[00:00:08] Lauren Burke: Welcome to Women in Analytics After Hours, the podcast where we hang out and learn with the WIA community. Each episode we sit down with women in the data and analytics space to talk about what they do, how they got there, where they found analytics along the way and more. I'm your host, Lauren Burke, and I'd like to thank you for joining us.
Thank you so much, Mimi. So this is actually a live recording of the Women in Analytics After Hours podcast, which is the podcast where we hang out and learn with the WA community. So we are coming to you live from the stage of the 2023 DataConnect conference, and I am very excited about our guest today.
Kate Strachnyi, is the founder of DATAcated and DATAcated Circle. She is the host of the DATAcated On Air podcast. She is the author of Colorwise, which was recently published by O'Reilly, and it talks about the intentional use of color in data visualization. She has over 167, 000 followers on LinkedIn, and she was named a LinkedIn top voice in data science and analytics in two separate years.
So thank you for joining me, Kate. I am so excited to have you with us.
[00:01:21] Kate Strachnyi: I'm excited to be here. Thank you so much, Lauren.
[00:01:23] Lauren Burke: Absolutely. And so, one thing I always ask on the podcast, um, usually at the end, but I want to start out with it today, is what is a resource that has helped you in your career that you feel like would help others listening?
[00:01:37] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah, I think the resource that comes to mind immediately is LinkedIn, which, for those who are not familiar with it, is a professional network. Actually, by a show of hands, let me know if you're not on LinkedIn. I would be surprised to see. Oh, I see two, two, two, three hands up. So yes, it's a social media platform.
It's very professional, and I would say that's the resource that's helped me the most across my entire career. You know, I graduated college in 2009, and I think I got LinkedIn in 2008. So that's been my favorite platform from a social media perspective, but it's also brought me so many opportunities to showcase what I know, connect with people and really just show a whole portfolio of who I am, put my personal brand out there in the public.
[00:02:25] Lauren Burke: That's awesome. I love LinkedIn. I think everyone should be on LinkedIn, even if you aren't as active. It's such a tremendous resource. And that's actually what we're talking about today is personal branding. So I want to start off by just asking you what is a personal brand and who needs one?
[00:02:40] Kate Strachnyi: Okay, I'll answer this second question first. I think everyone needs a personal brand. And the way I define a personal brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room. So let's take Cassie Kozyrkov, for example, if if I were to ask someone, Hey, have you heard of Cassie? Chances are they'll say something like, Oh, yeah, she talks about machine learning, or she's a Chief Decision Scientist or Google or great keynote speaker, right?
All those thoughts come to mind. And essentially, that would be her personal brand. That's how she's perceived. And a lot of times we could build our own personal brand intentionally, and other times our brand is built for us by the actions we take, the content we post, the conversations we have, or the conversations we take part in, and that all encompasses your personal brand.
[00:03:28] Lauren Burke: That's a great description of it. I do want to say that personal brand, though, it's not just for really big names like Cassie Kozyrkov, right? We can all benefit from having one.
[00:03:37] Kate Strachnyi: Yes, absolutely. And it doesn't have to be as public, right? Sometimes you can build a personal brand internally within an organization.
I'll give you an example. When when I was working in consulting, I was really good at creating slides. Um, that's such a consulting thing to do, right? We think in decks, we create decks for everything. And I became really good at it because I joined as a consultant. You're expected to do all the the slides work and I became really efficient.
So all the slide work was like, Oh, Kate can do it. She knows how to do it. So I ended up having this personal brand that I did not want to create for myself, but it sort of happened. Um, within within that organization, I became that go to person. But over time, you are able to change your personal brand if that's something that you wanted to do.
So it was probably 2014 when I decided I wanted to get into data. And so I started having more conversations about data. I started doing some internal training sessions within that company of, you know, how to use Tableau or visual best practices. And that sort of helped transition my brand. Okay, Kate doesn't only do slides, now she does data.
And so you can take actions to change that as well.
[00:04:46] Lauren Burke: That's awesome. And you mentioned something that I want to touch on, too, which is a personal brand could just be that you're known as the go to person for something. So it's not even really every aspect about you. It's just one thing that you are either known for or you're associated with because you are an expert in that in that context.
[00:05:05] Kate Strachnyi: Yes, and it could also be coupled with personal. There's a personal in the personal brand perspective. So those who either follow me on LinkedIn or other social media platforms are those who just know me. They know I also like running and hiking and I have kids and I like reading and sunsets and sunrises. And I sort of throw that in there so people can relate to you on a more personal level, and I think that also helps you build that personal brand, because it's just more. It's more fun to talk to people.
