Bill Lynch, C’10

Director of Data Science, NeuroFlow

Philadelphia, PA

Biological Basis of Behavior Major

I think a core and underappreciated skill that takes time to sharpen is simply effective communication. Communicating the value of a project early and often while taking an iterative approach as it grows and develops is huge. For example, when it comes to building data products, setting expectations, and showing incremental progress, or even lack thereof, can be just as important as building a complete product itself. Doing so helps build the context stakeholders need and helps us receive important feedback. Perhaps most importantly, it allows my team to be efficient with their time, a limited resource in a fast-moving company.

No one wants to work on something for months only to be told by someone else that the project is not what they wanted. And yet that happens a lot, it’s one of those growing pains. Effective communication helps us do the discovery early on and allows us to readjust and make sure we’re investing time and budget in the right things.  You can build the best model, or you can have the best analysis, but if it’s not solving the right problem or not telling the right story, then it’s not going to be useful.

The liberal arts, interdisciplinary education I got at Penn gave me a holistic worldview that catalyzes innovation when you’re on a cross-functional team. You’re working with people that have different expertise in numerous areas, so having that broad worldview allows you to improve the team by bringing something new and fresh to the table, rather than just being like everybody else. It really has helped me in how I think and how I drive my personal philosophy.
December 7, 2021 • Photo by Brooke Sietinsons