“I’m analytical” implies that you either have it or you don’t. The truth is that we are not born to do anything, we’re born with the potential to do many things. I'm known as an analytical product manager, but I started as a lost beginner. I’ve learned that you don’t have to be a “numbers person” to be sufficiently savvy. You also don’t have to write queries to identify insights. They’re bonuses, not blockers! Being analytical is simply a way of thinking. It can help you crack dreaded analytical interview questions, and problem solve like a ninja on the job. And it starts with a healthy skepticism and curiosity towards numbers. Here are some examples of using an analytical approach, ordered from easy to more advanced.
My stomach dropped: only 2% of people clicked on the new emails. My manager was knowingly skeptical: what’s the denominator? Always know the denominator, and how it’s defined. A percentage is meaningless if you don’t understand what went into the calculation. Example: 80% of people placed an order! You can’t tell if this is good without knowing who the “people” are. Visitors to a website? Email recipients? Those on the last step of the order flow? The narrower the denominator, the less impressive the 80% becomes. In my case, I freaked out over a 2% click-through rate, but the denominator was only 50…. it was too early to tell. Curb your enthusiasm or concern by understanding your denominator.