[00:05:31] Lauren Burke: Right.
[00:05:32] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah.
[00:05:32] Lauren Burke: And I love that you mentioned that too, because it is a personal brand. It's it's you as a person. It's not one specific aspect. It's every part of you. And I remember one of the first things I learned about you after I started following you on LinkedIn was that you run ultra marathons, and I thought that was so cool.
And I also thought how being on LinkedIn, you don't typically see things like that. I typically don't learn things like that about people I'm following. Um, and so that kind of made you stand out in my mind as someone that, uh, when you popped up again, I automatically remembered that about you and kind of following that remembered other things about you as well.
[00:06:09] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah, you know, I'll share a quick story about the whole running thing. So I talk about running just because I enjoy running and I feel like sharing a bit of your personal side is acceptable on a professional platform. What ended up happening was it attracted a very interesting opportunity where TCS, the Tata Consultancy Group, actually contacted me to sponsor me to run the New York City Marathon.
They're like, you talk about data, you talk about running. We'll pay you to run the marathon and talk about it. And I'm like, okay, like it was a dream come true. It all happened because I talk about these things on social media.
[00:06:42] Lauren Burke: That is so cool. That's such a fun story. And I want to ask about the beginning of this personal branding journey, too. So when did you start beginning to think about intentionally curating it? How did you get into it? How did you start to recognize that you were building one?
[00:06:57] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah, it actually started by accident. So, like I mentioned, I got LinkedIn in 2008. I barely touched it. I think most people use LinkedIn as a place to hold their resume, right?
It's still sort of known as the online resume platform, and I think it was about 2014 when I was going through my own transition. I had my first child and I wanted to work from home. That was really the kicker and the the role that was offered to me was a data analytics inside strategy manager or some sort.
So I'm like, OK, I really need to get good at this data thing. And I started using Tableau and I posted a couple times on LinkedIn like, Hey, I'm taking this table certification or I'm learning data visualization and a few people started engaging with me. I'm like, Wow, this is nice. They're like, Good luck, Kate.
I'm like, Okay, people were nice on LinkedIn. You know, I was I was really pleasantly surprised with that engagement, and I think that's sort of what brought me back, and I continue to share my my journey to document my story. And that sort of snowballed. I think it came at a very opportune time where LinkedIn was transitioning into this content platform, where in addition to just resumes, people started sharing videos, polls, images, and most people who don't use LinkedIn, they're like, what, you, you post on LinkedIn?
Like, that's so awkward for them. They're like, but slowly, but surely, I started posting more and more, and I built connections. And what happened was in 2018, was in 2018, LinkedIn contacted me and they're like, Hey, Kate, we think you post great content. So we're nominating you for like this top 10, uh, Top Voice Data Science and Analytics.
And I'm like, well, I don't really know data science and or analytics. I've been in this field for four years. I didn't think I had that much new information to add, but what happened was I had a unique perspective in this space and I, I had a voice. Online and that's that's sort of what catapulted my brand into becoming more of a an intentional brand where after that designation I'm like, okay, maybe I should take this more seriously and think about the content.
I'm posting I still don't think that much about the content. I'm posting. It's whatever comes to mind I'm like, okay, this would be good for my audience or I just want to document and share. So that's been my my story.
[00:09:06] Lauren Burke: I love what you just said about, and I think you said it kind of as a joke, but you don't think about the things you post, but I feel like more people should do that, right?
Because if it means you're posting more things, you're sharing more things, you're getting your voice out there, or you're getting the voice of others you support out there, you don't need to be really thinking about it because you are building that brand even very small steps at a time.
[00:09:29] Kate Strachnyi: Yes. Yes. It's usually the first one or two posts that's the hardest. And people think, Oh, my God, is people are going to see this? And they have this fear that someone's going to see their content, which is actually the purpose of posting your content. I think it's human nature to be afraid of this. But your your next post and the one after that, you'll notice that it not only is it not scary, but most of the times people are very they're warm, they're friendly, and they're actually willing to help in whatever journey you're on.
[00:09:59] Lauren Burke: Yeah, I feel like most people aren't paying as much attention to your posts as you are paying attention to them. So you probably put a lot more thought and effort and worry into it than anyone that's going to see it as they're scrolling by. But that one out of every 10 people who sees it and benefits from that content, maybe think about how it's for them instead.
