Tom Wilbur
Tom Wilbur
Product Director
Tom Wilbur is a product director at Indeed. For the last 18 months, he's been helping Indeed double-down on the power of data to illuminate the path toward helping people find jobs. He loves to wrestle complex problems into a tidy representation, but he knows that reality is not easily contained between curly braces. He's deeply committed to making evidence-based decisions, which is why he nearly became divorced picking out towels in Bed Bath & Beyond. Tom believes in living one datum at a time.
Data-driven off a cliff: anti-patterns in evidence-based decision making

Metrics and analytics are crucial for building successful products at scale. They're a powerful weapon. You can hit your target, or you can blow off your own foot. You can accidentally or intentionally misuse them in all sorts of ways, hence the cliche about lies, damned lies, and statistics. In this talk, I'll explore some of the ways you can use data to drive you off the cliff. I'll talk about anti-patterns in evidence-based decision-making. Sometimes it's a lack of math or statistics. Sometimes not understanding your domain or how a data-driven approach should be applied. Sometimes it's not appreciating the limits of what data. And sometimes it's that empiricism is unnatural, inhuman, and inhumane. You can build an exquisitely bad decision on a rock-solid foundation of data, and I'll teach you how. In spite of that, data-driven decision making is not quite completely awful. Fallacies, biases, misconceptions, and over-confidence are the pernicious diseases that lead to many bad decisions, but you can cure them, or at least treat them. It's still possible to make good decisions, like your excellent decision to come to this talk. In spite of all the flaws, there is still good inside the data. I'll talk about why and how Indeed measures despite the pitfalls, and how data-driven experimentation has been a critical factor in our dramatic growth. I'll talk about some of the missteps we've made in using data and what we learned from them. I'll abuse concepts from physics, pomology, and quantum hermeneutics to help you reason about metrics and achieve better results. You'll leave this talk smarter than you came in, and with evidence to prove it*.

Presented with Ketan Gangatirkar