“Everything starts out looking like a toy” (No.7)
A newsletter of small observations at the intersection of data and systems.
Welcome! This week, consider exactly how many spicy plates you could make with an 8 1/2lb jar of chili paste. This is edition No. 7, coming at you on August 15, 2020.
This Week’s Idea
“Having dashboards doesn’t improve performance. You have to look at the dashboards and begin to understand the data.” -David Brooks
It’s easy to create reports. It’s even easier to create a dashboard showing the results of those reports as a component to drive action. What’s harder is to know that your dashboard continues to provide relevant insight as inputs to the business change.
What’s the takeaway? Dashboards work best when they provide decision support to answer business problems. These business problems have a definition that requires input data from the underlying reports. Creating a shared definition (and agreeing upon its input and output metrics) is key to finding value in that dashboard.
A Data Question
Would you stay at home permanently? Click the tweet to vote.
Links for Sharing
These are links that caught my eye.
1/ AI for your images - What happens when you feed partially completed images into a machine model. The good news: it can recreate images that look alike from very little information. The bad news: feeding it a biased set for training results in information bias.
2/ V for Victory - You might have wondered: why do birds fly in a V formation? I would have guessed sensing the magnetic fields of the Earth, and it turns out it’s to save energy. Drafting FTW.
3/ Where do boundaries lie for metro areas - Football Fans in New England split between the Giants and the Patriots somewhere in Connecticut. If we used algorithms to show true metro areas as measured by travel frequency, what would those MSAs look like? The regions of the US look different than state boundaries.
What I’m reading
Strange Planet - funny cartoons by Nathan Pyle
How to be an Antiracist - social commentary by Ibram Kendi
What to do next
Hit reply and let me know if you’ve got links to share, data stories, or want to say hello.
You’re at the end. Thanks for reading! I’m grateful you found this.
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Want longer-form ideas? Check out on Data Operations or other writings at gregmeyer.com.
The next big thing always starts out being dismissed as a “toy.” - Chris Dixon