What are the challenges of building a data team at a startup?


This is a topic I think a lot about, and I happened across this fantastic set of Quora answers today. All three of the top responses are incredible. Some selected quotes:

Don’t expect anyone in the organization to understand exactly the value you will bring and the specific things you are going to work on to bring that value. It is your job to shine a light on the areas you can help the company innovate.
You have to make sure you are working on what will actually drive the business forward - objectively, what is best for the business? This means learning how to say “No”.

The thing that has become incredibly clear to me over the past year is that there is also a severe talent shortage in the industry. Not a lack of people who know R or Python or SQL, but a lack of people who have experience using modern tools to solve real problems. Right now I believe that sourcing and training talent is the hardest problem in growing a startup analytics team. I'm working on a post on this topic now—if you have thoughts on this topic please email me.

I originally found this article linked from Monica Rogatti's recent and wonderful piece How Not to Hire Your First Data Scientist—also a must-read. 


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