2016 MRA CRC – Stats 2 Story

The following are my notes from the MRA 2016 CRC presentation “Stats 2 Story” by Dave Decelle (Netflix) and Ted Frank (Backstories Studio). As there has been limited editing there will be typos.

Presentation ends with lights off and clips from “Moneyball” — good start!

Most people loved the movie — it was one big pitch for the use of data in sports. “Once again, nerds rule!”

But, before Moneyball, Bill James spent 20 years trying to get used to what he had come up with — and many people ignored him.

Dave is here as Ted’s case study on storytelling.

The movie had story-telling on its side, which had the advantage that Bill James did not.

Executivtes often say that seeing chart after chart of stats of a presentation is like a firehose.

So, rules:

  1. Keep it simple – like movies cut out about half of the book.
  2. Highlight what really matters – three or four things. Find out what they need – reformulate a product for example, then hit what is important
  3. Cut out everything else
  4. Parse it into chunks the brain can handle

Example – Annual Netlfix meeting called QVR

Dave had 30 minutes  to present, and he used these principles:

  • First used an example of not simple – used a MaxDiff methodology to show differences in use of “Netflix Original” logo. Took 1 minute 33 seconds.
  • Then he asked audience a quiz to see how much information people had rememberd
  • Then when he just used visualization and focused less on then details, and took a bit less time it was much easier to understand.

When he did the same thing at TMRE, he split the session into two groups, asked one two view the first method, second the other. Those who had seen the more detailed one generally knew the methodology but not the result.

Make it real (like movies)

  • setting
  • characters
  • action

Other example: 78% of Netflix members have heard of House of Cards (great), but only 38% know you can watch on Netflix (problem) and only 30% know that it is exclusive to NF.

Showed this by having an original picture of a picture from the show, then showed decreases beside them for each situation.

Make it Powerful & Emotional

works by – 1) deepening clarity and empathy/compassion and 2) inspires people to got off their butts

But – we usually speak to rational side.

Difference b/n Netflix & HBO Content Promotion

NF – helpful, informative, convenient, relevant – used bar charts to show that Netflix performs better than HBO on these scores, then used clips of customers with similar opinions

Make sure to create tension, play music, use framing, pacing and anticipation

Business generally doesn’t use anticipation – which is why everybody falls asleep in meetings. You do not convince them to stay engaged.

Example of using Tension in Presentation

David mentioned how social media was showing buzz around OTNB skyrocketed, but Netflix name did not.

Tension, how do you bring up the name of NTFX at the same time?

Then mention about study that showed the “Bill Burr” effect – adding the “A Netflix Original” logo, help to increase Netflix awareness of tie with show.

And make sure to add the other elements: pacing, music, tension etc.

Presentation was extremely well received, asked to show it to many different internal stakeholders – the power of a memorable story.






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