"Back up your position with data. You don’t win arguments by saying, ‘I think.’ You win by saying, Let me show you."
This summer I'm working at a startup in SF and learning to ton. I've met hundreds of people, from dozens of startups. And I've asked a thousand questions. Some of the best advice I received was this: learn how to use BI tools - Like Looker.
That week I started playing with tutorials from Looker Data Sciences. Two weeks later, I'm nearly fluent. I learned by asking actual questions and using real data from CrunchBase.com.
I started with simple questions: How many companies have raised over 10M this year? How many companies that raised a Series A got were acquired in 2010?
Then I asked a question (one that everyone has an opinion on), that I will have to answer come graduation: "Where is the best place to start a company?"
I started by looking at number of funded companies in Austin and NYC, and SF. Then money raised in the locations. Then number of VCs in locations. Then the ratio of companies that raise seed that also raise Series A. Then acquisition rates and acquisition ages. Then how these rates are changing over time. Then number of employees at acquired companies....
I got lost. One question lead to another. I was able to pivot from one question to another seamlessly. I was able to take a chunk of data and answer relevant questions (full report coming soon - I'll tweet when Its ready). I was able to manipulate tons of data into beautiful chats and graphs. In 15 minutes I was able to back up some of my assumptions with data, and rule out others.
And I learned to do all of this... in two weeks.
I'm not bragging... I'm only saying this:
I'm not surprised that Looker just raised $15 Million. And I think this is just the beginning.
Disclosure - I have a minor stake in looker.