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



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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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Mico Yuk

As the Co-founder and CEO of BI Brainz, I've been in the Business Intelligence/Analytics industry since 2009. Trained 10K+ using our methodologies and frameworks! I love our amazing team and community! I share my passion for data to 20,000+ followers via the Analytics on Fire Podcast, our BI Brainz academy, blog, social media, global keynotes, training, and workshops. Our model is simple. We take what is successful for our customers and teach it! I'm a bonafide beach bum on days off!
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