Cold Hard Data Feelings

Data presents the hard indisputable facts, and as such has a reputation for being emotionless and cold. While this might be the case in comparison to the alternative, a feeling based on speculation, data is anything but emotionless to those of us who work with it on a daily basis.

As a self-confessed data geek, crunching, processing and analysing data conjures up a wide range of emotions in me, I’d even go as far as comparing the crunching of some data sets as an emotional rollercoaster.

Here’s an example:

The dataset is of all the funding rounds in the Nordics in 2015, and I am looking for the median for seed rounds, Series A’s, B’s and C’s in 2015.

  1. Anticipation: Whenever I set out to find the answer to something through data I feel a sense of anticipation that I will soon know the answer to the question I am asking.
  2. Intrigue: I’ve worked out my first answer, and feel a sense of intrigue as to whether the other answers will follow this trend/pattern or whether this answer is an anomaly.
  3. Satisfaction: My first two answers return round numbers that fit the range I was hoping for, giving me a sense of satisfaction.
  4. Frustration: After three ‘perfect’ answers, the fourth isn’t one, which although it shouldn’t, frustrates me a little, but hey, the numbers don’t lie.
  5. Challenged: I now have to figure out the best way to tell the story of these results when I write the final analysis.
  6. Gratified: After you spend thirty minutes working on a problem, and subsequently find your answer through your own dirty work, it leaves you with a certain sense of gratification.
  7. Knowledgable: One of my favourite parts of working with data, is that you can get to answers that others do not have yet, which leaves you feeling knowledgable.
  8. Excitement: Great! Now I can share this knowledge with everyone else!

Data may well be cold when it is presented in its final form, but for data-geeks like me, the journey conjures up all sorts of emotions, so next time you are looking at cold hard data, don’t forget the feelings that went into it.