Because as long as you're helping people, it feels like it's worth it, even if it feels uncomfortable at first to get started.
[00:10:27] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah, you know, I'll share a very brief story here. So just yesterday, I was having a conversation with someone who was thinking of starting to post content. So I asked her, Why haven't you posted?
And she said, Well, what if my colleagues see it? What if my friends see it? And I'm like, Okay, what would you post? Right? So it would be a technical, um, let's say data Data piece of data content. And this is a very intelligent, brilliant individual that I wouldn't say even has imposter syndrome, but is all it.
I guess it's this fear of somebody seeing that content. And I'm like, OK, so what will happen? Who will see it? We picked a specific individual on the team. It's like, OK, well, she will see it. I'm like, OK, then what's going to happen then? She's like, she'll probably scroll past it. Or read it and then keep scrolling.
And then what happens? Right? Nothing. Nothing happens. But like you just mentioned, it might actually help someone who was either trying to solve that problem or is facing a similar obstacle or just wants some inspiration or just wants to hear about your journey.
[00:11:24] Lauren Burke: Right. And I think that's the more important thing to focus on rather than all of the scary what ifs and maybe start thinking about the what could and the positive what coulds. But thinking about that, getting started and starting to grow your personal brand other than LinkedIn, where and how can people get started?
[00:11:44] Kate Strachnyi: So other than LinkedIn, I mean, there are other social media platforms available if folks are comfortable on social media. So there's Instagram. I'm not great with Instagram.
It's just a lot of photos. I can't keep up. There is Twitter. There's Threads, which is a new platform. And one of my actual favorite platforms is YouTube. Um, so most people think I started on LinkedIn and it is still my favorite platform, but I actually started on YouTube when I was Posting on LinkedIn. I actually at the same time.
I started a video podcast called Humans of Data Science. So I had this fear that I don't have anything new to add. So I decided I'm going to interview people They all have fun stories and I interviewed like 10 minute clips of from the CEO to an intern You know across across the world somewhere and just ask them.
Hey, how did you become a data scientist? And why it was mostly because I wanted to learn But in addition to me learning, I decided that what if I share this with others who also want to hear that perspective, who are also in a similar journey. So I'd say YouTube is another great platform. But even in person, right, at your job, that's, if you have, if you have a job right now, that's a great place for you to build your personal brand.
Just talking to more people or getting in front of, a group of individuals or even just having lunch with different types of people and telling them what it is you do or what it is you would like to do, especially if you're trying to move away from your existing personal brand into something what you want to be known for.
Just continuing to have those conversations as many times as possible.
[00:13:14] Lauren Burke: That's awesome. And I love that you mentioned that podcasting is such a good way to learn new things from people because I absolutely feel like that's true. I think we were talking about that earlier because every time I talk to someone on the podcast, I come away with some new fact or interesting thing, a new technique that I then go and I usually tell someone or I take back to work with me and I always am gaining something valuable, meeting someone interesting and learning new things, and creating content through that, but not really even intentionally trying to create content that is my own or about me.
[00:13:49] Kate Strachnyi: Yep, you're highlighting other people's journeys.
[00:13:51] Lauren Burke: Exactly.
[00:13:52] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah.
[00:13:53] Lauren Burke: And you can actually do that as well, right? With some of the content you're sharing, it doesn't always have to be your content. You could be sharing other people's content as well.
[00:14:00] Kate Strachnyi: Oh, absolutely. Yes. And for those who are nervous to sort of get started and create.
I think that's probably the scariest on people's list of putting a camera in front of their face and saying what they really think and posting that. I do think that's one of the highest fears. Um, maybe right after public speaking in front of real people because you could delete the video, right? Um, I think starting small is probably a good idea where you can find content that is relevant to the brand you're trying to build and just comment on it.
Just give your two cents, um, a couple times a day, and I think that sort of warms you up into this engaging with the community where you're not just coming out cold with content. People already start to recognize you. Um, that's that's another tip. If there's somebody you're trying to get in touch with, and maybe you're not hearing back from them, or they're just not responding to your LinkedIn in mail, or your email. Engage with their last ten pieces of content on whatever platform they typically post on, and they're gonna start to recognize you. Like, oh, I've seen Lauren's name, like, ten times today. Don't be weird about it, right?
Don't just, like, spam people. I think be strategic and make sure it's a thoughtful comment, but I think it's a great way to get attention from somebody that you're trying to get attention from.
