, but it seems like you beat me to it. You know, something I've noticed is that a lot of your data visualizations, you're taking very similar graphics and you're putting new information.
And I think that a lot of people are scared to do something like that. But to me, it's like, Hey, this formula works. If people are. Why don't you just continue to use it? How do you feel about that? I mean, obviously you do experiment, you do you create new things, but there seems to be things that are tried and true and you know, is that something you've done by design or, or kind of walk me through that a little bit.
[00:37:43] Andres: Early on in this journey, what I do now, wasn't what it was.
And like I said, and bring it back to what I've archived. There was a method to the madness in terms of like what worked and what didn't work. In the beginning, I was sort of making any sort of visualization that I could any sort of graph chart, you name it. I really in the beginning cared about what was like, the value could draw from it rather than like the type.
And I think I started to realize that some did better than others. And especially early on when I wasn't just using my content, I would take other people's content that they had made and make it my own in terms of like, The style and the branding. And I would learn that that did pretty well too. And so what I've started to do, I sort of found my rhythm, my road in the data visualization is I think specifically for me three different types of charts.
And I'm talking about this before, so the bubble. Is not technically, I wouldn't like you would call it like the ugly stepchild. Cause like it's not really official, but it's like something that people love. And especially when it comes to like stuff that you could technically call something else, like a guide or like you could hang it up as on a poster, there's a visualization.
Subreddit just specifically for things made for walls. And I put that on there too, because technically that data and the stuff that I put on there is. Is going to be what it is forever. It's not going to change. Right. And then two other ones are just simple, simple types of, of, of ways to, to visualize data.
So it's like horizontal and vertical line graphs, which people have loved on DataIsBeautiful. And it's really easy and simple to understand. I'm seeing a lot of really complex charts on best subreddit that, that not to say that they try too hard, but again. You have to explain it if you want it to be well-known and shared through different communities and media channels, you have to explain it in layman terms.
It's sort of like the poor man's chart. They have to be able to understand whether they have a lot of experience, you know, experience. And so when I make these, I found that those three types of charts along with like maps. So like U.S. maps work the best. I started out using like world maps, specific countries, but my audience is 70 to 80% in America.
I have some, some Canadian fans, some people from Europe, from Asia, but for the most, there in the states and they want, you know, U.S. data, they want stuff that, you know, relates to them or their state. And so those three different types, I think, work the best. And I've started to learn that sort of not clickbait because you can't really do that, but have you sensationalized the data in terms of like the title?
So you make it as intriguing as possible without having to like why to them or to the audience. It works really well. So whatever. Is that I might do something that I wouldn't normally do. For example, I hate talking about billionaires. They get enough attention, but people love to know how they made their money.
They need, they like to know where they're from or, or if their state has a lot of billionaires or perhaps like maybe what kind of companies or businesses they've opened up. And so like the billionaire needs. For using those as data points seems to be like, wealth by all. And it's in fact, like the data visualization that's been shared the most out of all of my, all the content I've created, it's been billionaire stuff, which I, you know, will carry forward.
But also I think you have to draw a line somewhere, right? Like what works in what you want to do, even though it doesn't do well, is something that you just have to come to accept. Right. A lot of what I love about. I've stopped doing because it doesn't do well. And will I ever get back on that path and doing what I want to do originally?
Probably not. I've built up a community of people that enjoy the content that they're getting now, which is fine. I'm here to serve. But again, most people, some people wouldn't do that and it's just sort of something that you have to figure out and make the decision before it's too late.
[00:42:25] Ken: Wow. You know, so there's, there's two things.
I think something that's a common theme in this conversation. Is there sort of like reductionist mindset of simplicity is what people are looking for in data visualizations, right? I mean, why do we create a visual in the first place is to simplify data, right? Is to make it easier to talk about it. It's something that I think people get really distracted by.
I mean, there's this huge tendency to over-complicate things, especially in the data domain and. You know, what I'm hearing is that what makes people pay attention to a data? Visualization is first the simplicity. And second, the relevance to that, that's what you're describing is kind of going and creating content that is relevant to your audience.
I personally have like a trade-off and a conflict between this and, you know, I can only find motivation to create if I'm very excited about making the content. So on YouTube, I'd say all of my content that I make is still something that I like am excited about making. And I've made quite a few videos that I wanted to make that I felt like they should be out there, even though I knew no one was going to wash them.
Right. I made a video about why I think everyone should start a podcast. No one watched it still. One of the videos that I'm like most proud of. Right. And you know, to me, it's interesting, like, you know, how do you motivate if the things that you're creating aren't exactly. Like what you're as excited about, about putting out there.
I mean, obviously you're still excited about putting out there, but like how do you make that trade off in Europe, in your head.
[00:43:53] Andres: Right. Yeah. I think that's sort of turned into like an expansion of how do you find more of what you love doing? Even if what you like. Yeah, yeah, yeah. In terms of like, what, what do you love doing?
And like what sort of like aligned with like your passion, this. Something that I absolutely love doing. But I want to find like the here that there is possible in terms of like the type of content I create. And I think that's where I've expanded. It's like doing other things, like you've talked about, like, you shouldn't like expand upon like, or across all mediums, like you shouldn't do all media channels.
And I agree, like I would love to do like reels on TikTok and, or on Instagram and do TikToks. But I don't think I should. I don't want to I'll stay with them to talk for now, but YouTube is another thing that I want more of myself to be shared with the world and talk about like what I want.
And as much as I love love doing what I'm doing. At sort of steered by the community. Right. Which, which is absolutely fine. That's sort of how I wanted it to go. They sort of tell me based on like their reactions and engagement, like what they want, what they want to see, what, what I shouldn't do you know, how I should plan going forward, which, you know, makes my job easier in, in some sense.
