There are many talented individuals who understand data, run complex models and analysis, but many struggle when it comes to standing in front of decision makers and telling a story.
To close this gap, we interviewed some of the star storytellers at Hyper Anna, to find out what data storytelling means to them and who they look to for inspiration.
Thiago Siqueira is a Senior Software Engineer at Hyper Anna.
1. Who do you think are the best storytellers?
My favourite storytellers are:
- Quentin Tarantino, for the meticulous tension scenes,
- George Lucas for the adventurous hero's journey portrayed in his movies,
- J.R.R Tolkien for the vast universe of his masterpiece, Lord of the Rings.
2. Favourite quote from your mentor/favourite storyteller/colleague/anyone really.
My favourite quote is one attributed to Thomas Jefferson that says:
Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.
3. If you could have a conversation with anyone (alive or dead), and hear their story, who would that be?
With the first person that will step foot on Mars, and hear what would be going through their minds, and how to build the mental stamina to leave family and home behind.
4. To you, what does data storytelling mean? How did it help you to succeed in your work?
Using data to convey a compelling story to a targeted audience using logical and structured ideas supported by visually appealing graphics.
Usually, we're trying to surface information hidden in the underlying data that when told in the format of a story it connects to people and adds value to the data.
Data Storytelling has helped me in Hyper Anna to explain complex technologies of the awesome products we build for our customers, to present results of how we test software and validate ideas to my peers.
5. What are your tips for telling a story with data? What should you avoid?
Know your data and know your audience.
One cannot make a good story out of data without understanding where it comes from, which context is used in, and what are the possibilities with it. At the same time, understand the level of data literacy of your audience, how they relate to the field of the data used in the story. Finally, how likely they are to connect to the problem you're trying to solve.
6. Tips of the trade: How do you tell a story as a Software Engineer?
As a Software Engineer at Hyper Anna we're always trying to build a story around software balancing the product, engineering and the craft part.
No product idea comes to life without a story on how it solves a problem to our customers.
It'd actually say before something is built, many stories around that feature have been told numerous times and validated in a fast-paced manner.
Good Software Engineering makes that idea become a possibility. How do you use technology to solve business problems in an efficient, robust and extensible way? It's only through selling your idea, or telling the story behind it that you'll get that done. The craft part comes as a result of our love for technology and the power it has to improve people's lives. The software in itself it's a story; it has a beginning, a middle, and an end. For your tech aficionado, it can even be good poetry, so we try to write that story in an easy to read way, but still efficient to solve a complex problem.
7. Any last thoughts you would like to share with everyone?
We just had one of the biggest case for data storytelling, in recent history - Coronavirus.
The global health communities across continents and countries explain how we could tackle a virus spread and as a result, flatten the curve through social distancing. That is storytelling to the masses using universal data language.
Stay healthy, stay safe.