[00:15:12] Lauren Burke: That's such a good point, too. Because even if you're sharing something, maybe you're you're typically sharing things about the newest ways to use ChatGPT at your job.
So then you kind of by default become that person. Your brand becomes someone to go to go to their LinkedIn and see what's new about ChatGPT and then that's not even really like a big worrisome issue for you trying to create that content. You're just able to find something and share it out.
[00:15:38] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah, I think it helps if we also define content as a very broad item.
It doesn't have to be this original thought that no one's had before. A piece of content could literally be someone taking a selfie here right now, like Sadie just did in the audience. She can post that. She can use the hashtag #dataconnect2023. Maybe think of something that came out of this conversation that might be useful for others and say, hey, you know, I just heard this from Kate and Lauren and I agree or disagree, whatever that might be, that's your piece of content.
It really doesn't have to be that complicated.
[00:16:15] Lauren Burke: Yeah, I think content especially it's such a broad term now that it feels like it's almost easier to get into sharing it because there's so many options out there and if one form intimidates you or feels like too complex, so you're just not ready to get into that piece There's probably something else.
That is that first stepping stone that you can take along the way.
[00:16:38] Kate Strachnyi: Yes, you don't have to go with the scariest, most complicated approach. So even a poll on LinkedIn, like, do you like Tableau or Power BI? Or, you know, did you attend DataConnect live or, um, you know, virtually? And that already is a piece of content. So it doesn't have to be drastic.
It could be an article. It could be a poll, an image, a video, so many ways to create content.
[00:17:01] Lauren Burke: That's awesome. And so what are some of the platforms or tools or things you found that help you when you're creating content?
[00:17:08] Kate Strachnyi: So for me, personally, I use Canva quite heavily for all of my design. Um, it's, it's sort of like PowerPoint on steroids is how I describe it to other people.
If you've never used it, I highly recommend it for all your data visualization. I even create my slides in there now. Back to my slide, um, uh, stories. But it's it's one of the easiest platforms to use for for creating visuals. I create a lot of visuals for linked in for my clients and for other social media platforms.
You can even do videos on there now, and there's a lot of great just images and backgrounds that you can use. And in addition to that, I'd say StreamYard would be my other, uh, very go to tool, and that's what I use for live streaming. So, I typically have, uh, every, every Tuesday at 11 a. m. Eastern, I have the DATAcated Show, which live streams on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, Twitch, and Facebook.
And it just makes it so easy. To put the speakers on. It's just very user friendly. And any guests I had, they're like, this is awesome. Like, yeah, I should sell StreamYard. Like, it's that good.
[00:18:13] Lauren Burke: They should give you an affiliate code.
[00:18:14] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah, they really should.
[00:18:16] Lauren Burke: That's great too. Livestreams seem like such a great way to connect with people, especially because it allows for so much interaction.
It allows people to kind of get to see you in your element. Ask questions, and especially if you have people that you're trying to connect with in different areas, they usually can access it in a way that isn't too difficult or they have to arrange their schedule around.
[00:18:40] Kate Strachnyi: Yes. And the other benefit is you don't have to be perfect on a live stream.
So if we were to make a video, a 10 minute video would probably take us an hour if we knew we could edit it and we'd keep editing. Oh, no, I said that wrong. Oh, okay. No, no, no, no. I wanted to ask the question this way. Or you'd even have a script right for live shows. I generally just go with the flow. I have some questions prepared, but a lot of the questions that come in from the live audience and we take it as it comes and it becomes this casual fun experience where we barely have to prepare cuz it's just a fun conversation.
[00:19:13] Lauren Burke: And a lot of people, I feel like a lot of what people want is the authentic content. And so live streams really allow you to get that. And I think especially in a post pandemic world, people are more interested in that than something that is really structured, edited, and really we want to know what people are thinking, what they're interested in.
And that's part of the personal brand too the authenticity part.
[00:19:36] Kate Strachnyi: Oh, yeah. People don't want robots. I mean, no offense, ChatGPT, but we want real conversations. I think we want real people and we're drawn to it, even if you know you make mistakes on a live show or your kids barge in, which has happened or the fire alarm goes off, which has happened or anything can happen.
And people sort of roll with it. And I think they appreciate it even more. They're like, Oh, my God, she's powering through. She's gonna keep going. So it takes the pressure off for sure.
[00:20:03] Lauren Burke: And maybe it becomes viral and then your personal brand becomes a lot easier to establish because everyone already knows about you.
