How to analyze unfamiliar data: circle, dive, and riff

October 19, 2010

When you come face to face with unfamiliar data, how do you proceed? How do you avoid sending you and your shiny “speed of thought” tool slamming into a dead end? Dan Murray’s got a routine — and he’s also got certain music and right-brained wisdom to analyze by.

Dan’s first rule: “Don’t pre-think.” It’s the hardest thing for people to learn, he says. “If you go into [data analysis] thinking you know where you’re going, you easily miss the granule of gold.”