This is a summary of a SELECT session that was presented live on January 16, 2024.
Meghana Reddy, Head of Data at StubHub, shared her experience building a data practice focused on speed and quality of insights. We hope the lessons learned along StubHub’s journey can inspire and guide others in their pursuit towards data-driven excellence. For the full session, watch the event recording here.
For the cliffs notes version… read on!
StubHub's data team has undergone a significant shift over the past year and a half, aiming to balance the company's historical operational efficiency with a future-focused, strategic approach to data management. We’ll explore the motivations behind this change, the challenges faced, and the innovative solutions implemented to enhance both the speed and quality of data insights for their stakeholders throughout the company.
StubHub, known as the world's leading source for live entertainment, has a rich global presence. The company operates under two brands, StubHub in the US and Canada, and Viagogo internationally, following a strategic acquisition a few years ago, which offers access to events in every country, language, and currency. The union of these brands prompted StubHub to rethink its data strategy, transitioning from a focus on operational efficiency to broader, long-term initiatives.
The company’s historical success was rooted in its operational efficiency, with a strong emphasis on lean data infrastructure and a culture of data literacy. This approach propelled the company forward with a focus on near-term initiatives, experimentation, and operational metrics. However, with the acquisition and the promise of a vast pool of data, there was an opportunity to revisit this approach and consider a more strategic data journey.
The opportunity to evolve into a data-driven organization led to the vision of building a “big picture” data team. This vision centered around two key goals: achieving faster insights and delivering higher-quality insights for a wide audience of internal stakeholders. Being able to reach quality insights faster is key to driving data-driven decision-making. In-depth but too slow, and the decision might already have been made sans data, wasting that time. Timely but not rich enough to action on? Again, decisions lag or are ultimately made without data.
So… how do you have your cake and eat it too? To increase both speed and quality, Stubhub analysts built a continuous cycle of pulling data, making inferences, generating results, and addressing subsequent questions—a dynamic flywheel of data analysis. StubHub's tech stack, supported by Snowflake and Hex, plays a crucial role in supporting this cycle, facilitating both exploratory analysis and self-serve exploration within guardrails.
The StubHub data team today relies on a number of data applications to answer key questions about the business, while also allowing for deeper data exploration and ad-hoc analysis. These assets, powered by Hex, Snowflake and other tools in the modern data stack, have significantly increased the speed and quality of insights. From initial prototyping and exploratory analysis to building apps and enabling self-serve exploration, StubHub's data team delivers tangible outcomes that propel the company forward in a scalable, data-driven way.
Embedded here is an interactive demo of one of the data tools the team uses to enable broader access to high quality insights:
StubHub's journey through data transformation is unique to their brands, but has lessons for any data team: balancing operational efficiency with long-term initiatives, establishing key principles to guide a big picture data team, and leveraging key tools to empower faster and higher-quality insights.