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Your Data Science Journey

Podcast host Tania Salarvand | Podcast guest Rachael Hadaway
August 01, 2019 | 7 min 47 sec

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Brief summary

Technology is reshaping customer expectations at an unprecedented rate and to keep up, we must harness our data assets to gain real customer insight. Rachael Hadaway, Senior Vice President of Products, Strategy, and Design at 84.51°, a data and analytics firm owned by Kroger, shares how your data science practice could be serving you better. If you are a business or tech leader, wanting to use data to create a culture of continuous intelligence, this is the podcast for you.


There’s no such thing as an ‘average shopper.’ To be successful need to understand each individual customer and we need to create a personalized experience for them, which means average data is not good enough. 

Challenges have always been about getting something implemented. Getting a big enterprise to take a big leap of faith that the data was showing a different path was challenging. Focusing on science and tech only gets you so far, you also need a storyteller to bring people along on the journey and make a different decision.

The biggest factor for creating a good culture for Data Science to thrive is trust. And that goes both ways- from the team embarking on, or trying new techniques, through to the business stakeholder that needs to trust that they will do the best thing for the business and their customers. So anything you can do to build trust is key. 

Trends that surprised me most is the wideness of data. Data can come from everywhere and is more trackable than ever. That data combining together to create new data has allowed us to create models that are much more accurate and interesting than ever before. 

The relationship between consumers, data and trust is a constantly moving target. People were initially wary with proving organizations data, then got more comfortable because they saw better experiences, but now starting to be wary again. We have to constantly evaluate if we are providing enough value to customers to make it worthwhile for them

Finding someone who has the ability to tell a story through data is gold. We have lots of tech talent, but harder to find someone who can turn boring/ flat data into something with texture and connect to the human experiences. Those are the unsung heroes of data science

Business and technology challenges pale in comparison to people challenges. When we have strong self-directed teams we can accomplish anything. Focusing on the team, not the business problem has been the biggest unlock for me. We need to hire great people, empower them and watch them do great things.

We should have No fear of AI/ML taking over the industry. These concepts need human to make them smart and meaningful. Humans will have an even stronger role in future. It's about taking the things that humans are uniquely qualified to do and elevating those things. 

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