Using Data to Train Your Intuition

Despite working with numbers all day long, I have come to appreciate the power of intuition. This can be a sensitive topic because intuition can be seen as “woo-woo” while numbers are facts and objective. Like most things, I don’t think think they need to be so black or white. Instead, we can find grays that better explain our world.

Think of your brain as a predictive machine that is always trying to figure out what is going to happen based on existing information. Scientists at Cambridge describe this as “predictive processing framework”. This is usually happens subconsciously and can be hard to understand. Let’s see how this translates into your work.

When companies start investing in their data, they usually want to make more “data driven” decisions which could mean that they are tired of trying to use their intuition (or gut). However, I sometimes see companies swing to the extreme of this idea and reject any answer that doesn’t include cold, hard numbers.

Instead, companies and executives could view data as a way to train their intuition. You have ideas on what would work for your product and data can help you validate these ideas. More importantly, you could use data to improve your decision making process by retroactively looking at why you made certain decisions and the outcome of that decision.

This hybrid approach can be quite powerful especially over the long term. You’ll be able to “feel” why some ideas will or will not work and data can validate these feelings.

Actions for This Week:

What’s a recent decision that you made based on intuition where you could check the outcomes using real data? How can this data prove or disprove the initial assumptions that you made in the past?

Interesting Reads and Resources

  1. One of my favorite books on this topic is the Inner Game of Tennis which uses the sport to explain how we learn and how to make better decisions.
  2. Meditation is a good way to become more aware of emotions and thoughts. Sam Harris recently released a great app that can help anyone learn how to meditate.

One more thing before you go! Are you getting the data you need to grow your company?

I find most companies are stuck with high-level metrics and they aren't able to properly understand what actually drives user growth for their web and mobile products. To do that, you need the right data and the right tools.

If this sounds like your situation, then you should download our free tracking plan (and tutorial video). This is the document that you should create before you ever implement tools like Mixpanel, Amplitude, Segment, and Intercom. Click the image below to download your own free tracking plan (and tutorial video).

Ruben Ugarte
Ruben Ugarte
I'm the founder of Practico Analytics and I created this company to help companies use analytics data to grow their web and mobile products. I love combining data, psychology, and systems in work and in personal projects.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *