Practical Business Python

Taking care of business, one python script at a time

Mon 03 June 2019

Evangelizing Python for Business

Posted by Chris Moffitt in articles   

On May 30th, I had the pleasure of presenting at the MinneAnalytics Data Tech Conference with @KatieKodes. Our talk was on “Evangelizing Python for Business”. Here is the summary of the talk:

Python’s simple structure has been vital to the democratization of data science. But as the field rushes forward, making splashy headlines about specialized new jobs, everyday Excel users remain unaware of the value that elementary building blocks of Python for data science can bring them at the office.

Join us for a conversation about bringing Python out of IT and into the business. We’ll share challenges and successes from writing tutorials, teaching classes, and advocating adoption among new users.

I really enjoyed the presentation and received a lot of positive feedback. As a result, I wanted to capture some of the ideas in a post so that the broader community could see it and generate some dialog on tips and techniques that have worked for you. The actual content in this blog is closely tied to our presentation but contain some additional idea and thoughts that I may want to expand on in future posts.


Mon 13 May 2019

Stylin’ with Pandas

Posted by Chris Moffitt in articles   

I have been working on a side project so I have not had as much time to blog. Hopefully I will be able to share more about that project soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to write an article about styling output in pandas. The API for styling is somewhat new and has been under very active development. It contains a useful set of tools for styling the output of your pandas DataFrames and Series. In my own usage, I tend to only use a small subset of the available options but I always seem to forget the details. This article will show examples of how to format numbers in a pandas DataFrame and use some of the more advanced pandas styling visualization options to improve your ability to analyze data with pandas.


Mon 18 February 2019

Monte Carlo Simulation with Python

Posted by Chris Moffitt in articles   

There are many sophisticated models people can build for solving a forecasting problem. However, they frequently stick to simple Excel models based on average historical values, intuition and some high level domain-specific heuristics. This approach may be precise enough for the problem at hand but there are alternatives that can add more information to the prediction with a reasonable amount of additional effort.

One approach that can produce a better understanding of the range of potential outcomes and help avoid the “flaw of averages” is a Monte Carlo simulation. The rest of this article will describe how to use python with pandas and numpy to build a Monte Carlo simulation to predict the range of potential values for a sales compensation budget. This approach is meant to be simple enough that it can be used for other problems you might encounter but also powerful enough to provide insights that a basic “gut-feel” model can not provide on its own.


Mon 28 January 2019

Updated: Using Pandas To Create an Excel Diff

Posted by Chris Moffitt in articles   

Several years ago, I wrote an article about using pandas to creating a diff of two excel files. Ovet the years, the pandas API has changed and the diff script no longer works with the latest pandas releases. Through the magic of search engines, people are still discovering the article and are asking for help in getting it to work with more recent versions of pandas. Since pandas is closing in on a 1.0 release, I think this is a good time to get an updated version out there.