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Data Talks, Episode 23

Data Talks is Exago’s podcast on business intelligence, analytics, and application software. This month, we learn all about how to build enterprise data literacy with analytics experts Caitlin Johnson and David Langer. In addition to their day jobs at Schedulicity, David and Caitlin teach data literacy courses with TDWI, focusing on the few concepts business professionals need to do 80% of their analytics. The conversation explores the state of corporate data literacy today, how it impacts BI usage, and what enterprises need to do to become more data-driven.


Segment 1: How to Build Data Literacy

(3:37) Defining data literacy.

(11:00) Core data literacy concepts

(13:40) Understanding statistical significance.

(20:21) Who needs data literacy training and what that training entails.

(25:50) Being data-driven when your company is not.

(29:00) Building data literacy through formal education.

(34:00) Dealing with data doubters.

(36:00) Stages of literacy training, continued.

(45:55) Addressing user overwhelm.

(50:30) Incorporating data literacy into SaaS BI training.

(54:30) Where Caitlin and Dave teach (see Resources below).

Segment 2: What We Are Nerding Out About

(58:25) Caitlin: Effective Data Storytelling by Brent Dykes!

(1:00:10) Dave: Econometrics!

(1:01:18) Nicole: The snazzy new Exago website!

(1:02:56) Chris: Statcast and the 2020 Major League Baseball season!


Notable Quotes

“One of my favorite sayings is culture eats strategy for breakfast.” (David, 9:00)

“Statistical significance…allows you to mathematically recognize when something is outside of your routine variation and is actually worthy of investigating and sounding the alarm or popping the champagne, depending on what numbers you’re looking at and which direction they’re moving in. ” (Caitlin, 12:53)

“‘The skepticism’ really means…it’s not supposed to be a negative thing. Essentially, it’s this idea that, generally speaking, moving the needle in the business is hard. That’s the skepticism. And that says that, subsequently, anything that you try is likely not to work, because moving the needle is hard.” (David, 34:48)

“You know at a high level, conceptually they’re like, “We’re data driven!” and everyone likes that idea. But when it comes to the reality of— what’s the work going to be for me to actually learn this stuff and then how is it going to really benefit me…I don’t think that’s very clear.” (Caitlin, 45:28)


Featured Guests

Caitlin Johnson

Caitlin Johnson is a Junior Data Scientist with Schedulicity. With a background in applied mathematics and years of experience in customer service, she nurtures the company’s marketing team toward actionable insights. In her spare time, she teaches courses on data literacy and machine learning at TDWI. Her latest fascination is with human psychology and its impact on how we process information.

David Langer

David Langer is a hands-on analytics consultant and trainer. He has previously held analytics leadership positions at Schedulicity, Data Science Dojo, and Microsoft. He teaches data literacy, R coding, and machine learning at TDWI and makes free tutorials available on YouTube. David believes that a data literate workforce can bring enterprises higher returns than applied machine learning.

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