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A mentor once told me that the best way to learn about business is to read history. So, I’ve been reading a lot of memoirs of famous founders lately. I just wrapped up Sam Walton’s Made in America and something, in particular, stood out to me: how Walmart used technology as a competitive advantage in the early days.
He tells a story about how one of his lieutenants convinced him of the need for an electronic SKU system to manage all their inventory: in-stores, at warehouses, in-transit, etc. He was hesitant in the investment ($24 million!) but eventually gave in. Although the project stumbled in the early days and took two years to complete, their “data processing managers” were now able to derive insights from all the data they started to collect.
This enabled a perpetual feedback loop between his stores, regional managers, merchandisers, and executive leadership with an industry-defining data platform… in 1978! While this is commonplace today, at the time it certainly was not. Walton credits his company’s success in hyper-growth mode to doing one thing better than the competition: using data.
In the same vein, I started doing some research on what some of the most innovative tech companies are doing with their data infrastructure efforts. Today’s edition shares some of those insights, see below!
Data Team Best Practices from Tech's Best and Brightest:
Around the ecosystem:
I’ve recommended this newsletter by Ed Sim before, but I can’t stress enough how good it is. Read his latest here!
An awesome recently launched newsletter from Priyanka at Work-bench VC called The Data Source. Most recent post: The Metadata Revolution
My partner in crime Prukalpa wrote this awesome piece in Towards Data Science: Data Catalog 3.0: Modern Metadata for the Modern Data Stack
She also wrote this: Top 5 Data Trends for CDOs to Watch Out for in 2021
Not related to the Modern Data Stack, but a useful skillset for data practitioners nonetheless: a long-form essay by Stanford on critical thinking.
Ending with a good laugh from @vboykis on Twitter: