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Benn Stancil
An at-least-weekly-but-probably-more Substack on data, with data, plus some essays on technology, culture, sports, and politics.
Created 15 Dec 2019
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  • In defense of analogies
    17 Jun 2021about 11 hours ago • 3 min read
    Welcome to benn dot substack dot com. For better or worse, a couple months in, this Substack is mostly a newsletter of weekly analogies.1 SQL style guides are the First Epistle to Timothy. Business us...
  • The case against SQL formatting
    11 Jun 2021 • 4 min read • 2 0
    How do you solve a problem like Maria DB SQL formatting? I’m a man with a short epitaph. If I were to die tomorrow, the best material I’d leave my eulogizers is three shallow scratches I put on strang...
  • When are templates going to happen?
    08 Jun 2021 • 7 min read • 2 0
    Templates are so fetch. Every six months or so, I have the same conversation I’ve been having for the past seven years. I’m talking with someone about some new data technology or trend, and we notice ...
  • The self-serve shibboleth
    01 Jun 2021 • 6 min read • 2 0
    “What exit?” I'm convinced that every field has “senior shibboleths:'' ideas that sound contrarian to the uninitiated, but are, among people with more experience, pretty conventional. These ideas, whi...
  • To the man in 18A: Open the window, you degenerative cusk eel
    20 May 2021 • 4 min read • 4 0
    Source: Hell. Outside that window, as far below the ocean's surface as we are above it, live the earth's most revolting creatures. These fish, generously named given their unkind form, float listlessl...
  • Analytics is a mess
    17 May 2021 • 5 min read • 13 1
    Looking back, I’m not sure if I liked math or if I was scared of writing. The prospect of spending most of my time in college writing papers—staring at a blank page, endlessly editing drafts, never kn...
  • It's hard to hate up close
    13 May 2021 • 2 min read • 4 4
    I’ve learned that it’s harder to hate up close. – Michelle Obama, Becoming When I first read this line, I saw it as advice to walk in other people’s shoes. Our divisions, Obama is telling us, come fro...
  • Is Minerva the answer?
    04 May 2021 • 5 min read • 10 2
    Accio metric, or some other heinous Harry Potter pun. [source] After posting my proposal for a metrics layer two weeks ago, a number of folks reached out to share their take on the problem, and a few ...
  • Optimizing your Twitter profile picture
    27 Apr 2021 • 6 min read • 4 0
    The bar closed years ago. The t-shirt, though still tucked away at the bottom of my dresser, is more cobweb than clothing, only able to survive the most gentle of dryer cycles. The hair is mostly miss...
  • The missing piece of the modern data stack
    22 Apr 2021 • 9 min read • 23 18
    Ok, this is an overdramatization. In the evidently tiny professional circles that I run in, the “modern data stack” is having a moment. The concept, which is a new framework to move data around an org...

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