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Celebrating JMP Champions: Vic Strecher, University of Michigan
Vic Strecher, Professor, University of Michigan, School of Public Health and Director for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship
JMP User since 1989
Fun Facts: Vic is a huge fan of the dung beetle and has included one as a main character in his graphic novel, "On Purpose: Lessons in Life and Health from the Frog, the Dung Beetle, and Julia" (his name is Winston). Vic was the first keynote speaker to get a standing ovation at Discovery Summit. 

 

Vic Strecher, a JMP user since 1989, says, "JMP made me a better, more creative, and more productive scientist."Vic Strecher, a JMP user since 1989, says, "JMP made me a better, more creative, and more productive scientist."How long have you been a JMP user?

Since the beginning. When was that? Must be over 30 years ago. I was an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina’s School of Public Health. On a whim, I watched John Sall demo his new program on a Mac. I was one of the few Mac users in our school, but I had been using mini-computers to analyze data (and mainframes before that). The visual experience of analyzing data using JMP, combined with the completely different approach of using data type to select appropriate statistics, sold me.

What is your favorite feature in JMP?

I use quite a few features, but my favorite has to be the ability to carefully dissect statistical interactions in Fit Model using plot and contrast. As a behavioral scientist, interactions have always been the most interesting thing to analyze, since they tell you how different types of people respond differently to the same stimuli. It’s re-affirming to know that we’re not all the same. For example, as I prepared for my keynote at the JMP Discovery Summit Tokyo, I was interested in cross-cultural differences in how people respond to stress, and how having a purpose in life influences us. Hint: Japanese and US cultures are different!

What was your first job (ever)?

Paper route. Hard job when you’re 4 feet tall and have 4 feet of Christmas-season newspapers buried in a foot of snow at 6:00am. Merry Christmas!

What is your proudest professional moment?

When I finished delivering those newspapers. Another was when I became the Innovator of the Year at the University of Michigan.

A very big moment came when a company I founded, HealthMedia, reached over 50 million people. The company was later sold to Johnson & Johnson.

How did you get interested in research and behavioral science?  Is it something you always knew you wanted to do or were you inspired by someone/something?

Throughout my undergraduate education I never thought that behavioral science would be my calling. It was only after interning in our state Health Department’s Biostatistics Unit and learning that over 50% of premature disease and death is related to our behaviors and lifestyles. I realized that I needed to learn how to quantify the unquantifiable. Factors like stress, confidence, motivation, social support, and more recently, purpose in life.   

What do you like most about the work you do?

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This’ll sound trite but my answer has to be nearly everything, in part because I’ve cut out most of the things I don’t like.  At the University of Michigan, I love research and teaching. At Kumanu, the business I founded, I love getting the market excited about our revolutionary “Purpose Activation Platform.” I guess I also just love building amazing things with really smart people.

How are you currently using JMP?

Lately I’ve been using Text Explorer in JMP Pro. At Kumanu we’ve collected over 19,000 purposes people have in life and work, and Text Explorer has helped us create typologies of different purposes people have in retirement and at work.  

What is the first project you worked on using JMP?

We were testing a very early software-based tailored smoking cessation program. JMP helped me discover secrets hidden in the data: important interactions that we would later target and test.  

Is there anything you would like to say to JMP development or John Sall?

Just, “thank you.” Most careers have small inflection points that a person can take advantage of. Walking into the room with John Sall demonstrating a beta version of JMP was one of these. That’s not hyperbole. JMP made me a better, more creative, and more productive scientist.

How do you see the field of data science progressing in the next 20-50 years?

With more data there will be more signals but also more noise. I don’t believe in the notion that predictive modeling will be taken over completely by high-powered computers. We’ll still need high-powered people to know what questions to ask.

What advice would you give a beginning JMP user?

I’d suggest getting used to the data management and formula tools first. They’re generally intuitive but do require a bit of practice. Then enjoy looking at your data!

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