This was supposed to be a media account to attract attention to the product, which is frozen sliced meats. But with nearly 165,000 followers, @Steak_Umm champions data, common sense, and communication in a way that is needed in these Covid info times about how to move forward with municipal management.   Josh Skolnick with Bloomberg Cities  centers on a twitter account by a frozen food purveyor, @Steak_Umm.

As Skolnick posits ” As crazy as it sounds, its worldview has strong echoes of one that we at Bloomberg Philanthropies promote through What Works Cities, an initiative that elevates the importance of data-informed decision-making in city halls across the United States.

Skolnick breaks down Steak_umm’s philosophy into three areas:

Lesson One: If you hear leaders talking about anecdotes instead of hard facts, that is because that is all  they have.

Stories are “often more engaging than data”. But it is data that makes the difference for leaders to address how to move resources and to mitigate disparities.

Lesson Two: “Experts are your friends, and they need defending

There’s lots of information that is not truthful and “misinformation grows best in a fearful, uncertain climate.” In British Columbia Dr. Bonnie Henry has communicated clearly and directly about the Covid pandemic and outlined the steps that need to be taken to lessen the virus’ spread. But it’s also important to ensure that the public is listened to, and the Mayor may not always be “the right messenger to reach people”. 

I liked the approach of building a “kitchen cabinet” of “trusted community leaders who can communicate advice in a way residents will hear it.”

Lesson Three: You can be data-driven and entertaining.

Human nature means that data needs to be  “couched in understandable humanity~and even entertainment”.  Knowing the data is one thing, but the delivery is everything. In Vancouver we have the Duke of Data Andy Yan who as Director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University knows his numbers, but always has a fantastical twist on the delivery.

Andy Yan makes statistics understandable and even fun. He’s known for “Yanisms” which is his creative way of putting data and words together. The Tyee’s Christopher Cheung has written an article entitled “The Tao of Andy Yan-The greatest quotes of an urban planner who wields numbers and words to explain Vancouver’s crazy development”.

Christopher Cheung explains Andy’s data/humour approach this way:  “His quotes are Socratic, Seussian and lightly seasoned with allusions to popular culture, which, Yan says, help translate his work to a greater audience, not just “an audience of data-heads.”

Straight from Steak-Umm you have some lessons on better city management and city building. If you want to follow Steak-Umm, their twitter feed says “we haven’t been as active these past few days to give people a break from all the meat tweets but don’t worry they will return in full force soon”.

They seem to get to the meat of the matter.




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