In the course of our private beta, I'd estimate that two-thirds of our sign-ups have come from developers and other IT folks. But, when you're kinda, sorta reinventing the query builder for data prep and ETL, why would a developer—a demigod who can pump out a script on demand—care? The short answer: data glue is annoying. For everyone. Even for engineers who can integrate APIs into their PHP or make data prep magic happen with Python, it's often a time-sucking sideshow -- particularly when there's a long to-do list of core development...

Who needs a #drinkwithharry? Over the past few weeks, I tasked myself with listening to all ~32 hours of the SaaStr podcast, in preparation for the SaaStr Annual conference. Each show is an incredibly dense, 20-minute nugget on the business of SaaS. IMHO, it is totally and completely worthwhile to meander through twice-weekly. However. Powering through them all in one go was the equivalent of a Brain Blaster—more like binge-watching Planet Earth than Portlandia. Do as I say, kids, not as I do. So, what did I learn? Well, a ton. Let's try...

In my previous post, I covered some recurring themes from our conversations with different user communities in the data ecosystem, which highlight common facets of data projects. But different user communities also have their own distinct inclinations when it comes to working with data. We’ve had the pleasure of talking with users from a range of communities and learning about their data projects.  Although there’s some overlap, generally, you could categorize these groups as: 1) Enterprise IT professionals, 2) Data journalists, and 3) Full-stack and back-end Web developers. Here are some insights we’ve...

As we’ve progressed through our private beta, one of the most fruitful activities has been talking with folks in different user communities about their data projects. This has had a profound impact on our product vision and roadmap (including a few major pivots). A number of themes have come up again and again, so we thought it would be useful to distill this down to a few of the most significant points. We’ll cover the major themes in this post and then turn to some insights we’ve gained from different user...

Ah, remember the query builder? In the brief history of the data ecosystem, the query builder already seems like a relic of a bygone era. Compared to predictive analytics, machine learning, and all the innovation going on around Big Data, the query builder is hardly a shiny new thing. Basically, you could say it’s an old interface for old data technologies. And yet the query builder has hardly gone away. Considering that there are millions of business users and data analysts using legacy BI systems or (gasp!) Microsoft Access, it’s still one of...

Over the summer, we embarked on a research project to learn more about data journalism and how data journalists work with data. We’ve had the pleasure and privilege to speak with a wide range of veteran data journalists about their work.  These conversations have been insightful and, frankly, inspirational.  We’ve heard about Chicago-based investigations on criminal justice from Matt Kiefer and Jonah Newman, discussed the role of an editor in data projects  with a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter, Manny Garcia, and learned about sites like Joe Germuska’s Census Reporter that help journalists...

During our summer research project, we’ve had the pleasure of interviewing over 15 data journalists about their work so far.  And while we’ve been hearing fascinating stories and learning a lot about how they work with data, we also wanted to put some numbers to these conversations. Enter our Data Journalism Survey. This past month, we surveyed a sample of 27 data journalists, asking them about the data tools and languages they use, their common sources of data, the volume and format of their data, and the kinds of data tasks...

Giannina Segnini is the James Madison Visiting Assistant Professor of Journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and the Director of the Master of Science Data Concentration Program. Prior to her academic career, Giannina worked as the editor of the investigative unit at La Nacion in Costa Rica. She has been involved in dozens of noteworthy investigative projects over the years, from building the offshore leaks database to assisting with shipping and trade data in the Panama Papers. Her work has garnered a long list of accolades...

Chris Groskopf is a reporter on the Things team at Quartz. Previously, he has worked on NPR’s visuals team and the news app team at the Chicago Tribune. Throughout his career as a data journalist, Chris has spent a lot of time building tools for other journalists, from the CSV kit to the PANDA Project to his most recent project, Agate, a data analysis library for Python. When not designing and refining data tools, he writes articles explaining issues from why it’s difficult to rig a US election to how...

Manny Garcia is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter who is now the editor of the Naples Daily News. He previously served as the Executive Editor of El Nuevo Herald, the Spanish-language sister paper of the Miami Herald. In his many years of reporting, he has uncovered absentee ballot fraud in Miami, collaborated with the Toronto Star to expose Canadian pedophiles in Cuba, and covered stories spanning Latin America and the Caribbean. We caught up with Manny over the phone on a busy news day (Mike Pence was announced as Trump’s VP...