Why data analysts should choose stories over statistics

Join the Crunch Data Conference in Budapest, Oct 16-18, with stellar speakers from companies like Facebook, Netflix and LinkedIn. Use the discount code ‘KDNuggets’ to save $100 off your conference ticket.

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Crunch 2019 October 16-18, Budapest

Data storytelling is one of the most important skills you can obtain and develop into today’s data economy. It is the critical “last mile” of communication that transforms your findings into something that will inspire change and create value. Brent Dykes has more than 15 years of enterprise analytics experience and will share his insights about data storytelling at Crunch Conference.

Crunch Conference: What had the most powerful impact on your professional life?

Brent Dykes: Chip and Dan Heath’s book, “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die” has had a profound impact on my career. Its principles transformed the way I think about communication. It was also one of the first books that highlighted to me the power that stories have over statistics. As a data geek, I often thought logic and reason (facts!) were all you needed to inform decision making. However, this book opened my eyes to why storytelling is such an essential form of persuasion.

CC: What is your advice for analysts entering the field?

BD: My advice is to never forget “the last mile” in the analysis process. After all the hard work it takes to find a key insight, you must then communicate it effectively so that other people (decision makers) can understand it and be compelled to act on it. Too often, data professionals excel in the exploratory phase but then fail in the explanatory phase. As a result, their insights go nowhere. Mastering the art of data storytelling can ensure you succeed in this critical last mile.

CC: What do you think are the buzzwords that need to leave and why?

BD: I think we can all safely say “big data” was always just “data.” Sure, the term might have represented a significant shift in the volume of data that companies deal with, but to me, the “bigness” emphasis detracted from its more challenging aspects (variety, velocity, veracity, and value). I’ve also never been a fan of the term “citizen data scientist”. This term mischaracterizes the capacity for business users to become “pseudo” data scientists.

Read the full interview with Brent here. Crunch is one of the most inspiring data conferences with three tracks: Data Science, Data Engineering and Business Intelligence. Join us on October 16-18 in Budapest with stellar speakers from companies like Facebook, Netflix and LinkedIn and use the discount code ‘KDNuggets’ to save $100 off your conference ticket.