In the world of data, it is essential to ensure your information is accurate, first and foremost. “If you don't trust the data, you're never going to truly rely on it to help you make decisions,” Vikram says. It’s an idea that extends far beyond the data world: No matter what project you take on, take care to confirm all the facts, so any foundation you’re building on is solid and you can establish trust from the start.
Vikram admits that data can be difficult to translate for people who aren’t engineers or analysts. But he still must make sure he gets his message across to a wide range of audiences. Being able to relate to diverse groups of people is an essential communication skill anyone should hone. “Storytelling is the most human way to build connections between different worlds,” he says. In the name of translating complex ideas, he’s used Shakespeare to illustrate programmatic advertising and acted out a scene from Julius Caesar to humanize data. The goal is to find a narrative that brings your point to life.
Reporting on the status quo is only half of your story. Vikram says one of the most crucial skills he’s developed is to have a “future-thinking mindset.” That means considering the implications of the information he uncovers and how it can be used in meaningful ways. “We have to keep thinking what is next and what sits after that.” It’s essential to think about potential ways to use available information, and to make suggestions about moving forward with your findings.
“When working with data, I am like a sculptor,” Vikram explains. “I take blocks of information and carve them into understandable and useful insights for the company.” Any time you can find a way to take a complex concept and convey it in clear, simple terms, you can make your point that much more compelling.
Science fiction is a source of inspiration for Vikram because so many of the ideas once dreamed up in futuristic worlds have now come to be. “Science fiction opens you up to a set of thinking of what you could accomplish without any parameters,” he says. Approaching your work can become much more productive if “you don’t put a lot of blockers on your thinking,” Vikram suggests. “That leads to so many more opportunities.”