What Amazon and Twitch can teach us about Data Governance

4 December 2023
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Every organization embarking on the development of a data governance program has unique motivations. On the other hand, a common objective unites them all. This shared goal revolves around the transformation into a data-driven organization. In a data-driven organization each member of the workforce can find, understand, and trust data in their day-to-day activities.

Similarly, every organization asks itself the same questions and stumbles over the same hurdles when developing a data (governance) strategy:

  • How do I push my employees to make more data driven decisions?
  • We have a data governance tool, but it is not being used. What should I do?
  • We have set-up roles & responsibilities for our data but no one is actively owning them, what now?
  • Why is the data literacy so low in my organization?
  • Our data governance use-cases have all failed, how can we prove the value of data governance?

What if we told you that the key to unlocking data governance success lies in powerful sets of wisdom from industry giants. In this blog post we explore insights from Jeff Bezos, Amazon's visionary leader, and advice from Steve Huffman, co-founder and CEO of Reddit, and Emmett Shear, co-founder, and ex-CEO of Twitch.

You might ask yourself, what do they have to do with data governance?

The answer is quite simple, these companies all aspired to be data-driven. They looked at every single employee as a customer. As a data governance team, you should also treat your employees as such.

Case Amazon - Jeff Bezos and his Customer-Obsessed mentality

Jeff Bezos had a message that reverberates through the corridors of Amazon's success: a non-stop customer obsession. Already in 1999, he outlined four pillars that have been instrumental in Amazon's meteoric rise, with the first being an unwavering dedication to customers. Bezos emphasized the importance of selection, ease of use, providing more information about products, and delivering great customer service.

Imagine translating this ethos into your data governance strategy. Here's how:

  • Ease of Use: Data governance tools should be intuitive and user-friendly, ensuring that even non-technical staff can navigate and utilize them with ease.
  • More Information: Give users a wealth of context and information about the data at their fingertips. Detailed metadata, descriptions, and data lineage can enhance their understanding.
  • Great Customer Service: Your data governance team should provide stellar support, addressing user inquiries promptly, and helping users make the most of the data resources.

This customer-centric approach will transform your data governance programs into a powerhouse of user satisfaction, efficiency, and meaningful insights.

Case Reddit & Twitch - Steve Huffman and Emmett Shear on Product Development


In the realm of their own respective companies, the founders of Reddit and Twitch, Steve Huffman and Emmett Shear, offer crucial insights on how to build a product, consider your data governance tool as product that you are offering to your employees:

  • Collecting Data: They stress the importance of collecting usage data right from the start. Determining the minimum viable usage data you need, logging it, and maintaining historical baselines is essential. This approach enables you to track how features and resources are being used, identify trends, and make informed decisions. Focus on understanding the 'why' behind the trends. Too many data governance initiatives are still developed without any clear insights on what is truly valuable for your employees.
  • Talking to Users (in the right way): They advocate talking to your clients before making decisions. However, do not directly talk to your colleagues regarding specific features of your data governance tool, listen to their problems and strive to solve them. Their problems will most probably lie in operational struggles which could have real business impact once solved. This focus on understanding user needs and issues sets the stage for building user-driven solutions, which truly make an impact on your day-to-day operations as an organization.

The Synergy of Customer-Centric and Product-Oriented mentality or How to Supercharge Data Governance

Now, let's bring these two sets of wisdom together to push forward data governance within your organisation.

  1. Customer-Centric Data Governance: Bezos' customer-centric approach must be at the heart of your data governance strategy. Prioritize user satisfaction, streamline data access, and provide exceptional support. Data governance should focus on delivering what users need, when they need it. Before making changes, talk to your clients, just as Huffman and Shear suggest. Understanding their needs, frustrations, and aspirations is the foundation for building user-driven data governance solutions.
  2. Consider your data governance tool as B2C Product: Be like Amazon, Twitch and Reddit - gather and analyze data from your data governance initiatives. Understand user behavior, preferences, and feedback to tailor your data governance strategy and platform continually. Let data guide your decision-making process for future use-cases and developments. Start small, and if you need to make big changes, do so one step at a time. Don't redesign everything at once; tackle issues one by one, adopting an agile approach to get there more quickly.

Your Data Governance Revolution Awaits

In the ever-evolving landscape of data governance, these insights from Jeff Bezos and tech CEO’s like Steve Huffman and Emmett Shear provide a roadmap to excellence. By putting customers at the center, embracing data-driven decision-making, your data governance programs will be transformed. Listen to your users, solve their problems, and evolve your strategy continually.

The opportunity is here! Are you ready to redefine your approach and unlock the true potential of data governance? Contact us if you want to connect with a highly knowledgeable team of data consultants, ready to pave your way towards a more data-driven organization.