Hacking 101 – Curating Data

Somewhere on the inter-webs (Quora) mentioned that the statement “90% of the data was created in the last 2 years” seemed to be scored by IBM back in 2013. With the curve with data being forcefully tracked everywhere these days, one wouldn’t be surprised if it is now “95% of the data to be created within the last 12 months”.

It’s probably the case that in your organization, you are tracking a whole lot as well. But do you really mean to track them? Or read them somehow someway?

Curate, not Collect

Collecting is easy.

  1. Put in your GTM / GTA codes
  2. Track every imaginable touchpoint
  3. Track every unimaginable touchpoint
  4. Voilà

Curating is tedious.

  1. Collect data (i.e. all of the above)
  2. Filter / select
  3. Look at / relook at business needs & fine-tune number 1 and repeat number 2


Outside of porn, almost everything is better filtered – coffee, tap water, air, our faces. The same goes for data. Having 1,000 things tracked doesn’t mean you have 1,000 more opportunities. It’s actually quite the opposite if you don’t know how to deal with it – you will likely end up having 1,000 more headaches. This is even more true in startups & SMEs, when you don’t have an army of analysts acting as digital stalkers & modern-day Sherlock solving the data puzzles.

While it’s not a bad idea to collect all the data for a rainy day, you will often need to pick your battle as it can get overwhelming. Here are a few cookies:

  1. Try to isolate your current pain points, map out key journeys, and have flittered views of selected metrics instead of a gigantic report / spreadsheet / pages of graphs that don’t tell the same story
  2. Be consistent on your filtering between views / reports
  3. Keep it simple and don’t be a try-hard; in many companies (again especially when you are a startup / SME constantly adapting & changing), chances are by just looking at the top & easiest metrics, you can find low hanging watermelons everywhere; YOU DON’T NEED EXPENSIVE ANALYSTS TO FIND THE MOST OBVIOUS FRUITS

If it Ain’t Connected, Bridge It

Now in 2020, when it comes to data, some people will automatically think that “ok, they are there and will happen in my spreadsheet or dashboard.”

But no. For many industries, many of the key activities in the funnel (thank god) still happen offline. If you omit those, you could be getting very “intermittent” data within your ecosystem to tell a broken story. For example, consider if your logistics department does not properly track their stuff. When you have a customer giving you a blind 1-star review, you could wrongly attribute back to the product or other areas because you have no choice but to assume logistics is fine.

It can be painful even for pure digital plays, if you don’t have all the expertise in the world to Zap / Flow / IFTTT all your datapoint into one place (say hello to all the 30 platforms you use on social). But bridging it with individual semi-manual efforts is crucial, as having a nice clean data view is the window to success.

Have a Dashboard

I will go as far as saying that building a dashboard is an art of its own. Even just for a simple (or not that simple) GA, there are hours to be spent there. Luckily, there are already tonnes of tools out there you can -steal- borrow. Of course, you can also explore into Google Data Studio, Adobe Analytics, Tableau, Qlik, and the list goes on.

Oh, and one more thing. If you don’t have pretty dashboards with charts & sparkles & visualizations, don’t get shamed or discouraged by using spreadsheets. As long as the right data is there & they are helping you to solve your own business pains, it’s way better than having pretty stuff and not being digested.

2¢ on +1% a Day Hacking 101 – Knowing Your Audience

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