[00:20:09] Kate Strachnyi: I think I think you're thinking of the kids barging in video for that guy who was trying to look professional. Yes.
[00:20:15] Lauren Burke: I'm definitely thinking of that exact one, but that kind of relates to what I want to talk about next, which is challenges. So I'd love to hear about some of the challenges that you've encountered and some of the tips you might have to work around them.
[00:20:28] Kate Strachnyi: I think the biggest challenge in in building that personal brand, especially publicly, is probably fear. And I think most people here who have not posted anything on social media, you might say, Oh, I'm just a private person, which could be very true. But I think there's no harm in sharing some professional perspectives.
Um, you don't have to share photos of your children or you on vacation. I think sharing your thoughts on the latest trends and data governance, like how private can you be about that? Like I mean unless you really have to be private about it or you're have company restrictions um, I think you you can post about different topics and Really just, just sort of go with what you're really knowledgeable about.
Um, so getting over that fear for me, it came, it came really quick because I was supposed to do a podcast. It was, it was literally this guy who just graduated college and he's like, Hey, Kate, I want to interview you. And I'm like, well, I'm just getting into this space. What do I know? And I almost canceled like 10 minutes before.
It was a pre recorded podcast. I'm like, okay, he's just going to get over it. I think I was like his third guest. And that was my, my biggest challenge is like, what do I have to add to this conversation? Who am I? I'm like a junior person, but I ended up doing the podcast. I talked myself into it. I'm like what's the worst that can happen?.
So I'm glad I did because after that, everything just became so much easier. It's sort of like jumping into a pool of water for the first time. And then the second time you're like, well, I've done this and you know, I didn't die. So it was fine with life kept going. And I think that would be the biggest challenge for folks to get over is that.
The fear of doing it the first time and keep in mind that people are generally very friendly and they don't care about you as much as you think they do. They care mostly about themselves. The other challenge that would come to mind is people don't know what to post. Okay, well, what do I say? What do I say? Right? Especially those first couple of posts.
There's so many So many things that I want to post that I literally don't have enough airtime on LinkedIn, because if you post too much, they just won't show it to people anymore. So I definitely have the opposite problem, but a lot of times people are not sure what to post.
And I say a great exercise for this is to take a piece of paper, write down your name and then write down like the 10 things that you want people to think of you. Um, when they think of you. So sort of getting around to your personal brand. It doesn't have to be this really crisp statement, but I think those 10 phrases or 10 words can really help you.
Um, and then just pick one of those that excites you the most and ask yourself a question. Like what are people thinking when they think about this term? What questions that they have? Like if the question if the brand you're looking after is data visualization expert. Well, what questions will people have around data visualization?
Okay, it can lead you to post about when to use a bar chart versus a pie chart or you know, it could sort of lead you into these topics And then you as you mentioned go with what you're comfortable with you can make a video about that topic You can write a short post you can write an article you can write a book You can you know take it in as far as you want to but that's sort of the way I'd go around those two challenges.
[00:23:45] Lauren Burke: I love that exercise too. It seems like it's such a great way to just get started. And like you said, that is the, it's the first big step, the jumping into the pool of water. And I think a lot of it is, you don't know what to expect before you do it. So your mind just runs wild with all of the things that could happen. But the second time, you know what's going to happen and you know what all the worst case, all the best case scenarios are so it really reduces the worries, but that getting started once you get past that, it really opens up opportunities and how comfortable you feel doing more and more one step at a time.
[00:24:21] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah, I think I'll just add to that exercise. If you run out of things or if you get the 10 things, but you still want to continue with this exercise is asking maybe five other people hey, what do you think about when you think of me? You can even that could be your post. That could be your first LinkedIn post. Write down, comment below what comes to mind when you see my name, right? And then see what other people perceive to be your personal brand and sort of maybe check with that first exercise.
Does it match up or is it way off? And if it's way off, then you'll have to take steps to get closer to that personal brand that you envision yourself having.
[00:24:55] Lauren Burke: That's a great idea, too, because you hopefully get unbiased or slightly biased feedback, but you're getting feedback that you likely aren't thinking about or seeing from the inside.
[00:25:04] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah. Absolutely.
[00:25:06] Lauren Burke: I've seen a lot of people do something similar too where, and generally it's people with a larger personal brand, with larger following, but asking what kind of content their followers want to see from them. And I feel like that's a great way to understand what people see you as an expert in and what they feel like you have not shared that you could share that they can learn from.
[00:25:27] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah, exactly. And gives you ideas for content. That's why a lot of us do that. Hey, what do you want to hear from me? Or let's do a Q&A. Ask me anything. That's sort of when we're running out of things to say. And you're like, we also want to know what's top of mind for the audience, right? What do people actually care about when it comes to this topic? And that gives you a lot of ideas.
[00:25:46] Lauren Burke: Yeah, I feel like crowdsourcing pretty much anything is a great way to just feel out like the temperature of something, what people are actually interested in, because you could try and make a list of what you think people are interested in, but 9 times out of 10, you're going to miss something, or you're going to overlook something, or someone's going to want to add something. But if you didn't ask, you're not going to know to add it.
[00:26:07] Kate Strachnyi: I crowdsource for almost everything. Any business idea I have if I want to expand the business or create a new product or or write a book, I actually ask my audience, like, hey, vote on the title for the book, and we'll use an actual poll. And, interestingly, the title for the book that we're going to talk about later was voted the highest in my audience.
So they actually chose the title of the book, and I guess taking them on the journey helps build that personal connection as well. Because they're like, oh, we're a part of this now. So it's fun.
[00:26:38] Lauren Burke: That's so awesome. I didn't know that. But that's so cool. But speaking of kind of the opportunities that can come out of a personal brand, it definitely building a strong personal brand definitely makes it easier for people to find you. Opportunities to come to you.
So are there any opportunities that have come to you that you've noticed since you've been working on this?
[00:26:58] Kate Strachnyi: How much time do we have? There have been so many great opportunities that have come my way simply because I post on LinkedIn or other social media platforms and I think you know from speaking gigs to training opportunities to lots of job offers and advisory offers and Just fun offers like running a marathon and getting getting sponsored for that.
I think all of those have come to me because Of the personal brand, I actually had someone tell me specifically, like, Hey, we, um, we wanted you to be a part of this because you post so much about this content, or I was brought in for a job interview. They're like, You're obviously super passionate about this topic, or it was data visualization.
You talk about this all the time. I'm like, yeah, exactly, because I am passionate about it. But it comes through very obviously, when you continue to talk about it, you sort of become this magnet for all the best opportunities out there.
[00:27:52] Lauren Burke: That's awesome. And so speaking of data visualization, you recently released a book called ColorWise. I actually have it here. It talks about the intentional use of color in data storytelling and design. So I'm interested in how you got so interested in color theory and how you found out that there was a need for it in the data community.
[00:28:14] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah, so fun story. When I was starting my data visualization journey, this is almost 10 years ago.
I was I was working for a company and they gave me a task to develop a sort of a scatter plot with an image in the background. That was supposed to display for personality types. So, you know, a new hire would take this personality assessment, like a 20 question assessment, and it would tell them like your your A, B, C or D, right? There's four personality types.
And they use that for building teams for going, you know, working for a client. And they asked me to create in Tableau, a data visualization that will help collect the results and automatically create this visualization. So I was very new to the platform at that time. Um, it was not as easy to create a scatter plot with the background image.
I'm sure it's much easier now, 10 years later. But anyways, I spent a lot of time on forums trying to do this. And in the firm, those four personality types had four specific colors so. Personality A would be orange, B would be blue, and so on. And when I created the visualization, I used those four colors, because I assumed that made sense, logically, at least to me.
But as a junior employee, I had to have this vetted by my manager, and he was like, No, we need to use brand colors. Don't use those four colors. Like, well, you know, he's been here a lot longer. He's the boss. I'm gonna do what he says. I changed the colors. It took, you know, half a second to click, choose the brand color.
And we present this to leadership, and they're like, Oh, this looks so great. It works well. But can we change the colors? I'm like, Oh, wow. If only I thought of that. So they wanted those four colors. And the reason was they also knew that when people see that color, they'll think of that personality type.
And it's this small little feature that just makes it easier for folks to understand the data visualization. So now, fast forward, I, you know, I'm talking to my husband a few years later, he was getting into data visualization as well. And he was playing around with Power BI, just sort of creating random dashboards just to get a hang of dashboards.
And he was using sample data from Burger King. And he used the colors like purple and green. Or something weird like that. And I'm like, wait, why would you use purple? For, like, he actually had the burger in purple. Like, it means nothing. You could use Burger King colors. Like, in that case, it would make sense.
