Lucas Puente is a social scientist passionate about using econometrics and data science to improve understanding of the world and turn raw data into useful insights.
Thumbtack is an online service matching customers with local professionals, employing data to better understand policies and economics affecting small businesses. They list nearly 1,000 types of services in categories such as home, wellness, events, and lessons and serve every county in the U.S.
At UGA, Puente discovered a drive for answering interesting questions.
“I wasn’t initially driven to statistics and analytics for the sake of it, but ended up developing a passion for these fields because I discovered they could help me find the answers to my questions,” he says.
His work is project-based, beginning with cross-functional collaborative input across Thumbtack departments to determine objectives. Puente immerses himself in the solitary work of collecting data and analyzing results, then collaborates with staff to clearly present messaging via written content, spatial graphics and more.
“I access Thumbtack proprietary databases, as well as those of the Census, Bureau of Labor Statistics and other public databases on a macro and micro level,” says Puente, who was recently named to UGA’s 40 Under 40 list. “Survey analysis is vital to my work. We will soon release Thumbtack’s 2018 Small Business Friendliness Survey of 7,500 respondents on how government policies at the federal, state and local level affect their business.”
Thumbtack delivers results to members of Congress and state legislators, and Puente is gratified when resulting policy changes directly benefit small businesses.
His advice to students with a passion for analytics: “Begin projects now. Analyze trends in a field that interests you. Build a portfolio of work. Seek an internship related to your passion. That internship may lead to your ideal first career position.”