Interview Aaron Rangel CEO BlueSky Statistics #new #rstats #product

Here is an interview with Aaron Rangel , CEO and creator of BlueSky Statistics which is an open sourced statistical software based on R

Ajay- Describe your career in statistical computing

Aaron- I was first exposed to the power of predictive analytics as a graduate student. Being a software industry professional and working for a startup, most of my early projects in statistical computing were around analyzing web and financial data as a hobbyist using R. This fascination led me to join SPSS as a Product Manager. At SPSS, I was very fortunate to be exposed to how predictive analytics and business intelligence was driving better decision making in a wide variety of industries. My experience both at iManage and SPSS, where I built intuitive applications with graphical user interfaces, convinced me of the value of creating a powerful GUI based application for R which had been soaring in popularity. For me it was a no brainer, R the lingua franca of statistical analysis, when married with a powerful intuitive user interface (typically found in commercial enterprise applications) would provide unprecedented value for the analyst and open source R community.

Ajay- Describe why and how you created this product
Aaron-  I created the product for the following reasons

  1. I wanted to make learning and using R easier. Even though R is extremely powerful both in terms of the breadth and depth of analytics offered, as a beginner several years ago, I was intimidated by the number of packages, the idiosyncrasies of R syntax, the fact that I had to write or modify code for some of the simplest tasks. I strongly believe that an intuitive application with point and click graphical user interface that automates R syntax generation and offers attractive output for the top 100 frequently used analytical functions will save time with repetitive exploratory analysis, data preparation and standard modeling. BlueSky Statistics does not prevent analysts from writing R code and fully supports creating and executing R functions. Our goal is to automate routine tasks with a GUI and write R code for value adding analytics. The bottom line is analysts will be more efficient and will have more time for creative, value adding work.
  2. I wanted to create a one stop shop for the best work in the R community. With 6200 plus packages with a lot of capabilities duplicated across packages, I wanted to create an analytics workbench that showcases the best packages and best practices that R has to offer for analysts and programmers across levels of expertise.
  3. Increase the adoption of R in both the analyst and business user community by focusing on ease of use.

Ajay- Why did you choose R for the back end?

Aaron-  Without a doubt the openness and extensibility. In fact at BlueSky Statistics, we have made every effort to preserve this openness and flexibility. BlueSky Statistics is available in both open source and commercial editions. Additionally, if you want to create a regression dialog with several options to be consumed by a sophisticated analyst or you want to create a simple regression for a statistics 101 class, BlueSky Statistics allows you to throttle the level of sophistication you want to expose. More importantly you can do this without writing a single line of code. Delivering targeted applications with analytical functions trimmed down to ensure that analysts pick the right options or students have a targeted application for learning is very simple to deliver.

Ajay- What are your plans for this product

Aaron-  We have already delivered a comprehensive set of data preparation, exploratory analysis, data modeling and data visualization capabilities. We will continue to build our modeling and machine learning capabilities over the next few months. Our longer term goal is to create a collaborative open source analytics platform through which specialized analytics can be accessed to address a wide variety of business problems across industry verticals, all powered by R.


Ajay- Who do you think is the target audience for this?


  1. The non-programmer analyst community who are accustomed to and need an easy to use user interface available in the commercial statistics marketplace at much higher price points than BlueSky Statistics. We want the adoption of R to proliferate amongst all analysts not just the savvy R programmers.
  2. Newly minted data scientists and machine who are looking to learn R and want to accelerate the R learning curve as well as make avail of the efficiency of a rich GUI at their workplace.
  3. Analysts and R programmers across the experience spectrum. The benefits here are multi-fold
    1. Efficiencies realized by automating routine data preparation, exploratory analysis, reporting and modeling.
    2. As easy way to keep abreast with the latest statistical techniques, visualizations and data preparation methods in the R community. Our goal is to provide a one stop shop for the best packages available in the R community with easy to use GUIs that automate syntax generation which in turn makes learning easy and accelerates productivity.
    3. Sophisticated analytics would like to use the dialog editor program to build a rich GUI for any function in any R package. BlueSky Statistics makes it easy to create and share custom modules that represent new analytical techniques or best practices with other users in their organization resulting in better collaboration and efficiency.
  4. As we add data mining and machine learning capabilities, we would like to see adoption amongst that community as well.


Ajay- Can analytics companies afford one more software to the stack?


Being open source and 100% R based as well as the fact that University graduates across a wide variety of disciplines are already trained in R will be advantageous for us. Additionally with the increasing adoption of R amongst users of commercial statistical applications, we hope that more and more of these users will view us as the preferred alternative because of the large R community, the huge contribution base and innovation pace that no commercial statistical vendor can match.




BlueSky Statistics is a software product based on R which aims at making analytics easier through a Graphical USer Interface through menus. It has both a free and a commercial version which you can see here.

You can contact Aaron Rangel here or download the software here

Get trained in SAS by SAS for Free

These are a list of awesome training resources by a very credible SAS language trainer called SAS Institute.

Screenshot from 2015-08-10 16:00:15

Books are here-

Get the SAS software for free here- ( 2gb painful download)

This is the link for training videos

Now why pay Rs 30,000 or 500$ for SAS language clone or 3rd party trainers when you can get the real thing for free. Also note- they train not just in the software language but also in analytics

Screenshot from 2015-08-10 15:53:13

Oh- How I wish    Microsoft had some more training videos for their Revolution Analytics R. I mean blogs are fine but a global audience is asking more and more skill based education from MOOCs, Open Textbooks, Open Data and Video based Series .

