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Making Data Easier

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Jessica Larson


How to build better data platforms with Jessica Larson, Author and Data at Pinterest


Ryan Buick


July 5, 2022


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“I’m interested in the intersection of the human brain and computers.” – Jessica Larson

“I do my best work when I’m working on things I’ve never done before. All of that learning is what keeps me engaged.” – Jessica Larson

“The whole point of an analytics team is to scale your org quickly.” – Jessica Larson

“Sometimes we’re given so many tools, and then we start to make things complicated. It’s sensory overload; it’s really hard for people to be engaged with something stressful.” – Jessica Larson

“You can’t separate analytics from business. One thing we’ve seen a lot in the past few years is this push for analytics teams to be more business-driven.” – Jessica Larson

“It’s exciting. It’s fast-moving. It’s hard to get bored with data.” – Jessica Larson

“If it breaks, and nobody complains, that’s a problem. That means people aren’t using it.” – Jessica Larson

Article Summary 📝

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In this episode of Making Data Easier, Jessica Larson speaks with host Ryan Buick about her book “Snowflake Access Control: Mastering the Features for Data Privacy and Regulatory Compliance.” She discusses how she came to write the book, what inspired her, and the impact it’s already making in the data community.

Jessica talks about her current career as a Platform Engineer in the Enterprise Data Warehouse team at Pinterest and how she got there. Jessica loves a good challenge, especially the kind that involves learning a new skill. She talks about how she initially studied cognitive science at university but soon found her passion for computer science. She discusses her book, Snowflake Access Control, which provides an overview of cloud security, data ownership, and management in the public cloud.


In this episode, you will learn:

  • Why businesses need to start tracking data and analytics as soon as possible
  • Essential aspects of access control
  • How she keeps herself engaged
  • The overlap between the human brain and computers
  • How to protect sensitive data


Jessica shares why analytics isn’t just for techies and how they can help your organization understand what’s working and what isn’t. Jessica touches on how analytics provide valuable insight to help companies make important changes that improve performance.

Jessica also explains why it’s vital to have a strategy for the data you collect. She gives examples of organizations that have successfully used analytics in their marketing strategies, hiring processes, and even employee satisfaction surveys.

Jessica talks about her experience at Flexport and what she learned. She shares the tools she builds for pipeline management, especially focused on automating tasks that may take hours or days to complete.


Additional topics discussed:

  • The value of learning SQL
  • Applicable uses for analytics
  • How to integrate multiple processes into one
  • How to track productivity and employee behavior


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