Hi, my name is Steven Ghoussain, and I do Data Science by profession. On a Tinder date, that means I turn data into dollars. In the boardroom, that means I combine business acumen, databases, statistics, machine learning and software engineering into a value proposition for the business. I am from London, and I have lived there for 24 years. I lived in Cambridge for three years while I studied my Computer Science BSc. Once I graduated, I relocated to a town called Northwich in Cheshire for my job.
All of my intellectual passions converge towards Data Science. I am an obsessive pattern hunter, and I pay meticulous attention to detail. I like to think rigorously and analytically, and I enjoy writing software that will bring my ideas into life. It helps that I have studied for two degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science.
Beyond the numbers and data, I am an endurance athlete. I train as often as I can, and I vary the sports I train in between indoor rowing, indoor cycling, running and hiking in my local area. For example, in preparation for scaling three of the highest peaks in the Cordillera Real in the Bolivian Andes in 2017, I took a high-resistance Spin class at my local gym after work every day for one month to prime my mind set as well as to develop my legs. Every year, I work towards new mountaineering adventures to keep myself motivated. Mental endurance is also part and parcel of the job. For this, I have been playing chess since I could use a computer, and my favourite style is online Blitz Chess.
I am a kinetic learner so I feel most productive when I am physically active. I started by hiking through urban jungles like London. In college, I started Indoor Rowing and realised that I had a talent for endurance when I won a National Gold medal with the relay team in 2007.
I started to build my running endurance over long distances at the nearby public athletics track in London in my spare time. After exhausting long-distance trails at nearby National parks like the South Downs, I began turning my holidays into long-distance adventures. For example, I ran a cheeky half marathon around the island of Spetses while on holiday with my friend in Greece in 2009.
I started mountaineering because I wanted to develop my endurance in more extreme environments, as well as experience more of the world. My interest in mountaineering kicked off when my friend and I went on a day trip to Bukhansan National Park, just north of Seoul in South Korea in 2015. We had to “gamify” our hike all the way up to the top of a mountain because the physical struggle was not a myth. Nevertheless, that experience really encouraged me to rip up my psychological barriers.
Mountaineering now informs my lifestyle and my values. This changes the way that I make decisions on a day-to-day basis. For example, I carry a minimalist mind set as well as a profound respect for the environment. I learned this first-hand when I mountaineered 400km across the Austrian Alps in 10 days in 2016. Consequently, I consider the weight, surface area, material and reusability of my material possessions because I value lightweight, compact, economical and renewable tools.
Mountaineering also shapes my personality. My patience converges to zero, and my tolerance diverges to infinity over time. I develop tenacity, resilience, self-reliance and my impersonation of Obama when no one is within earshot. The endless scree slopes up Mount Toubkal in the Atlas Mountains taught me to value the simple things in life, like a Roman road.
Mountaineering is also a lot of fun. Sky running on Mount Teide in Tenerife is breath taking. The views are not bad either: snow on volcanic rock set against the seamless backdrop of an azure sea and sky. Knife-edge ridges in Japan and sheer death drops either side of my nose are surprisingly hilarious after the moment, too.
Endurance sport is a great outlet for me because I grow by continuously pushing my limits. My lifestyle has become more consistent because I need to eat, sleep and train with more discipline. Enduring uncertainty and the absence of complete information in the outdoors has also forced me to develop an emotional and psychological budget. For example, the contour climb up Lo Corrunco in the Spanish Pyrenees became an exercise in resilience with every false peak that I encountered. Other times, I have had to endure adverse climates including sweltering heat, humidity, and blizzards at altitude that make for seemingly insurmountable circumstances. Although I am not completely in control when I am outdoors in a dynamic environment, I still enjoy the uncertainty of what lies ahead because another door opens whenever one door closes.
The long-term goal is always a mountaineering adventure. If I am running or hiking, then my short-term goal is to improve or maintain a consistent time. If I am doing resistance training, then my short-term goal is to increase the number of reps per set or to increase the number of sets. If I am doing Pilates, then my goal is to increase the duration that I can hold a position or to learn new movements. If you compete against yourself, you will always find ways to succeed.