AoF 27: How to be Data-Informed, NOT Data-Driven w/ Ella Hilal of Shopify

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Are you data-informed or data-driven? My guest this week, Ella Hilal, the Director of Data at Shopify explains exactly why being data-informed is more important than being data-driven. Ella works at Shopify, a unicorn company in Canada that handles over $100B per year in e-commerce transactions and is growing 60%+ year over year. Besides dealing with insane amounts of data, Ella is an award-winning professor with more accolades than we can list here. 

Listen as Ella clarifies what it means to be a leader, and explains why being data informed is key to transforming your organizations’ data culture! Golden nuggets galore here folks… enjoy!

“A big part of my job is to ask the right questions to guide my team in the right direction." – 9:02



This exciting season of AoF is sponsored by our BI Data Storytelling Mastery Accelerator 3-Day Live workshop. Our first workshop coming up from Sept 17-19 is 70% full! Join us and consider upgrading to a VIP. Many BI teams are still struggling to deliver consistent, high-engaging analytics their users love. At the end of three days, you’ll leave with a clear BI delivery action plan. Register today!

3 Knowledge Bombs

  • Ella on being data-informed - "Data is historic and can help inform the future, but there are always other factors to inform decisions as well."
  • Ella on Mentors vs Sponsors - "It's critical to have mentors and sponsors around you for success. Mentors will give you recommendations of what they think you should do, Sponsors will actually advocate for you when you're not in the room.”
  • Ella on your Success - "The key to the success of your business is being client-centric."

In this episode, you'll learn:

  • [06:49]  - Ella's shares her difficult college journey as a women studying Engineering in college..
  • [21:31]  - Ella tackles the myth about AI taking over BI, and why you need the Data Science hierarchy.
  • [24:45]  - Ella explains why BI is not being replaced by AI anytime soon.
  • [26:16]  - Listen to Ella's AHA Moment when she realizes the importance of using BI.
  • [30:28]  - Ella gives you a clear example of what "not to do” in analyzing data, and the unique approach she takes to analyzing data with her own team.
  • [35:24]  - Key Quote: "You can ask a question from a data perspective, or you can ask a business question. - Ella Hilal
  • [37:05]  - Learn how to define success and what to ask.
  • [40:47]  - Learn how to know if what you are seeing is really correlating to what you want to do.
  • [44:15]  - Ella describes the key difference between data-driven and data-informed! Game-changer.
  • [48:56]  - Learn from a defining moment in Ella's career and one piece of advice she would give her younger self.
  • Right-click here and save-as to download this episode to your computer.

Shopify's culture: “Help the merchants first, and then think about money." – 19:41

Links and Resources mentioned in this episode:

  • Ella recommends you read:
  • Ella is the Director of Data at Shopify

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BI DataStorytelling Accelerator

3-Day Intense Workshop with Mico and team! Jun 9-11, 2020  |  Sept 14-16, 2020

Mico Yuk

Mico Yuk

As the founder and CEO of BI Brainz, Mico has been in the Business Intelligence industry for 8 years. Besides leading a team of some of the most brilliant minds in the industry, she continues to share her passion for Analytics through the BI Brainz Academy, blogs, social media, global keynotes, training and workshops. In her time off, she enjoys being a beach bum and buying red bottom shoes.
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