06: Keidra Chaney Talks Data & Digital Analytics

To date, after 11 episodes, Keidra is the only one who wasn’t from inside the Excel world. So, why invite her to be a guest on Excel TV?

Keidra’s professional roles require good solid data. Her clients hire her for web analytics, and she teaches a Northwestern class to developers who need to understand analytics to measure the viability and success of their product. Her blog The Learned Fangirl is about pop culture and technology. Keidra deals with data from a lot of perspectives.

Keidra and I have had many conversations about this world of big data, the role of Excel, and the reality that a lot of people who are expected to sling this data aren’t prepared. So, what do they need from those of us who do sling data for a living and understand how to make Excel do double-back flips through fiery hoops?

The Expert Interview starts with good advice on how us, as Excel bloggers, can get better use from our site analytics, and touches on topics that include training, working with people who aren’t data geeks, and the relevance of Excel.

Highlights From the Expert Interview

7:15 Keidra mentions good use of Excel as a tool to measure offline activities

9:00 one of the hardest things, that I’ve found with analytics, is to get people to not focus so much on the metrics themselves and to focus on the overall business goals that the metrics can help them determine the outcomes of.

15:15 Jordan and Keidra share an interesting back-&-forth about dashboards, metrics, and what are genuine insights vs. pretty images.

18:10 “I like the idea of data being a process of inquiry, as opposed to this solid thing that’s just done; and when you get an answer, that’s the absolute answer and there’s nothing else to add.”

That launched a discussion of what it means to be an analyst. We aren’t wizard. We’re often the boogeyman.

19:50 I asked Keidra why she’s an Excel fan and not all about the Google dashboard. She mentioned pivot tables and pivot charts as tools that can get deeper insights and specific slices of data that are hugely helpful than on the Google Analytics dashboard. Her example was: Facebook data year-over-year for specific keywords. Easy to access in Excel. Not possible in Google Analytics.

Highlights From the Training Discussion

Jordan lead off the discussion based on a popular question: how do you go about doing training, and preparing so that you deliver for the audience/client?

Main Point Do as much as you can to learn about the audience up front.

3:10 It’s important for an audience to know what they need. “Come teach us” is a red flag that can set an instructor up for failure, and ensure the client’s dissatisfaction.

 3:40 Keidra says that a few years ago she could go in and teach a canned course. Today, needs are too diverse to deliver a generic agenda. That’s been my experience in teaching Excel workshops and tutoring. An office that’s 100% Mac needs a different approach than a PC environment or a mixed environment. I taught a 3-day workshop that ended up being about spreadsheet layout and use of tables (I describe that in my blogpost Big Data Schmig Data).

4:50 We had a technical glitch where we went offline. Rick returned and mentioned that I disagreed a little about the use of Powerpoint for training. It’s just a person style. I tend to use text boxes directly in the spreadsheets that are being used during training.

It was a pleasure to have Keidra visit us and share her perspective on the relevance and strength of Excel. Having the view of someone outside of the inner sanctum of Excel power users helps bring focus to how regular folks use and misuse Excel and data. We also see how we share a common objective in helping the growing population of non-data-geeks find their way in this world that increasingly data-driven.

Who Would Play Keidra In An Excel Movie?

This question came up in Episode 5 with Bill Jelen, Mr Excel. He said he would be played by Dan Aykroyd. So, who does Keidra choose? Grace Jones, circa 1983!

Watch out!

How To Find Keidra

TheLearned Fangirl: a critical look at pop culture and technology
Keidra Chaney at Contently

Her guest blogpost:  Three Things I Learned About Digital Analytics From Teaching Digital Analytics

Like This?

If you like this, please share. We’d also like to hear from you and invite your feedback. Is there something you’d like to see or do you have suggestions for guests? 

Oz Du Soleil
Latest posts by Oz Du Soleil (see all)


blogging, data analysis, digital strategy, Google analytics, Keidra, keidra chaney, Season 01

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