Additionally- I am heartened that SAS Institute has a new Ask the Expert Series as it shows their commitment to STEM education.






Rodeo – Awesome Python IDE based on same tech as RStudio IDE

I am really liking the Rodeo IDE, it has a surprisingly comfortable feel to it, even though these are early days.

One of the reasons it is easy to use is it uses the Ace Editor as the underlying layer, which is the same editor that powers RStudio. It is thus very easy for a R User to use. Add in Pandas package and for a newbie Python User,  switching from R to Python is made quite easy.

Why do it? Well Python is surprisingly powerful for big-ger data. I am talking of the 4 gb -15 gb data range that is predominantly used in the data analytics world and which SAS rules in enterprises. R finds it tough to navigate this and training pure SAS users to intermediate R programming takes an expense as well as business disruption. Python could thus be an alternative arrow in the open source enterprise software arsenal.

RODEO is created by Yhat the startup which is makign waves by using BOTH R and Python.

Screenshot from 2015-08-09 11:16:17

Screenshot from 2015-08-09 11:25:10

Do you want to be a rock star data scientist?

Start Date Duration Stipend Posted On Application Deadline
16 Aug, 2015 2 Months Rs.5000 /Month 5 Aug, 2015 26 Aug, 2015

About Decisionstats (
Data Science and Analytics Website that deals in cutting edge research, consulting, writing and speaking assignments.
About the Internship:
  1. The data science will create , edit and make data science research and assist in writing.
  2. The intern will be given on the job training for data science and analytics in Python SAS and R .
  3. The  intern will create , edit and make schedules and assist in coordination.
  4. The intern will be given on the job training for managing in a start up environment, web analytics and search engine marketing as well as an understanding of digital business.
  5. The intern will also proof read, edit and write content including blog posts and social media. The intern will be given on the job training for social media, web analytics and search engine optimization as well as an understanding of digital business.
# of Internships available: 4
Who can apply:
  1. Only requirement needs to be learnability, truthfulness, passion for writing code and hacking problems on the fly.
  2. The internships require people who are serious about careers, can devote the agreed upon hours per week and meet deadlines.
  3. Preferences will be given to candidates from established institutes and prior academic record.
Additional Information:
  1.  This is a 3 month on the job training in DELHI India for people who want to be excellent data scientists.
  2. We will terminate internship for improper professional behavior or not coming upto speed.
  3. Interns will make their own arrangements for travel and stay

Previous Interns Project Reports

  1. Chandan Routray  IIT Kharagpur and and blog 2014 (summer and winter)
  2. Farheen Nilofer Jamia Milia – CS Engg amd blog 2015 (summer)
  3. Sarah Masud Jamia Milia – CS Engg  and Blog 2015 (summer)

USA versus China : The start of the cyber cold war

Just like the 4 decade long detente when an Iron Curtain shut down most of East Europe for the rest of humanity, an Iron Firewall extends over the largest citizenry of a nation on this planet. This has led to a situation where China is a free member of the WTO and can take part in the bricks and mortar commercial space of everybody else but shutting down its own online businesses to its own control and preferences.

On the other hand, the increasing skirmishes between USA and China in Cyber Conflict could boil down to simple immigration. The USA has been the leading center of global innovation simply because it got the best cherry picked immigrants of Europe and Asia, beating Germany , Japan and even Russia at global supremacy. China’s lack of efforts to attract diversity of minds and perspectives to its own borders means it is simply going to lack of hacktivists, cyber warriors and allies in the cyber cold war.

Allies win wars. Just like catches win matches.


Why I love Open Source

No egos about sharing your hard work

No egos about sharing your great ideas

Lets write the code now lets focus on money later

Reminds me of the Hacker Attitude especially point 4. If only companies could focus on STOPPING selective open source and open core (that Revolution Did with the RevoScaleR package et al)

1. The world is full of fascinating problems waiting to be solved.

2. No problem should ever have to be solved twice.

3. Boredom and drudgery are evil.

4. Freedom is good.

5. Attitude is no substitute for competence.

This made me smile though

Screenshot from 2015-08-05 16:41:55


Life of a startup guy in India

  1. Sometimes VC money is like BC money
  2. we can build Taj Mahal in excel
  3. angel investors all died and went to heaven where they are watching Indra and Maneka
  4. devil is in details of everything they asked you to just sign saying, arrey yaar, this is a standard form
  5. hiring is always just in time
  6. zuckerberg is the 10th avatar of vishnu
  7. a million dollars is not cool. A billion dollars is cool. A billion people is even hotter
  8. lying is number 3 sport after cricket and politics discussion
  9. everybody criticizes anything
  10. steve jobs came to india as a teenager. So Indians can claim credit
  11. every indian american who got succesful is because of his Indian DNA as per our newpapers
  12. everybody knows anybody. Or says they do
  13. every developer can learn hadoop in 2 days just payment in advance
  14. every client’s cheque is delayed atleast once
  15. Dilbert was a graduate from IIT
  16. In india there is no ration on passion, but often we have passion for ration