7 data-driven companies share their secrets

Nowadays, modern companies are obsessed with growth. Some companies like Facebook, Uber, Amazon,… have managed to sky-rocket. Why? Because they are data-driven companies at the core. Discover their learnings: 7 analytics experts from successful companies share their wisdom with you.

1. Make data-driven decisions.

Use your data for decision-making. In fact, numbers are crucial to back up your statement. And that’s because all that digital information reflects true behavior. Whether it’s website data, online or offline sales data,… All that information can tell you how your customers interact with you, and how it affects your business. Listening to that data equals listening to your customers.

mitch lowe“[…] use analytics to make decisions. I always thought you needed a clear answer before you made a decision and the thing that he taught me was [that] you’ve got to use analytics directionally… and never worry whether they are 100% sure. Just try to get them to point you in the right direction.”

– Mitch Lowe, Co-founder of Netflix 1

2. Dare to embrace change.

As scary as it may sound: sometimes you need to acknowledge that something is failing. Don’t try to save a sinking ship. Instead, start your pivot at the very moment you see the iceberg approaching. It’s never too late to change course. In other words, listen to the market and to your very own customers. Find out how you can make a difference to them.

instagram-e1506411576385.jpg“I learned a lesson from watching other companies who held onto things too long. If you look at the history of companies that have succeeded and the ones that have failed, there’s a pretty clear pattern that the ones that have succeeded typically morph every couple of years into something new. And that change is fairly uncomfortable.”

– Kevin Systrom, CEO of Instagram 2

3. Test, test, and keep on testing.

Having a strategy is important, but it shouldn’t come out of the blue. Every company is different, so you need to learn what works for your company, your sector and your audience. Unfortunately, there is no golden booklet with rules to follow. Instead, take this as a rule: spend 80% of your time on what worked before, and save 20% of your time to try out new things. Measure, and who knows what you might discover!

meenal balar“Execution is so critical. Sometimes you just need to try something, see what works and move forward.”

– Meenal Balar, Former Director of Emerging Market Growth at Facebook, VP of Marketing at Remind 3

4. Select KPI’s that really matter.

Present-day technology allows us to measure almost anything we want. But that makes it difficult to separate what’s essential and what’s secondary. If you want to build reports to monitor daily, only include the essentials. First, think carefully of which metrics you réally need to determine if you’re on the right track.

andrew chen“Don’t build metrics that aren’t going to be part of your day-to-day operations or don’t have potential to be incorporated as such. Building reports that no one looks at is just activity without accomplishment, and is a waste of time.”

– Andrew Chen, Head of Rider Growth at Uber 4

5. Don’t forget about qualitative data.

Although we don’t want to get caught up in the details, don’t forget that qualitative data can also generate a lot of insights. Indeed, hard numbers are crucial, especially if you’re monitoring on a daily basis. However, when doing more extensive analysis, include qualitative factors as well to measure their impact on your business.

stewart-butterfield-e1506410428701.jpg“Of course hard numbers tell an important story; user stats and sales numbers will always be key metrics. But every day, your users are sharing a huge amount of qualitative data, too — and a lot of companies either don’t know how or forget to act on it.”

– Stewart Butterfield, CEO and Founder of Slack, and previous co-founder of Flickr 5

6. Bring your data to life

We wouldn’t be data visualization experts if we didn’t include a quote on data visualization. Data are silver, but the insights are gold. To go for gold, you need to present flat data in such a way that they become insightful. Visualizing your data with the right chart will help the data speak for itself.

john-tukey.jpg“This is my favorite part about analytics: Taking boring flat data and bringing it to life through visualization.”

– John Tukey, mathematician 6

7. Focus on growth

Always think long-term. Some investments may seem to have a high return, but if they only help your business for a short period, you’ll be back at the bottom where you started in no time. Sometimes you’ll need that temporary boost, but at the same time, invest in efforts that will help your business grow.

andy johns“Focusing on growth is like switching from simple to compound interest. While compounding is only an incremental improvement in the short run it leads to massive returns in the long run. For tech, small optimizations now (+0.5% conversion) can have a large magnitude effect later (+1 million users).”

– Andy Johns, Head of User and Growth Team at Quora 7

As Edward Tufte8 once said: “If statistics are boring, you’ve got the wrong numbers.” So, are you ready to dive into your data and drive growth? Then we’ll help you get started to make your data understandable. Read this article to get started, or try building your first dashboard:



  1. https://blog.kissmetrics.com/how-netflix-uses-analytics/ – Image: https://www.equities.com/news/netflix-co-founder-mitch-lowe-who-s-driving-the-60-billion-cannabis-market-revolution
  2. https://www.recode.net/2017/1/23/14205686/instagram-product-launch-feature-kevin-systrom-weil – Image: http://uk.businessinsider.com/kevin-systrom-what-makes-a-good-instagram-post-2015-10?r=US&IR=T
  3. http://firstround.com/review/heres-what-a-real-growth-strategy-looks-like-road-tested-by-facebook-and-remind/ – Image: https://twitter.com/meenal_balar?lang=en
  4. http://andrewchen.co/omg-im-just-a-startup-i-cant-do-those-fancy-analytics/ – Image: http://andrewchen.co/
  5. http://firstround.com/review/From-0-to-1B-Slacks-Founder-Shares-Their-Epic-Launch-Strategy/ – Image: https://www.cnbc.com/2015/11/02/tech-valuations-are-high-but-no-bubble-slack-ceo.html 
  6. http://www.dirtyanalytics.com/analytics-quotes/ – Image: http://unbiasedresearch.blogspot.be/2016/04/john-wtukey-playing-in-everyones.html
  7. http://quibb.com/links/andy-johns-the-case-for-user-growth-teams – Image: http://firstround.com/review/indispensable-growth-frameworks-from-my-years-at-facebook-twitter-and-wealthfront/
  8. https://www.driveresearch.com/single-post/2016/12/04/6-of-the-Best-Web-Analytics-Quotes

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