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January 28, 2023

A Famous Psephologist Hated Working at KPMG, Just Like Us!

In this election cycle, Nate Silver may be the most talked about person that isn't running for political office. He runs FiveThirtyEight, a blog that uses data to determine the probability of a particular outcome in an election, most notably the presidential election. In 2008 he predicted 49 out of 50 states correct, so he seems to have a knack for this.

This year, Silver has gotten lots of attention because his analysis has repeatedly showed that the probability of President Obama being re-elected is quite high. I've followed FiveThirtyEight for a while but didn't know too much about Silver's background until in the last week, all sorts of people were getting bent out of shape about his predictions.

Since I've been off the grid for a few days, I just learned that, like many of you, Silver started his career at KPMG. Also, like many of you, he really didn't like working there! According to an entry on his Wikipedia page, he worked as an economic consultant in the Chicago office for three and a half years and when he was asked by some fellow nerds what his biggest regret in life was, he responded, "Spending four years of my life at a job I didn't like." Another article says that most of the work "bored him." Does that sound familiar?!

Well there's good news: Silver managed to find something he liked – baseball – and made a pretty successful run at that with his Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm. He then played online poker for a while which also went pretty well and then started writing about politics which landed him a decent book deal. Who knows, if he turns out to be right on his forecasts for this election, world domination may be next.

In other words, there's hope for you! Sure, you may not be a statistical wizard that can develop revolutionary methods for analyzing baseball players or making political forecasts, but know that your dissatisfaction with the House of Klynveld is not unusual nor a hindrance to your future success. Now get back to work until you figure out what you're really going to do with your life!

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