Data wins arguments, wether you like it or not.

We are living in the age of information, and it looks like there is no turning back. It does not matter what you do, where you are and who you’re. Most likely you interact with data every single day. You can produce it, consume it, or both but you’ll relate to this data generation fever at some point in your life, I believe that you could take advantage of it.

In this consumer/producer paradox, it’s possible to take away some of it and use it to your advantage, professionally or personally if you get the best of the available data around you or your interests. The only thing you need to do is become aware of it.

The biggest stopper when talking about data is that it’s hard, and everybody is talking about these crazy algorithms and technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning that will take our jobs, and conquer the world. It’s not like that at all, you only have to invest some of your time for sure, but you’ll take a lot out of it.

Take a challenge. For one or two weeks write down what time you’re going to sleep and when are you waking up, if possible to the minute, and it’s pretty important to be honest, and even without knowing you might be using an app already.

After you’ve collected the information it’s time for some simple math to answer the following questions:

  • How many hours have you sleep in average during the last X days?
  • What’s the day of the week that you slept the most?

Those two simple questions can answer a lot about your day to day, and even help you with some follow ups. The idea behind this little exercise is becoming aware of the own data that you generate, and what insights you can get out from it.

This very simple principle would be tip of the iceberg for what data can do for you, and what you can do with it. If you collected your data, you already now a little more about your routine. You have calculated average (even try to get the median) of your sleeping hours, and found your highest value.

Despite how simple this is, you can already make a few observations on your week. Maybe you can figure that the reason behind you being grumpy all day is because you didn’t slept enough the previous night.

When you start to look at data, you’ll start to see patterns, and with patterns you can do a lot.

Extracting insights from information will require you to known your data or domain before you can do anything. If you’re just a Data Enthusiast or someone that is taking your first steps to learn more about how to handle data, I’ve prove to myself that my own information gave me a lot of insights I was not even aware, so maybe you can give it a shot too.

Most of us have routines, from commuting to the office, up to finishing some work, we all make use of time as a variable. As this variable is finite, we need to get the best out of it.

When you’re planning for the work that you’ll do next, trying to gather a sense of other departments or just to influence roadmap for the next year data should be your best ally.

Data can help you to set clear goals for what it’s coming next year. Think about how to answer this without data:

  • How much does your team want to increase delivery for the next year?
  • What your reading goal for next year? What’s the improvement compared to this year?
  • How big is your workload? How fast do you get it out the door?
  • What a good objective for your running training for next year? How many miles you want to run next year and how far are you?

Most of the questions you want to answer, even if you work for a startup or a huge company. If you’re self employed or whatever you want to do. Data will help you to make a point.

Can you imagine a plane flying with no instruments? Have you ever seen a cockpit cabin? They have tons of indicators and measurements. Why? They help them to know the status of things, and they have lots of them.

  • Track useful metrics and keep an eye on them. They are indicators for you. If you don’t have them build them.
  • Discard metrics you haven’t found useful. Build new ones.

Data has always been useful, and nowadays we have access to loads and loads of information that can be easily tracked. The more we use it the better decision we’ll be able to take. If you already have data you’d like to analyse why not to start. If you don’t have it, try to review how to collect it.

Despite what it that you’re doing, informed decisions are normally drivers for good results, at least that’s my point of view.

Infosec Researcher, traveller, kitesurfing enthusiast. I just like to think outloud