Ritika Puri is a storyteller, business education consultant, and entrepreneur. She founded Storyhackers (a now two-person team) to help companies like Lean Startup Company, Dun and Bradstreet, LinkedIn, HubSpot, and Taboola to create stronger relationships with customers through awesome content and copy. Ritika teaches storytelling and content marketing courses for General Assembly in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Are you finding it hard to finally resolve to do something new in your career in 2016? Maybe you’re starting the year bogged down in endless work that you don’t enjoy. Or maybe you’re dealing with something more permanent, and you feel like you’ve lost an important spark in your career development.
Regardless of your situation, it’s important to take a step back and remember: everyone goes through these dips and spikes in their careers. Even more? The power is in your hands to course-correct and find the right path forward.
You need inspiration. But contrary to the popular saying, inspiration doesn’t just ‘strike.’ You need to go out and find it. Get in the right mindset for 2016 with the following TED talks.
If you thought the introduction of the commercial Internet changed mass media, take a look at what’s in front of you today. Behind the sites of your favorite newspapers and blogs (yes, even this one), publishers are using data to create better audience experiences. For anyone who has ever considered working with data as part of their career, there are now more opportunities than ever to bring media and data together. Here are some of the most important technologies to have on your radar.
Can data improve the future of our humanity? You better believe it. “Big data” is more than just big businesses. Every day, social impact groups are finding new and creative ways to act upon the information that they’re generating. They’re using data to surface new information, uncover underserved communities, and track performance over time. Here are 5 very different organizations that are using data, in new and creative ways, to improve the lives of people around them:
For many people, data feels like an avalanche of information. No matter how proficient we are with Excel, statistical software, SQL, or Google Analytics, it’s often tough to know where and how to take your first steps. Should you create a chart? Should you try to find a correlation between the trend you’re observing and revenue? How do you know whether your findings are statistically significant—and for that matter, what the heck is statistical significance?
At the end of the day, these questions are less intimidating than they seem. Data is a tool that human beings created for other human beings. As a result, it’s up to you to create your own constraints for analysis. You choose your terms. You choose the questions you want to answer. You choose the techniques that you want to deploy. You’re in control.
Here are three tips to help you wrangle your next report.
Until recently, the words “innovation” and “entrepreneur” intimidated me. I always thought that these concepts came from some super-human genius, or that it was some birthright that people either had or didn’t.
Feeling inspired by leaders like Sara Blakeley, founder of Spanx; Elon Musk who runs Tesla, SolarCity, and SpaceX; and Danielle Fong who runs LightSail, I realized that I couldn’t just sit on the sidelines wondering whether I ‘had it.’ I quit my job, started a business, joined the team at Lean Startup Company, and have worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators along the way.
What I learned was that innovation is something that’s accessible to any passionate human who’s willing to challenge herself and learn: it’s a continuous, iterative loop of building new initiatives (projects, products, whatever), testing ideas and measuring results, and learning how to improve each time around. Here are five leaders who exemplify this idea.
As an entrepreneur, one of the earliest lessons I’ve learned is that big wins are the collection of many small steps. Many people have asked me how, as a solo founder, I managed to build a company with a customer base of 70+.
I wish I had a glamorous answer, but I don’t. The truth is that my company is the outcome of five years of 13-16 hour days and many, many dead-ends, and a whole lot of hustle. My secret is that I’ve positioned each and every day as a baby step forward—an attitude that is even more critical now, since I’m working with my technical co-founder (and husband) to continue our core consulting and content creation business and bootstrap a series of products.
We stay sane by focusing on the small wins. Here are the tips that have helped us: Continue reading →
I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was 11-years-old, but I never thought that I could make a comfortable income doing it. Throughout college, graduate school, and my first few years at work, I did everything that I could to escape my talent—I completed a statistics-based masters program, designed analytics frameworks for a digital marketing team, and landed in a strategic partnerships role.
All the while, I spent my evenings moonlighting on Craigslist, looking for writing gigs to support my full-time income and pay off my six-figure undergrad debt. Eventually, this extra, fun income overtook my $85,000 full-time job, and I had no choice but to quit my full-time job to pursue my childhood dream.
My writing business now generates six-figures of revenue per year, and I could not be happier. As a professional storyteller, I apply my skills in data and storytelling to help companies, VC firms, and higher ed institutions build stronger relationships with their audiences. Here are the steps that led me to where I am now.
Never in my life would I have considered myself a data storyteller. While I had always been good at math — taking multiple levels of calculus throughout my years of high school, college, and grad schools — numbers didn’t really interest me. I was more interested in disciplines I felt were “solving real problems,” like sociology and government. Eventually, I majored in English because I enjoyed the challenge of interpreting and communicating complex ideas. Plus, someone once told me, “Girls can’t be good at math.”
As an entrepreneur, one of the most important investments I make is in my own learning. Having spent a year running a content marketing consultancy, I’ve learned more than I ever would have imagined about my clients’ pain points, the legalities of growing a new venture, and even accounting.
Across all of these disciplines, I’ve noticed the following the trend — that with the proliferation of data and the pace at which information moves, information is becoming increasingly more difficult to communicate.
For years, I thought that learning to code would give me a competitive edge as a founder. I’ve been self-teaching principles of data science and programming for years, to the extent that I can confidently work with developers. When my CTO Justin joined my team as co-founder, however, I came to a touch realization: I was wasting both of our time by figuring out how to become an “expert programmer.”
The best way to increase my value as an entrepreneur would be to learn design.
It’s a great time to be a marketer. That’s because the tech industry is undergoing a major paradigm shift, in which data has become a top priority. Marketers have assumed responsibility for connecting their companies’ core business arms — sales, product, engineering, IT, and analytics. Marketers are no longer limited to support and brand-building functions. Instead, they’re implementing programs to drive revenue.
As a marketer, you’re in an unparalleled position to drive significant value to your organization. Not to mention, the solutions that you introduce are likely to be completely out of the box. As the business ecosystem becomes increasingly data-driven, there is significant opportunity to introduce new, creative solutions. In other words, it’s up to you to define your own career trajectory — and roadmap for getting promoted.