Saturday, December 14, 2013

Your relationship with Data - From Fear to Curiosity, power of the little Undo button

When it comes to data I seem to find people fall on a spectrum that goes from fear/hatred to indifference to curiosity. It is not surprising that a lot of people are plain indifferent to data. They are much more comfortable making decisions based on intuition and half-hearted analysis.

Then there is a group that has no choice but have to work with data and they are either scared of data (they hide behind the 'I'm not really good with data') or hate their work because it involves data.

The last category are the ones that proudly call themselves as data geeks. They thrive with data. This post is targeted more towards the first group - the ones that hate / fear data.

How much of that fear / hate is brought about by the technology they use? I had done a post a couple months ago about how, when you give an expert the wrong technologies they become average and when you give the average person the right technology they become an expert. What I've figured out over the last couple months, is that when you give an average person the wrong technology you create fear / hatred.

I was with a customer the other day and they were gushing about the undo button in Tableau. All along, I knew it was cool having an undo button but what struck me was that this customer actually went from fear of working with data to joy because of this one little button. They went from one end of the spectrum to the other.

They talked about how before Tableau, if they made a mistake in building out their dashboard, they had to start from scratch. So over time, the product they used had trained them to be scared and killed all curiosity. They never deviated from the exact same steps every time. There would be times they wanted to experiment a bit but the thought of having to start from scratch, killed that thought.

Now with Tableau, they feel freed. They can experiment with their data, be curious, go down various paths of analysis and if they don't like something they just keep hitting the undo button till they come back to a state they were happy with.

Who knew that the little undo button could move someone from fear to curiosity..