Data Accretes

Data Accretes

One of my very first jobs in the association world was managing the production of a printed directory, a buyer's guide. Within this buyer's guide was a list of over 500 different "categories" of equipment. And each time the directory was updated, the number of categories expanded (members always had some new super-special category that didn't fit anywhere else). Eventually it got so unwieldy we had to take time to cull the list back to a manageable number.

I see the same thing happening with "demographic" data that many of my clients collect about their members. What started as a short list over time becomes a large and unwieldy list of data points that everyone feels obligated to collect but likely very few are actually using.

The reality is, data accretes. The only way to get rid of it is to proactively clean up on a regular basis.

Look at the data you're collecting. Is that data being actively collected and actively used. If the answer to either of these questions is "no" then you've found data you can get rid of.

Data accretes. You have to proactively keep it manageable or it will overwhelm you.

Wes's Wednesday Wisdom Archives

Try flowcharting your processes

October 21, 2020

Try flowcharting your processes Working with a client recently on their membership join process reminded me …

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“I just want a system I don’t have to fight with.”

October 14, 2020

“I just want a system I don’t have to fight with.” I asked my client: …

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Inertia Contributes to Bad Data

October 7, 2020

Inertia Contributes to Bad Data Without knowing anything about your organization or its data, I’d …

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What are you doing with new contacts?

September 30, 2020

What Are You Doing with New Contacts/ I was very interested to read in a …

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Be Aware of Selection Bias

September 23, 2020

Be Aware of Selection Bias I wrote recently about the mistaken perception of older members …

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Some Things Just Take Time

September 16, 2020

Some Things Just Take Time I learned recently that an elephant’s gestation period is 18 …

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Sometimes It’s the Least Bad Choice

September 7, 2020

Sometimes It’s the Least Bad Choice Just like in life, sometimes when we’re making technology …

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Our Members Aren’t Tech Savvy

September 2, 2020

Our Members Aren’t Tech Savvy Having worked now in the association space for more than …

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Motion vs. Action

August 26, 2020

Motion vs. Action One key to successful data management is understanding the difference between motion …

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There is ALWAYS a Trade-off

August 19, 2020

There is ALWAYS a Trade-off I’ve written many times about trade-offs (you can read a …

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