Keeping Up With Data #57

5 minutes for 5 hours’ worth of reading

Adam Votava
3 min readNov 19, 2021

Thoughtspot’s Beyond 2021 conference took place this week. We’ve been hearing about dashboards being dead for a while, so I was curious what the life after dashboards looks like (according to Thoughtspot). Their answer? Live analytics — people interacting with data and insights in a live manner using an analytics platform having a live integration with the data platform sitting behind it. Is this the answer? Only time will tell. But the race for the front-end of the modern data stack is certainly on.

Three topics this week: data storytelling, data economy, and ‘data analyst’s hardship blues’.

  • 5 Data Storytelling Tips for Creating More Persuasive Charts and Graphs: Data storytelling — a combination of data, visuals, and narrative — is a new skill in demand in data science. To master it, it is important to understand how the ‘visual brain’ works. Contrary to reading a text, reading a chart doesn’t follow any specific order (see the image above). But we focus on things that stands out, and we can handle a few things at once. I like the article because it shows the importance about designing solutions with the user in mind. But let’s not forget that data storytelling isn’t the same as designing dashboards or creating data analyses. (Payman Taei @ TDS)
  • Capitalizing on the data economy: “The data economy is the global digital ecosystem in which the producers and consumers of data […] gather, organise, and share accumulated data from a wide variety of sources.” With wealth of data being produced every second, it is becoming easier to describe the real world in data. However, the data you need to mirror the reality might belong to someone else. And like people started trading many thousands years ago, companies are starting to exchange datasets now. The cited benefits of the data economy — like “improved collaboration with partners and vendors” — sound a bit shallow to me. But we’ll get there. (MIT Technology Review)
  • Why the Data Analyst role has never been harder: It’s been many moons since I worked as a data analyst. So I don’t have a first hand experience now. But what I do have experience with is that the complexity (and immaturity) of the ‘modern data stack’ could negatively impact execution of a company’s data strategy. Executives want the data infrastructure in place so that data can start generate real economic value. This often puts pressure on data teams, who are cutting corners, treating data infrastructure as a project, not something to last. I agree with Petr that some tools are missing. But I also think that data teams should be less ‘hurray’ and a bit more cautious and think about what could later go wrong twice (at least). (Petr Janda)

I can’t wait for the skiing season to start. I was hoping to go the last weekend already, but a last-minute change of plans pushed the first ride away. But another weekend is coming. Wish me luck! ⛷️

In case you missed the last week’s issue of Keeping up with data

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Adam Votava

Data scientist | avid cyclist | amateur pianist (I'm sharing my personal opinion and experience, which should not to be considered professional advice)