How would you spend a year in isolation?

Published on March 19, 2020

Sir Isaac Newton famously spent a year ‘working from home’ in 1665 when the Bubonic Plague shut down Cambridge University; in that time, he invented calculus and had the insights that lead to his law of universal gravitation. Not too shabby really.


During my high school years, I was home schooled and isolated too. We lived 10km from the nearest town and to see kids my own age was a long bike ride or a very long walk. That time in isolation taught me an awful lot about goals, work, and achievement.

I realised that with time and focus I could become expert at anything.

Some kids want to be firemen or policemen, I wanted to be Steve McQueen, in The Great Escape. I loved the idea of solitary confinement – 100% focus on a skill. Amazing! I dreamed of perfecting juggling, or hacky sack, or bike tricks.


My approach is a bit different now, but I still crave that idea of 100% focus. And I am excited about how we can all use this time to create data heroes:

In the process of building our data platform for curious people, we’ve noticed two big groups that many people identify with. The first is the “data hero”, who has the stats and perspective to explain what’s really happening inside the business and processes. The second, are all the leaders who are desperate to know what’s really going on.

The most successful companies are those that build a culture where the data heroes can be the messenger without getting shot.

Our vision is to create a “data platform” where all curious heroes or leaders can contribute and get immediate insights. We’ve started with a clever search and notification engine because we know how important it is to know what’s really going on – now! Our next step is to open up the platform to your data heroes.

Imagine getting real time insights from every area of your business!

If any of this sounds beneficial to your company, let’s talk! In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a few things you could do to use your time wisely:

Learn to code in Python. Python has arguably become the language of choice for data scientists with a wealth of libraries for any data task. My 10 year old has been learning here.

Learn to use Git and GitHub. Git is used by professional coders to manage their precious code and GitHub is where a lot of people socialise their code.

Get into machine learning. Analytics is great, but predictions are even better. Kaggle is a really popular place to learn and have fun.

Learn to wheelie. A fun way to stay healthy and you can do it in isolation. Ryan Leech is amazing on a bike – he must have been isolated! The learn to wheelie in 30 days course is free at the moment.

With many governments around the world imposing isolation, there’s understandably some fear about what effect this will have on our lives. Let’s hope it’s not a year of isolation for us, but if it is, imagine what insights we could create with data in that time!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Byte Sized Insight. Get in touch if you’ve seen anything that sparked your imagination and simply Click Subscribe below to get our insights direct to your inbox!

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