And in some regards, like, I don't have to worry about like making this, this graph because they already want me to make, I have to worry about like, oh, should I post this? Well, I don't know if they're going to like it. They've already added. Not directly, but based on like their, their engagement. And I think that's really important, especially when, like at this point I, you know, I'm not going to revert back to like losing followers.
So the growing daily and the fact that more people are coming in seeing what already being shown and, and like, wow, this is not a lot of likes. Well, I love it to carry forward, carries forward. I think it's like just them guiding the channel as a whole, not a hundred percent. A large part of it.
[00:45:52] Ken: Awesome. I really liked that. Well, let's talk about YouTube. What do you know? What do you, what are you planning to do next? What are you, where are you trying to grow? Like, you know, what's next for you here?
[00:46:02] Andres: What's next is something that's sort of already started. It's been sort of like a, an annoyance in the back of my mind.
Express your creativity sort of do what you want to do. And that's, that's been in a YouTube. I love how people are able to tell stories on YouTube and it's not like I love movies. Like I'm moving out. I can spend hours in my bed just watching movies. I love like, you know, storytelling and how people express their creativity.
And I think YouTube, I think people don't realize like how hard it is to make like a YouTube video. Like, obviously it's not hard to do, but like to execute and to find like your rhythm and like what you're good at doing. And to like maximize all your capabilities and minimize your workflows. You can contact as quickly as possible quality content is truly a skill and I've been mastering what I can for the past five years and put out type of content that I wanted to at the time and moving forward, I think YouTube is sort of where I'm going to shift to next.
And it probably won't be data related, but more of. Of lifestyle of answering questions that people might never ask their friends, but they might Google it is sort of where I'm leaning to sort of like Matt DFL is sort of the type of person that I relate to a lot. And that is sort of something that excites me.
I wake up everyday and think I cannot wait to film. In fact, I have camera equipment all over my house. For all the B roll shots for all the roll shots that I need. And I just really think that that's sort of like what I want to do moving forward and perhaps like maybe even make a career out of it one day.
If I get, get that far.
[00:47:45] Ken: Awesome. Well, you know what I mean? It's very clear that you're a good storyteller already. I think you've been able to show that very compellingly with data and, you know, I don't think that that's a far leap to do that with. The kind of spoken voice and with B roll and with video.
And so a very natural segue for you. One last thing I want to, I want to touch on is, you know, you've talked about how earlier in your, in your Reddit career, you were borrowing other people's visuals and marking them up. And obviously, I mean, that's not something, if you're not accrediting, that's not something we want to be doing.
I would imagine a lot of people are taking the work that you do now and are taking credit for it. How do you manage that? How do you handle that? And you know, what is the thought process?
[00:48:34] Andres: Depending on the type of post, like for example, how well the post does, I did an air pump. One that probably is my most shared across the internet.
And for like the love of God, like I cannot track it all and I'm know it's stolen by people. I will never find. And that's fine. You know what? Congratulations, you can have it. I take, the first reaction is feeling is flattery, but then again, it builds into annoyance and then I'm ultimately pissed if I can track them down.
The account where the person I'll sort of approach them and say like, could, could you give me credit? Or could you take that down? And the lengths that some people go to like steal content and to make it their own baffled meat. They'll flip it upside down vertically, like shifted like the access, like a couple of degrees, which I guess makes it theirs in their mind.
But typically, usually I'll reach out and say, That's not cool. Go make your own. It's not that hard. And if it's on Instagram specifically, I have a a quick story of like, somebody took my content and I found it through somebody sending it to me, one of, one of my followers. And then I posted on my story.
This is not cool. Do not do this guys. This person is a bad person. And then I didn't expect that was the extent of what I thought it was going to be. And then all my followers, like barrage this man with like, just not, Hey, but like take it down. Like how could you, StatsPanda has never done anything wrong and I'm like, Thank you wrong, but thank you.
And they took it down. Which I think if I could do for everything that would be awesome. But again, it's a sort of something you have to deal with and accept, like you can't stop all the content that you post from being, you know, taken and manipulated in some way. But if you can manage and mitigate that you know, it happening as much as you can.
That's really all you can do, especially as you grow more and more. But absolutely not a fan do not steal people's content.
[00:50:33] Ken: Yeah. Well, I mean, that's something that's always baffled me because you know, let's say you have a good Instagram following and someone shares your work and they give you credit for it.
Like whenever someone shares my work, I'm like, Hey, like I, you know, retweet it or share it on my story or do whatever. And so it's like, if you're trying to grow your brand, you get so much more out of celebrating other people's work rather than stealing it really who's gonna, because then there's just more pressure on you to steal other people's work again and prove that you're brilliant, whatever it is, and that's just not sustainable for long-term growth. I just have never understood it. There's plenty of people who are, have massive followings on these social platforms. Literally all they do is just share people's work and give them credit for it. Right. And it's not that hard and they've grown, incredible brands.
Like, you know, Hey, this person has their, their hand on the pulse of whatever's going on in the community. They're always sharing really cool stuff. Like that's a great way to be a citizen of these communities without stomping on anyone's feet, on toes or fingers or whatever it is. And I would encourage more people to do it that way rather than, you know, then another way and, and you know, hopefully that's a positive message to, to leave everyone on. Those are all the questions I had. Do you have any any additional things you wanted to touch on? Anything that you were working on and you wanted to share aside from YouTube?
[00:51:58] Andres: No, honestly, we've covered it all. Again, I really thank you for the opportunity and hope we've covered a lot of useful insight of the topics here.
[00:52:06] Ken: I think we definitely have. Thank you again for coming on.