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The Four Cringe-Worthy Mistakes Too Many Startups Make with Data

Source | firstround.com

If there’s one thing that grinds Amanda Richardson’s gears, it’s fads.

As Chief Data and Strategy Officer for HotelTonight (she was previously their VP Product), she oversees 400 to 500 data events for an app with millions of monthly users. Her team registers hundreds of events from every user session. She’s steeped in the data world and is a keen observer of how other companies are increasingly leveraging data to make decisions. But what she sees are a number of trends and approaches to data that aren’t just lazy, but also ineffective, misleading, and costing companies a ton of opportunity.

In this exclusive interview, Richardson points out four of these approaches that data teams industry-wide should watch out for, and how leaders can break from the pack to better serve their strategic goals. Specifically, she describes how she built her current team to mimic the product teams she’s led for years. And she explains why creating next-generation products has a lot more to do with simplicity, consistency and consensus than leveraging the hottest new thing.

Mistake #1: Starting with Metrics Instead of a Goal

Data is more available than ever before. Collecting, storing and analyzing it have become standard practices at most companies. But all too often, lost in the scramble for real-time analytics and data lakes is a coherent and straightforward plan for what to do with all of these numbers. Richardson has seen many a team aimlessly digging through data, looking for the story. With no clear point of view, though, they’re left chasing a moving target.

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firstround.com
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