On being a perfectionist – 99% of the time

June 30, 2013 Evan Liang


So, that old cliché about an interviewer asking a job applicant, “What’s your biggest challenge?” and the applicant replying, “Well, sometimes I’m too much of a perfectionist.”?

Around here, we sometimes feel like that applicant.

LeanData is all about clean data, right? And isn’t any dirty data going to mess up the database?

Well, yes and no.

LeanData is all about clean data, but we’re also all about efficiency.

It doesn’t really work (for us or for our customers) if we can get every single lead perfectly formatted and completely filled out, but only by spending two weeks on each lead.

In a 50,000-lead database.

When more leads are pouring in all the time.

LeanData-BlogPostImage1So if the trade-off is a 100% clean database in two weeks or a 99% clean database in twelve hours, we like the second option better.

Recently, a customer asked us to upload revenue data attached to some existing accounts. They had spot-checked their spreadsheet, but once we started the upload process, we noticed that some of the data seemed off. Like, off by a factor of ten.

An in-house spot-check revealed that one source in the spreadsheet listed data in the thousands, while other data was listed as full value.

Obviously, we didn’t want to upload a lot of dirty data, but we also couldn’t spend weeks enriching all the records, especially since that was outside our contract.

After thinking about it, we decided that the accounts most at risk had under $100M in revenue, and there weren’t that many of them. So we had our solution quickly verify all of the applicable accounts, which meant we could find (and fix) all the errors and upload all the data within the original twelve-hour timeframe.

The customer was so impressed that they signed a 12-month contract.

Efficiency: 1 (or, depending on how you want to think of it, 50,000)

Dirty Data: 0

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