Sean J. Taylor

Full Time

I’m excited to announce that today I accepted a full time job offer at Facebook’s Data Science team. It was a long road to this decision but I’m pretty pleased with where I ended up. I’ll be starting in the Fall on – as luck would have it – the same day as my friend John Myles White.

Leaving Academia

It was tough to leave the traditional academic route behind. I considered applying for tenure track positions up until just a couple of weeks ago. Ultimately I decided in favor of what I feel to be a more collaborative, cross-disciplinary environment than most departments I could have joined.  I couldn’t picture a better team of people to learn from while I work on hard problems. The access to data and experimentation is icing on the cake.

Choosing an Industry Job

I had another offer from a company that I love and it was incredibly difficult to choose between the two. I won’t go into details but it made the whole process that much more difficult. In the end, Facebook provided a unique mix of social science research combined with interesting business problems that would be hard to duplicate elsewhere. The company is very supportive of academic publications – a benefit I currently find hard to give up. I guess the other factor was that having done an internship there, I had great information on how talented the team is.

Finishing my PhD

I’ve got a lot of work left to do before I defend my dissertation in October! I look forward to posting updates on some chapters as they progress over the summer. I’m currently living and writing in San Francisco but will be back in New York for some time around my defense. The work focuses on the results of three experiments in online social interactions, two that I was involved in at Facebook and one on a social news discussion website similar to Reddit.

While I’ll be working pretty hard over the next few months, please feel free to get in touch if you’re in the Bay Area and would like to grab coffee/beer and talk about causal inference, experiments, etc.