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27 Jan 2022

Getting better at data storytelling

Theresa Ward

Sr Manager, New Glenn Production at Blue Origin
How is the user really interpreting your information?
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Episode notes

We were recently joined by Theresa Ward, Sr Manager, New Glenn Production at Blue Origin, to discuss the most important things going on in data science leadership.


We opened up the conversation with some great tips and resources for becoming better at data storytelling.


Theresa: On the topic of data storytelling, it’s not just enough to know the mechanics of pulling data, writing scripts, building dashboards, and doing predictive analytics – you have to be able to tell the story.


I always point people to Edward Tufte:


If I go back in time a bit, working in lightning protection of airplanes, a safety critical skill for an aerospace company – you learn early that the way in which you present information to the chief engineer, to the leadership team is so important for making smarter decisions about the design of the airplane. It’s driving that kind of discipline in our storytelling. How is the user really interpreting your information?


Malcolm Gladwell has a book called Blink that’s about making snap judgements. Oftentimes leadership teams don’t have a lot of time to absorb information and so that makes it even more important that the way in which we express our data tells a story. That’s one of my big initiatives.


What tips do you all have for getting better at data storytelling?


Other resources shared:

✨ Andey & Mubanga both shared: (Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic wrote two books on storytelling with data)

✨ Kristi: I really like Stephen Few:

✨ Maisie, Mubanga, and Santiago gave a +1 to Edward Tufte as well:

✨ Bryan: The Tufte course is the best one-day event you will have

✨ Javier: As a follow-up to Theresa’s comment, here’s an awesome tutorial for recreating some of Tufte’s aesthetics with ggplot2:

✨ Theresa shared: Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Blink:

✨ Bryan shared Malcolm Gladwell’s other books: Outliers and Tipping Point

✨ DE672 shared: r2d3 is a great visualization resource – here is an example of them teaching tree-based algorithms:

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