Associate Spotlight: Data Analyst John Madden Shares Why You Should Never Play Slot Machines

Jun 17, 2019
Written by CJ

Chicago-based Data Analyst, John Madden, has only been with CJ Affiliate since October 2018, but he's proven to be a rising star. John was kind enough to dish about his day-to-day as a Data Analyst, the book he couldn't put down, and his brief stint working for a casino.


Q: Describe your career trajectory. Where did you work before CJ and how did you come across the opportunity to work here?

Before CJ, I was in graduate school for Data Analytics. While I was there, I had two experiences that prepared me for CJ. The first was that I received real world application of my analytical skills when I interned at a casino (fun fact: don’t play slot machines). Second, I had a course on digital marketing which I found fascinating. I joined these two experiences together and here I am today. 


Q: Can you tell us more about your job as a Database Analyst for a casino (so interesting!) and elaborate on what you said about slot machines?

My time at the casino was amazing. With my undergrad focus in marketing and psychology and a masters in data analytics, the casino provided the perfect environment to bring these sciences together. For example, one project I worked on was seeing if we could predict the amount of money clientele would spend based on certain demographic information. From there, the hope was to send out relevant promotions to people that fell into segments similar to that of our clientele.

As far as slot machines go, the government mandates that a certain percentage of money be paid out by a slot machine over its lifetime. However, this amount is usually low. So let’s say the slot has to pay out $10 for every $100 you put in. Sure you win $10, but you’d have to pay $1,000 to get that original $100 back. And while yes there is the occasional jackpot, they are randomized over a slot’s lifetime—if a slot has a lifetime of five years and is programmed to have 50 jackpots, they could all happen in the fifth year.


Q: What does your average work day at CJ look like as a Data Analyst?

Long story short, I spend most of my day coding. When I code, I take Advertiser data such as performance metrics and derive actionable insights from this info. From there, I create dashboards in Tableau that turn the numbers I see into impactful and interactive views that CJ Account Teams use in their day to day. Being a Data Analyst is like working with one massive jigsaw puzzle and I love it.


Q: What’s your favorite part about your job?

I am a very sociable person, and I think that CJ fosters a culture where communication is key. Being that we often need to work across departments to create solutions, I get the opportunity to meet new people on the regular which creates a fun and cohesive work environment.


Q: Is there a project or accomplishment in your career that you consider brag-worthy?

I recently launched a project, Device and Browser Insights, that I had been working on since I started back in October. Building something from the ground up and being able to see it through to the end has been truly rewarding. The autonomy that came with the project really made it feel like my own and it is something I am proud of.


Q: Do you have any habits or routines that you’ve purposely built to maximize productivity for yourself?

I try to get up and walk around to get blood flowing. Sometimes when I am stuck on a problem, this can prove to be the best solution—to step away and come back to it.


Q: If Hollywood made a movie about your life, who would play you?

Ilana Wexler from Broad City. She takes life at face value but also has elaborate conspiracy theories for things with absolutely no ulterior motive. And when something makes her feel good, she tries to ride that high as long as she can.


Q: Who's your role model?

My role model is my friend Sydney. The way she treats life is something I want to emulate—life is not to be taken seriously. She radiates good energy and knows exactly who she is and wears it on her sleeve. A lot of my perspectives in life have been modeled after hers and it’s made my life all the better.


Q: What’s the last book or article you read that resonated with you?

The Devil in the White City was the last book I read and taught me what true perseverance looks like. It revolves around the construction of the Chicago World’s Fair and all the struggle that went into it. Even with everything seemingly going against the fair (i.e. bad weather, infrastructure disasters, etc.), the final result was something of immense grandiosity; no matter how ugly the process may look, the final result can be the ultimate redemption.


Q: On a Sunday morning at 11am, we’d find you…

Mentally preparing myself for a long day of kickball followed by the bars we retreat to afterwards. Really hoping this answer will change to “still sleeping in bed” once the season ends…


Q: What’s your favorite place to hang out in Chicago?

I recently bought a longboard and I really enjoy bringing it down by the lake and cruising on the trail down there. I occasionally hop off and chill at the beach. Otherwise, I'm happy to be anywhere as long as I’m with good friends.


Thank you, John!

Topics: CJ Life,
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