And he's like, oh, no, no, no. Colors don't matter. I'm like, oh, they do. And I've gone on to prove them wrong because I wrote a whole book on this. So I was so passionate. I started giving talks, um, on visual best practices in general. So I usually talk about choosing the right chart, reducing clutter. And then lastly, I always talk about the intentional use of color.
And I was so passionate about sharing that specific message because, because of my husband, because he was like, no, no one cares. I'm like, no, no, you've motivated me. People will care. So that, that's when I decided I wanted to write a whole book on the topic.
[00:31:12] Lauren Burke: That's awesome. And I do have to say, I have never seen a purple burger. Maybe on Spongebob, but.
[00:31:17] Kate Strachnyi: There's a pink sauce now for the whole Barbie promotion. Oh, they have a burger. It looks gross.
[00:31:23] Lauren Burke: So they should have thought about the color of that maybe more intentionally.
[00:31:25] Kate Strachnyi: I know.
[00:31:27] Lauren Burke: So that's a great point. Uh, it really comes down to something that you talk a lot about in the book, but not just about color but why it matters. Why color has meaning, why certain colors should be used for things and how the audience that you're speaking to should affect your choices.
[00:31:44] Kate Strachnyi: Yes, absolutely. Color theory, color psychology, the way people think about things when they see a specific color without even noticing it. Um, it's, it's sort of in your subconscious where you, you can get triggered kind of where with a bright yellow for a sale, it kind of makes you want to spend money or, uh, a red in, It's some countries could mean like this is an emergency or alert. Something bad is happening.
Whereas in other countries, it might be something good is happening. So you really have to know your audience and the impact that you want to have with your data visualization or with anything, really. With any presentations or outfits. It's very broad.
[00:32:24] Lauren Burke: That kind of, yeah, that comes back to something that we've heard a lot about in talks today, and I'm sure we'll hear in, um, the future coming talks for the conference, but asking the why's.
So why do you when you're creating this project, this product, why are you creating it? Who are you creating it for? And what do they need? Those users and that color should affect that. What do they need to feel? What do they need to think? What do they need to want to do based on what you're showing them?
[00:32:51] Kate Strachnyi:
And then also thinking about accessibility, right? Will your presentation or chart or graphic be viewed in color? Sometimes it's printed. Yes, people still print, I'm sure. Sometimes the graphics on a PowerPoint might come off differently than you expected. Let's say this big room, uh, it might be, it might look different.
So testing that ahead of time. And also thinking about, uh, those with color vision deficiency where they might not see differences between red and green, where, you know, those two colors are used extensively in the stock market and other areas to show maybe profit and loss, um, keeping in mind that, what is it, one out of 12, I think, men can't really see much of a difference between specific shades of red and green, which can really impact that, um, what you're trying to go for with your data visualization.
[00:33:43] Lauren Burke: That's an interesting example, too, because you're kind of riding the line between green and red. We think of those is so traditionally as like stop and go. Yes or no. But then it also directly kind of contradicts that where certain people, so many people actually cannot benefit from that.
They can't see it. And so you're have to think about the two sides of do you need it to align more to what people might be thinking when they see red and green, or do you really need everyone in your audience to be able to see the colors and be able to make some decision? Understand something based on what you're showing them.
[00:34:18] Kate Strachnyi: Yep, that's very true. And the stop and go. I don't know how no one thought of that before, because I mean, all the street lights are green and red, so you can't see the difference. That's kind of tough.
[00:34:28] Lauren Burke: It does seem a little dangerous, which sounds like they should have read your book before.
[00:34:32] Kate Strachnyi: Yes, blue and orange, by the way, is the recommended, um, if you're dealing with color vision deficiency, blue and orange tends to be the best two contrasting colors that you can use.
[00:34:41] Lauren Burke: Interesting. We should take a note of that and start adding that in our visualizations.
[00:34:45] Kate Strachnyi: Yes.
[00:34:46] Lauren Burke: But I do want to shout out with ColorWise, uh, Kate will be doing a book signing. Also with Chip Huyen, they will be signing books at the after party today. So if you're interested in getting your own copy of Colorwise, I highly recommend it. It's a really fun read. Uh, stop by and meet Kate.
[00:35:05] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah, meet Kate. I'll be there.
[00:35:08] Lauren Burke: I hope you will be there. Um, but I want to come back to kind of connecting color theory with personal branding. And so as you were building your personal brand, either intentionally when you were starting or along the way, were you thinking or are you thinking now about how colors play into the content you're sharing, the emails you're sending, the newsletters?
