Discover more from Data Better
A bit about this project
Welcome to Data Better by me, Jacob Model.
I'm a Data Scientist and Product Manager. Also, a former academic and always a recovering nonprofit strategy consultant.
The focus will be on improving the entire process of using data to inform decisions. Typically, this content is very siloed. So there’s more than enough user experience advice out there for data collection. Plenty of outlets do a great job on the latest and greatest trends in data analysis tracking the best new data science techniques. And Harvard Business Review or MIT’s Tech Review got you covered for practitioner-oriented articles on how organizations are using data for decisions. So if you want a deep dive in one specific area, there are plenty of digital reefs full of content out there.
The gap I’ve seen is one that takes a more holistic view. It’s great to build an engaging user survey… but it’s problematic if the data you’re collecting are challenging to analyze because they’re in a weird format. Or your user sample is funky and isn’t who actually matters to your organization. Or the survey’s results don’t actually answer a question that’s relevant to a managerial decision.
These may sound like basic things in theory, but I assure you they’re not in practice. I’ve made these mistakes more times than I can count. But I’ve learned a number of tricks and tools to help force myself and my clients to consider these things. From a practical standpoint, thinking across these silos is critical to ensuring your data pipelines don’t get clogged. They ensure you make the best decisions you can with the information at hand. Or quickly recognize the data you have isn’t all that informative.
So in sum, this blog/newsletter is a way for me to share what I’ve learned about designing data collection tools, analyzing data from them, and making decisions. And more selfishly, learn from you all.
For those that know me, it’ll be no surprise that I’ll focus on both the successes and failures. Most of the examples will be from the “civic tech” world, but they’ll be broadly applicable.
So sign up now so you don’t miss the first post!
Thanks in advance! And don’t forget to tell your friends!