Who am I?

👋 Hi, I’m Martina. I work in data science and I have been dealing with data for a while (you can see my professional profile on LinkedIn). I’ve worked for start-ups and large companies; along the journey, I have experienced a lot of what this field touches on: shaping raw data into information, using statistics to make sure we are separating insight from noice, moving data between places and formats, building databases, creating summaries and actionable recommendations for those who consume the data …and create data visualisations.

I chose this career because I really like data. Before moving to (industry) data work, I studied physics and for a while I entertained the idea to be a researcher: I did a PhD (in physics) where I studied how natural languages change in time. But it wasn’t the career for me. Nevertheless, physics is based on analysing data and performing experiments, so the move to making data the core of my work has been smooth. I always loved collecting and analysing data, and I have a longstanding passion for understanding things from first principles, removing the layer of opinion-based assumptions.

What is this?

This publication contains all my side work on the world of data and follows a lively evolution - since its start as the place for my “data cards” (see below) I added a few more sections. If you wish, you can unsubscribe from any of them in your account page. Let me describe the sections.

Data cards - the core section

Hand-drawn data stories, small and delightful. It’s where it all started.

I started doodling “data cards” a few years back. I have always been interested in enriching narratives with quantitative info; sometimes I think it’s necessary to fully understand a phenomenon. Imagine if we could improve our learning of history with data:

How was an army organised and how big was it, which weapons did soldiers have and in which proportions? What about the enemy?


How long did it take to send a message between two cities in the 17th century, and could having a faster mean of communication have changed the course of events?

A bunch of data visualisations hand-drawn on little cards.
A bunch of my “data cards”, this is also the header of emails in the newsletter.

This project doesn’t aim at answering big questions, I am not a historian after all - but I maintain that making the learning of history more quantitative would be beneficial. What I do in this section is exploring little topics by hand-drawing data vizzes and storytelling them - topics are (mostly) light-hearted ones; there can be some that are a bit grim, but they’re very interesting, I promise.

Designing the display of quantitative information is a field that deserves study and work of its own. I am living the journey and this project is also an attempt at becoming better at it. Do I draw well? Not at all, and I’m happy that way - the goal is to tell a quantitative story, my style.

Data Viz - the journey

Practices and methods in data presentation, a constant learning journey.

Low-key and likely very infrequent space where I post thoughts and learnings about how to dataviz.

Meta Data

Thoughts and reflections on the world of data science and beyond.

This is a very opinionated place where you’ll find reflections and pieces of advice on what it means to work in data.

Data Round-ups

On a monthly basis, I send out a piece where I collect news from the field, things I want to share with you and material I am using to study.

A collection of beautiful things

This is not a section with posts, it’s just a page I keep regularly updated where I list material, books, courses etc I recommend for anyone wanting to learn more about data science.

Frequency of the newsletter

This is a slow newsletter. Publishing at a quick turnaround doesn’t work for me, I need to savour things while I write and I know that if I pushed myself to produce fast I would have to sacrifice quality - that’s not my goal. I hope you appreciate the “few but well researched” spirit of this!

Also, I just like (and need) to spend some of my free time wandering around, doing sports, inhaling fresh air 😃 - I’m quite lucky that I live in a place full of green, these are some shots from my local park.

For data cards specifically, it takes me time to realise them, from fleshing out a random idea that popped in my head to gathering the data, analysing it and then thinking about how to display the information. Not to mention the fact that the data is often inaccessible or in bad shape.

Where to find me and why Substack?

I have a website (for more generic ramblings), and an Instagram page. I’ve started using Mastodon and I really like its vibe and philosophy, you can find me here and here [ITA]. I’m using Twitter less and less these days.

Why Substack? I’ve been thinking about it for a while, what tipped me was my friend Ben Allen with his

who for a long time suggested I opened a Substack, and then reading this article resonated a lot:

On Substack
The problem isn’t that Elon Musk owns Twitter – it’s that you don’t
If you’re into writing and reading, few games on the internet are more fun than Twitter at its best. The witty one-liners, the quick retorts, the spectacular insults—it’s a heady cocktail for wordcels. But while we may be convincing ourselves that we’re participating in discourse in the public s…
Read more

Some more info

Photos shown are mine unless otherwise specified; my profile pic and the newsletter logo are by my illustrator friend ladyofshalott89.

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Adventures in data: hand-drawn stories and beyond


Martina Pugliese

Scientist by background and data scientist by profession, I love data, adventures and a 1000 wonderful things. I write small data stories.