[00:35:32] Kate Strachnyi: Absolutely. I think I've always thought about colors and to me, it sort of came naturally. So when I tell people to be intentional with their color use, I'm always so intentional with my color use that I don't even think about it that much. But I do design a lot of visualizations for my clients, for my social media, sometimes for fun.
And thinking through the types of colors that either pop in your social media feed, something that would be like a scroll stopper where it's like, Oh, look at this neon green. Like, maybe I should pay attention. What's happening there? Um, I definitely think about that a lot. And even when creating my own brand, which before DATAcated, I used to be known as Story by Data.
I don't love that name anymore. I'm fully dedicated now. I couldn't commit to a color, so I actually was trying to go for this Google look of like dark blue and light blue and sort of just having this phase because I couldn't pick a color, but as I evolved in my own understanding of color theory, I realized that maybe having this consistent color is important.
So I did go for this sort of indigo bluish purple for the DATAcated logo, and I used that consistently as much as I can on any of my interview. Promotions just so when people see that they'll also notice like, Okay, this must be related to dedicated. So I've got specific hex value, you know, just to make sure that it's the exact same indigo blue that I'm using in this place and that place.
So people have that understanding of Okay, this is this brand.
[00:36:57] Lauren Burke: And it's so much more easily recognizable to across everything that you're doing. So I know you have multiple dedicated offshoots, but they all are at least connected with color and with the name and with some of the other branding you're putting around them.
[00:37:11] Kate Strachnyi: Yeah, trying to keep it consistent. It's hard because when you are a team of one, which I am, no one is there to tell you like, No, Kate, don't do it. It's off brand. I'm like, Oh, just do it. No experiment. But it's sort of, um, you know, the more consistent you are. Absolutely. The better it is for your personal brand.
[00:37:28] Lauren Burke: That's awesome. And so one part of personal branding and creating your personal brand is Not just online. It's not on LinkedIn. It's also in person. So do you have any tips that our attendees can take away and use to build their personal brand at an in person event like DataConnect?
[00:37:47] Kate Strachnyi: Absolutely. We're here in person. I think you know, for some, this might be your first or second conference back from being home for a couple of years. Maybe it's not. I haven't gone to that many conferences since we were allowed to be back in person. So I think taking the opportunity to actually talk to each other, resist the urge to go back to your room on break or eat lunch by yourself in a corner.
I think approach people that you maybe normally wouldn't because they'll share a different perspective. I think a lot of times we gravitate towards talking to the people we already know. Met at least once. So I think the easiest way to do this is maybe sit next to someone, someone you don't know, and chances are you're, you're just gonna be like, Hey, how's it going? Or after the session, like, Hey, was that great or what, or not, you know, depending on how the session went, uh, or did you agree or disagree? You sort of have something to talk about.
And the fact that you're actually sitting close together, I think it already helps you connect.
And just having these personal conversation. So I think, you know, folks come to an event with this elevator pitch idea where they're going to say, Okay, I'm going to shake hands. I'm going to tell them my name, my title and then like ramble off this one thing that I'm good at.
I don't think it has to be that way. I think being personal and almost every conversation I had here yesterday and today. Has led to something personal like oh, I have this fear or oh, my kids are going through this or you know I I flew in and my flight sucked or something bad happened or something good happened and having these conversations It actually builds a relationship as opposed to like so what's your business card?
Let me let me take a picture of your thing and I'll connect to you connect with you later, which is actually important. So after you've built that personal connection going to a platform like LinkedIn has been very helpful for me where you connect. You could follow each other, but I think connections are even more important.
It's DataConnect conference, right? So make sure you go there. You connect and now you can send personal messages to each other and have those conversations. But you'll also start to see their content in your feed. So like, Oh, I met Lauren last year and I see she's doing this thing now. Like, Oh, okay, that's cool.
And you can, maybe I want to be involved in that or Lauren, how'd you do this? Right? Like I saw you publish the book. How did you get in touch with the publisher? And for me, that's been so helpful to just have the right people in my feed that are just doing cool things, and I think everyone who's here are doing something interesting with their life that you could share that can help other people along that journey.
[00:40:22] Lauren Burke: That's awesome. Those are all such great tips, and that's just such a great note to end on. So thank you so much, Kate, for joining us live on stage. I hope everyone enjoyed hearing our live recording, and I hope everyone listening at home also enjoys some of the tips and tricks that Kate has shared today. So thank you so much.
[00:40:40] Kate Strachnyi: Thank you for having me.