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Catalog & Cocktails: Throwback Elixir

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About this episode

This episode of Catalog and Cocktails presented by features a special gathering of guests for their first official honest, no BS, data day. Hosts, Tim Gasper and Juan Sequeda, along with their guests, discuss what keeps them up at night regarding data management. They tackle topics such as value delivery, governance boards, data utilization, change management, and more. Throughout the episode, they emphasize the importance of influencing people and being consultative to drive change within organizations.

Speaker 1: This is Catalog and Cocktails presented by

Tim Gasper: Hello everyone. Welcome to Catalog and Cocktails presented by Data. world. It's your honest, no BS, non- salesy conversation about enterprise data management with tasty beverages in hand. My name's Tim Gasper, longtime data nerd, product guy, customer guy, Data. world, joined by Juan Sequeda.

Juan Sequeda: Hey everybody. I'm Juan Sequeda, the principal scientist here at Data. world. And as always, it's Wednesday, middle of the week, end of the day, time to take a quick break and chat up data. And today is a very, very different episode. So as you see we're in a different place, not when we're in the office. We got our whiteboard here. There's sticky notes all over the place. So here's the deal, today's a very special day because today is our first official honest, no BS, data day.

Tim Gasper: Honest, no BS, data day. And we have a bunch of special guests with us here today, former guests of the show.

Juan Sequeda: Yeah, so actually they're physically here. Come on in. We got on screen here, we have Joe, we have Omar, Dan Bennett, come on in everybody. We're here. This is a very fun thing that we are doing. Laura is here. Laura Matson, Mohammed Oser, and we have Vip over here, Vip Parmer. All right, so here's what happened is that we've been super, super lucky to be able to have so many different amazing guests and discuss so many topics that we said, wouldn't it be so cool to get all these guests in person go discuss what keeps us up at night? So this is it. We're going to do a quick, fun episode with people here live. What keeps you up at night in data? That's what we've been discussing here in person. So actually let's throw it to our guests who are remote because, unfortunately you're not here because you're planning to be here. So I don't know. Joe, you go first because all your fancy equipment there.

Tim Gasper: Kick us off, Joe.

Joe Reis: What keeps me up at night? Currently, jet lag is keeping me up very late. So yeah, if I'm not making any sense right now, that also is my out on that one. What keeps me up at night though? I don't know. Do you want me to get into that one?

Juan Sequeda: Yeah, start. What keeps you up at night data wise?

Joe Reis: Data wise, apart from lack of sleep. Yeah, there's a few things. I feel like the things that have been on my mind recently is obviously the big elephant in the room is the economy and how are you going to show value, like we always talk about and somehow have a hit- and- miss track record of doing that. So that's one of the things that I would say is value delivery, what exactly does that look like right now? What are the things that people need to focus on? Yep.

Juan Sequeda: Awesome. Omar, how about you?

Omar Khawaja: It's a long list which keeps me up, but when it comes to data, I think I have two big things. One is anything that ends with the word board, any form of governance board, it gives me nightmares. And the second one is, I think, how to move people beyond just realizing things in dashboards and reports. That's a topic which we have been struggling with and continue to struggle with. Hopefully we can focus on outcomes soon and I will have sweet dreams.

Tim Gasper: Yes. Out outcomes over outputs.

Juan Sequeda: And outcomes for sweet dreams. Vip, come on over. Tell us what keeps you up at night otherwise.

Vip Parmar: What keeps me up at night? So, like Joe, it's a little bit of jet lag, but other than that, it's the fact that data is our most unutilized asset. We have tons and tons of the stuff, but we don't have the comprehensibility to be able to understand it, to be able to utilize it. And to Omar's point, to then ultimately extract value out of it as well. So tons of data, but little wisdom, little knowledge.

Tim Gasper: Well said.

Juan Sequeda: All right. Laura, want to join us up here on this little mini stage we have? And Laura, what keeps you up at night?

Tim Gasper: You had a great reaction to governance boards as well. I saw a nod there.

Laura Ellis: Yeah, I totally agree, Omar. Anything that ends with board, councils, committees, they all suck. There's a lot of things that keep me up at night, that's not actually that difficult. But data governance obviously continues to be a challenge for many, many reasons, but honestly, it's the change management aspect of this work. When we talk about data transformation or digital transformation, we're really not giving ourselves the leg up to be able to use methodologies that already exist to be able to make those changes that are really going to impact our organizations.

Juan Sequeda: And finally, Mohammed, what keeps you up at night?

Mohammed Syed: Laura, I love that point. I think one of the things I reflected on as we've been having discussions all day today is a lot of the technical problems, we're getting good solutions around. I think people are getting closer to the value angle. We've got our endemic issues with data quality and governance. But what was the number one thing that resonated with me was the change management piece, that just because you have the right data doesn't mean that you can change the entire organization to go do the right thing. You actually have to influence people. And influencing people means you have to be consultative. You've got to make sure that people are bought in. And it's not very easy, actually. It turns out coming up with an answer to a math problem is very easy. But actually identifying ways on how you can work with stakeholders and influence them, understand their motivations, and ideally influence them to the best direction and have them co- create those solutions is like 10 times harder than actually coming up with the data and analytics solutions. And one of the things we reflected on was that most data practitioners aren't trained in that area. It's something that you kind of pick up over time. And so I think the change management aspect was really an eye- opener for me in discussions we had today.

Juan Sequeda: Tim, what keeps you up at night?

Tim Gasper: What keeps me up at night? What keeps me up at night is a lot of different things. I'll say one, which is there's all these people problems and then there's all this technology, both problems and opportunities and just figuring out what to focus on. I think getting clarity on here's my strategy, here are my goals, what should I actually focus on so I don't boil the ocean? That's the biggest thing that worries me for organizations.

Juan Sequeda: And for me here, I got it written down is the disconnect between executives and how the business work with the data teams. That's something that is just so frustrating that keeps me up at night. Like the data teams who don't under understand the business and you know what? It's sad that sometimes they don't even want to or they don't even try. They have this basic misunderstandings about stuff and then suddenly just want what machine learning thing can I go do with this stuff? So I think thinking about ROI blows people's mind around. So this is this big disconnect and I think we've realized, we say it over and over again. It's not a technology problem, it's the people in process. And what Mohammed said is this change management, I think there's a lot more to go do. So what we've done here is we've gotten a group of really cool people together who've been former guests and we're going to keep doing these honest, no BS days to just get the minds together and, let's be honest here, we don't know what's going to come out of this. We're having just great conversations. We're having white boarding and sticky note sessions. I think if you get great people together, we put them in a room, we shake this room together, something cool's going to happen.

Tim Gasper: As long as we're honest, no BS with each other, something good's going to come out of it.

Juan Sequeda: That's it. Well, that was a quick episode. We just wanted to say hello because after this we got a couple more hours of work to go, so thank you everybody. We love all our listeners. Thank you so much and stay tuned. We will be back next week.

Tim Gasper: Cheers. More to come.

Juan Sequeda: Cheers.

Speaker 1: This is Catalog and Cocktails. A special thanks to for supporting the show. Carley Burgoff for producing, John Loins and Brian Jacob for the show music. And thank you to the entire cataloging cocktails families. Don't forget to subscribe, rate, and review wherever you listen to your podcasts.

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