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How an Always-Learning Culture Drives Innovation at Shopify

Ella Hilal, VP of Data Science and Engineering, Shopify shares insights on the biggest mistakes data scientists make,  being an effective data leader, how to create cohesion between teams, and much more. 

Aug 2022
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Key Quotes

Being understood Is more important than being precise when speaking about data initiatives to key internal stakeholders. If you talk to a stakeholder using complex data language with the best intentions, what you’re saying won’t register for them, putting both of you on the losing side of the conversation. But if you simplify it to what really matters, and they are able to act on your discoveries because they understood you, that puts you both on the winning side, instead.

One of the biggest mistakes data scientists make is always trying to be at the cutting edge of technology. They run to the shiniest thing right away, but the shiniest thing isn’t always the most important or practical thing. To be effective and to attain mastery in your craft, you need to understand what exact tool to pull out of your toolbox to solve the problem in the most impactful way. To do this, you need to build a sense of iteration and incremental shipping. As you gain experience, you get better and you can use more sophisticated techniques at will.

Key Takeaways

1

To be effective and to attain mastery in their craft, data teams need to understand what exact tool to pull out of their toolbox to solve the problem in the most impactful way.

2

Being understood Is more important than being precise when speaking about data initiatives to key internal stakeholders.

3

As a data leader, you create space where you empower your team members to learn and grow, even if you believe you can do something faster or better.

About Ella Hilal


Photo of Ella Hilal
Guest
Ella Hilal

Ella Hilal is the VP of Data Science and Engineering for Commercial and Service Lines at Shopify, a global commerce leader that helps businesses of all size grow, market, and manage their retail operations. Recognized as a leading woman in Data science, Internet of things and Machine-to-Machine space by the Connected World forum, Ella has over 15 years of experience spanning multiple countries and is an advocate for responsible innovation, women in tech, and STEM.


Photo of Adel Nehme
Host
Adel Nehme

Adel is a Data Science educator, speaker, and Evangelist at DataCamp where he has released various courses and live training on data analysis, machine learning, and data engineering. He is passionate about spreading data skills and data literacy throughout organizations and the intersection of technology and society. He has an MSc in Data Science and Business Analytics. In his free time, you can find him hanging out with his cat Louis.

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