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This is a tough lesson and for many the only teacher is experience. For the longest time I avoided what I considered abstract math, despite the general wisdom of its importance to computer science. I spent weeks writing software that could predict customer complaints based on supplier action. Given the first three days of complaints following an action, I could reliably predict the total number of complaints a year into the future. I proudly showed one of my coworkers, who didn't have the aversion to math that I did, he informed me that I just reinvented poisson linear regression. I learned my lesson that day. This guy will likely figure it out after a couple of tries as well :)

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