Actionable Books Summary – Winning with Data

“The greatest enemy of business progress is not ignorance, it is the illusion of knowledge.” – Stephen Hawking, Winning with Data.

Tomasz Tunguz, a partner at Redpoint Ventures, together with Frank Bien, CEO of Looker, dive into organizational challenges and opportunities managing the deluge of big data in their book Winning with Data. Many of the recently disruptive companies are leveraging data as an operational asset and outmaneuvering the competition by removing the bottleneck of access and use of synthesized data. Four core problems discussed include breadlines (aka demand), obscurity, fragmentation, and brawls (aka miscommunication).

The authors provide a high-level discussion of how most teams and organizations can transform into a data-driven culture, evolving how people make decisions, collaborate and operate.

In working with data and intelligent systems for a better part of my career, it’s been an interesting journey engaging with how various companies in different industries can be led astray by this ‘ignorance’ which Stephen Hawking refers to in the above quote. While there’s a bit of self-promotion, the book delivers on a number of obvious and newly discoverable case examples where operationalizing data has made a positive impact on visibility and efficiency. In the progression steps outlined, the most common threads revolve around simplifying access and improving data literacy.

  • The Big Idea – Data Democratization
  • Insight #1 – Recruit and Shape Your People
  • Insight #2 – Understand and Manage Data Bias

Read my summary: