Once a geek, always a geek – and by the way geeks are totally cool!


Andrew McAfee, MIT

I’m a geek at heart – I always have been and I always will be.  I love technology and I love math.  I love that my job combines both.  But you know what is even better?  In today’s world of big data and data visualization, it is totally fashionable to be a geek.

Last week, I attended SAS Global Forum where Andrew McAfee talked about HiPPOs and Geeks. HiPPO refers to the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion, meaning these people make decisions based on experience, intuition and likely some data.  Geek refers to us number crunchers – those who make decisions purely based on the data.  A HiPPO can also be a geek – but in today’s business world, most – by in large – are not.

As McAfee conveyed, it takes a leap of faith as a Hippo to follow the data – especially if it contradicts the HiPPO’s intuition.  The best type of Hippo will be the HiPPO that sets aside their personal belief and lets the data rule.  Many are using data to make decisions but, are they truly letting the data guide them?  Or is there still a very natural tendency to let intuition and rationale heavily influence decisions, even when confronted with the data?

Geeks.  We need more geeks.

This line of thinking made me realize that many organizations are in the early adoption phase of being *truly* data driven in their decision making processes.  Using data as a map to guide you is one thing.  Taking data as the answer and following it with faith is another.  We need more geeks.  Businesses WANT to have the geek approach to decision making. And, like I said, being a geek is totally cool.

How do you get your Geek on? 

What can businesses do in order to adopt a culture that is dominated primarily by data-driven decision making?

Start by working with data visualization solutions that apply analytics to the data in a way that makes the data understandable by the business user.  Doing so, bridges a gap between the business problem and the math necessary to solve the problem.

Using data visualization driven by analytics will quickly identify areas of the business that need attention or improvement, identify the factors that influence customer behavior and the various relationships between demographics that might influence a successful marketing campaign.  Moreover, a data visualization solution that uses descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics can tell you not only what has happened, based on your data – but can also help you determine what might happen in the future and then give you the ability to examine various scenarios that could influence potential results.

Get your geek on:  check out SAS Visual Analytics


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Jennifer Marchi

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