Taking initiative with an idea
As an analyst when you’re working with business partners, you’re just trying to deliver value and insight in a speedy way. So I’m trying to convince analysts to maybe take a bit of a step back and learn and implement something new that can help both them and their business partners in the future.
Do you have any advice for how I, as a person trying to get these things up and running, can help to create more of that culture of let’s go ahead and take a step back and do something now that will help me in the long term versus just trying to check boxes as quickly as possible?
It is a constant battle. I feel like it is the place where it requires some strategy because you can’t do it all the time.
You have to really recognize when is the right time to pounce on an idea.
You have to have the ideas first. Sometimes you have to sit on them for a little while and then you have to just be able to recognize that opportunity.
It’s OK to make mistakes. Sometimes you push something too soon and it might hurt a little bit, but don’t let that kill your motivation.
I hate PowerPoint. I hate copy and paste so much. I might have said copy and paste 80 times already. But I hate it.
For a long time, some of the reports that I was doing– just to give you an example, Paramount is, like, 30 individual networks – and so sometimes we’re repeating views for 30 networks times five different views at the bare minimum.
It’s too many slides, too much copy and paste.
I had made a push for, oh, we should convert this to R Markdown or Shiny or something.
And same thing– it’s like, well, our stakeholders don’t know how to use that and it’s a server. It’s very private and customer information.
And COVID hits, and sports viewing kind of just went away. We had so many questions coming in about, what do we do? What’s going on? What are customers doing? What are they watching?
All sports just kind of went completely off the air immediately.
And I realized, this is my moment.
I created (we were in Hadoop at the time, we’ve since moved but we were in Hadoop at the time) some shell scripts, bash scripts to run at certain days and scheduled it and created this pipeline that I had been messing around with for a while, created an automated R Markdown report.
And basically, I was able to give the information that the business was asking for very, very quickly.
And they learned how to use it because they really wanted it. And it would have been too much for my very small team to be reporting every single week on what is happening this week.
It’d be a huge load on our team to do that every single week from scratch.
So basically investing– and I will admit that I spent a little bit of night time on this project – but it was a passion project where I was like, all right, this is my moment to prove that this is a feasible solution, and show that– because we had so many questions coming in.
This was one of a huge backlog of questions. I was able to show that, OK, this is done. We’ve automated it.
We can use this for other things, for other questions that business owners want every single week and still have time leftover for those ad-hoc questions. Those one-off things that are really important, we’ll have time for that, too, and not miss the report.
I think there’s just this strategy that you have to really always be thinking about of when is the right moment to maybe not necessarily ask for approval– to just do something and show the value.
Hopefully, you have leaders who will support you in those decisions
If it’s the right one and the right moment you can push some of the different tools that were not really supported in the beginning of my career here.