5 Data Lessons Learned from TV
by Kayle Simpson, on October 6, 2016
Data is everywhere - including in your favorite shows! I should know, by day I work at Arkatechture and by night I'm an avid Netflix binger. Even in my off-time, I can't escape data (not that I'd want to) so I decided to put together a list of 5 lessons about data I've learned from my favorite TV shows!
1. 'If You Don't Know Your Data, You Don't Know Your Business'
This is the lesson that inspired this post in the first place - I'm a big fan of shows that take a fallen company/house/restaurant/etc. and turn it around. Well, sometimes turn it around. The Profit is one of the few shows where projects are turned down, and the show is aired whether or not a deal is made. If you aren't familiar with The Profit, the show follows successful businessman and investor Marcus Lemonis as he attempts to help failing businesses get back on their feet. One thing he always harps on is how much business numbers matter- often saying "If you don't know your data, you don't know your business." If you watch the show, you'll see exactly what he means!
2. Data is Crucial To All Businesses, Even The Local Bar
Bar Rescue is easily one of my favorite shows - especailly as someone who specializes in visual communications and branding. It will never not be amazing to me how quickly the designers and printers work to rebrand each bar! Anyways, even if you only watch just one episode of Bar Rescue, you'll notice how often statistics and data are brought up - everything from the population demographics of the location to how many ounces of alcohol are being poured in each drink. Even if your business is small, understanding data can really make or break your success!
3. A Good Data System (And A Talented Analyst Team) Can Get You The Answers You Need, As You Need Them
Maybe an extreme example of a comprehensive data system is the one that Audio/Visual Analyst Penelope Garcia uses for the FBI on Criminal Minds. While you may not be able to cross reference people who graduated from local universities in 1989 with those who have registered a green SUV, you can certainly do similarly magical things with your own company data- like tell how many in-store sales you get on rainy days vs. clear days! All you need is to get all of your data in one place - which can be done with a data warehouse or a data lake!
4. Visualization is The Key To Problem Solving
If you haven't watched Scandal, do yourself a favor and cancel your weekend plans to binge watch this amazing show! In every episode of Scandal, or at least when a new client is presented, the team always prints out everything they can find related to the matter and pins it up on this awesome opaque window:
This helps them see all of the information they need at once, and brainstorm more effectively. You can do the same for your business, except much less dramatically and with less paper waste, with data visualization dashboards, like the ones we make in Tableau!
5. Don't Assume Anything - And Leave The Testing To The Pros
You may think that your customers only use Facebook or that Credit Union members don't want online banking, but you can't know for sure without testing, research, and, of course, data! That is the entire premise of the show Mythbusters- except if you replaced business decisions with more physical, and often more dangerous, theories. You wouldn't try to drive your car into the back of a semi without knowing it was for sure possible (hint: it's not, this myth was busted!) - so why would you make business decisions without being 100% sure you're making the right one?