5 Lessons to Help You Get Started with Data Science

By Julie-Anna Dietz posted Oct 26, 2017 05:51 PM


Brad Klingenberg gives a keynote speech on data science at Super Forum 2017.
Data science is one of the hottest new areas in business, but what exactly is data science – and how can you use it in your organization?

At Super Forum 2017, Brad Klingenberg, VP of Data Science at Stitch Fix, dove into what data science is and what he’s learned from using it to help propel a Silicon Valley startup to success.

According to Brad, data science is a combination of math, statistics, and technology that also encompasses artificial intelligence and machine learning. Many businesses use data science to help predict trends and make important decisions. Although it sounds math heavy and complicated, data science’s applications are more accessible that you might think.

Here are five things Brad has learned about using data science in business that can help your organization get started.

1. Data science is being applied in places you wouldn’t expect.

Data science is applicable to any organization, in any industry. Brad is currently using data to do everything from create demand models – how many customers will be asking for service next week? – to making personalized clothing recommendations.

2. Data science enables personalization at scale.

Data is nothing on its own, but data science includes algorithms that are iterable, testable, and replicable. You can use them to find an improvement in one area, then apply that improvement to all your clients.

3. It’s not all about “big” data.

Focus on the information content and predictive value of your data, not just the volume of data you have. Having less data that’s more valuable is better than having more data that doesn’t contain any useful information.

4. Test everything, all the time.

You might look at a problem your business is facing and approach it based on your best guess at the time. That approach might not work, but if you’re measuring and testing everything you do, you’ll find out where you’re going wrong more quickly and learn the best way to move forward in the future.

5. Start Simple

Simple models are easy to interpret, clear, and you can confidently understand what the model does. That also makes it easy to communicate the model and how you’re using data to other stakeholders, like your business partners.

Look at how data science can help your organization.

Don’t get stuck on the definition and complex reputation data science has. Its applications can be simple, accessible, and used in any industry.