Interesting read and discussion topic, especially given JADS’ MSc-program!
Indeed, companies which understand the market and its customer better have a better chance of surviving. Talking to your users is one tool to do that. However, in my view it should not stop there: because what people tell you is not always what they do.
Personally, I wouldn’t pick Data Science (“finding causal relations”) over Data Entrepreneurship (“agile attitude” / “lean methodology”) or the other way around. In my opinion the magic happens at the intersection of both: having a good starting point by talking to your users first and subsequently validating those hypotheses using quantitive / data science methods.
Let’s have a look at this venn diagram to illustrate my point (everyone loves them these days, right? — based on an interview with Willem-Jan van den Heuvel).
Data Entrepreneurship — as framed in this article — can be categorised as “domain knowledge” (or qualitative research). In the same way the ability to identify causal relations / correlations can be regarded as analytical capabilities. On top of that, engineering skills have a prominent place; because having the insight that people want to be certain their cab is on the way to them is part of the story, having an app that actually shows you that is another story.
N.B. How many shots did it take to end up with these beautiful pictures, haha I like it! 😜