Data Mindfulness, Defined

Photo: David Schwarzenberg

This is the first installment of a 12-part series with Equal To, dissecting Data Mindfulness for today’s entrepreneurs.

As entrepreneurs, every day is a hustle. We’re moving, thinking, creating, and planning. We’re learning, trying, failing, and relearning.

If that resonates with you, I’m sure the concept of burnout does too. The slope from hustle to burnout is a slippery one. Thankfully, there are plenty of resources available that help us learn how to avoid burnout. For me, the most effective method is practicing mindfulness. Taking moments to breathe, be aware, and consider where we are. Being intentional in our actions. Finding balance in moments. This practice allows us to ground ourselves and focus, which is increasingly important in the daily hustle we find ourselves in.

The journey of Equal To has been an intensive and exhilarating experience. In the last six months, I’ve been more mindful than ever before, purely as a means to staying grounded and sharp. There was an especially exhausting span of time in the summer when burnout felt inevitable, but there was a specific moment when  the words  “data” and “mindfulness” crossed my mind concurrently. Which brings us to the intent of this series.

Data Mindfulness is essential to our mission, and it’s a notion our team has continued to develop and refine. What excites me the most is the fact that there aren’t any existing definitions or articles about Data Mindfulness – which means we get to define it. But first, let me tell you about who we are and what we’re doing.

Equal To was the brainchild of our emotional exhaustion. Nearly every day, we read another headline about the tech-bro culture, about the polarizing political environment, about the overlooking of sexual assault. We were frustrated with the lack of progress, especially with these issues so close to our hearts. There came a moment when we made the conscious decision to shift our focus from dwelling on frustration to defining how we could contribute to making change. Weeks later, Equal To was born out of the realization that our most valuable offering is our data expertise.

We set out to prove our theory that helping startups and nonprofits integrate data into their organization can be pivotal in their decision-making process. And it worked. From there, we refined our mission: educate and empower today’s entrepreneurs on the importance of building and cultivating data-driven cultures.

… that was a lot of buzzwords. Let’s break this down.

Educate and Empower

Data can be an intimidating concept, despite the fact that we use it in our everyday decision-making. Calculating a tip based on service and total cost, buying shoes based on how often you’ll wear them, brewing coffee rather than buying Starbucks to save money. When you fully understand  what data means, you to start making decisions based on data, and build it into your processes.

Data is a secret weapon in business, when you know what it is and how to use it.

Today’s Entrepreneurs

There’s something in the air right now. Everyday, I’m so inspired by the voices and organizations rising up to address  issues in our world. Companies like TONL, Andela and Ellevest are ones that I’ve been obsessing about recently. They perfectly encapsulate what it means for diverse minds to come together in pursuit of their passions and positive change.

These are the people we want to work with. We want to help them build data-driven foundations to empower them to change the world, in  whatever way they’re pursuing.

Data-Driven Cultures

Perhaps the biggest buzzword of all, but what does it even mean? Building a company that utilizes data in daily and strategic operations, creating and tracking key performance indicators (KPIs), defining goals based on historical performance and numbers. Data should drive all business decisions.

The best part is that it’s not hard to build, especially for young organizations. It’s a matter of leveraging the tools and services that help you derive insights and make decisions. And doing that over and over again.

This, in short, is data mindfulness.

Data Mindfulness: noun: The practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of factual information, quantitative or qualitative, in your decision-making process.

Kate MacDermott

Kate MacDermott is the co-founder of Equal To. She's a Mainer at heart, but moved to New Orleans to study Business and Philosophy at Tulane University. In the last few years, she has pursued and developed her passions in data, tech, travel, and mindfulness. Follow along with her on Twitter and Medium.

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