Hi there, internet surfer person. Thanks for stopping by.
You’re probably wondering things like:
What is Whywhywhy?
Why do I need it?
What’s up with the weird name?
Fret not. We’ve got answers!
What is Whywhywhy?
Well, it’s two things:
1) A browser extension that upgrades your SQL editor with sharing superpowers
2) A new data format for sharing insights called WhyCards
A browser extension? That’s a bit unusual.
Well, we think it makes sense.
OK. You'll have to be more convincing than that.
All right, that’s fair
Our browser extension upgrades the tools you already know and love (like your SQL editor). Instead of having to learn a new tool and convince your team to switch from their favorite tools, we power up what you already got.
There are also more data tools than grains of sand in the Sahara, and it seems like the last thing we need is more sand.
Instead of adding more tools to your ‘stack’, how do you get data into the places where your team makes decisions?
Matt and David (the founders of Whywhywhy) met at Dropbox in 2014 and saw firsthand how useful and valuable a product that upgrades users’ existing tools could be.
So when we started thinking about our experience of using data and how we might improve it, much of what we learned from Dropbox seemed to apply.
Today there’s a whole bunch of data tools: data warehouses, SQL editors, notebooks etc., etc., to store our data and make sense of it. And then, there are productivity tools like Google Docs, Slides, Slack, Notion, Confluence, etc., where we communicate insights and make decisions.
These tools are excellent in their own right, but how we transport data between them through screenshots, CSVs and spreadsheets is just terribly outdated.
So our browser extension integrates with your data and productivity tools, letting you create and share insights where you already work.
What about BI tools? Can’t they do all of this in one place?
I’ll just leave this here.
For real though, BI tools and dashboards can be pretty useful, but in our experience, it’s not where most teams make decisions.
That happens in communication tools like Slack, Notion, or Google Docs. For data to influence decisions and drive impact, it needs to live within these discussions and documents, not trapped in a BI tool somewhere else.
So what's this WhyCard thing?
It’s a new format for sharing data and insights!
WhyCards are cool 😎
I know, I know. But we think they will be.
Again, you’ll have to be more convincing.
A WhyCard is a result that combines a chart, table and SQL query in a single unit. You can create WhyCards directly from BigQuery or Snowflake using the browser extension, and it’s embeddable in all your communication and document tools.
We created WhyCards out of our frustration in using data with our teams—juggling a mess of SQL queries, CSVs, spreadsheets, and screenshots.
We heard similar frustrations from other data practitioners, so we set out to create a sharing format designed for the modern data world:
✅ It should be portable. Data is often one part of a bigger story and should fit in alongside other content. It should be easy to consume on all devices, including phones. It should embed natively in your communication and document tools.
✅ It should have a narrative. Many charts fail to get their key insight across to the audience. The best data communicators style and annotate their visualizations to guide viewers toward the important point. Your data tool should also be a great storytelling tool.
“Make sure your charts say the so what instead of the what”
✅ It should handle big data. A new data sharing format should be able to handle millions of rows in your browser without breaking a sweat.
✅ It should be inspectable. One of the biggest drawbacks of CSVs, spreadsheets, or screenshots is they sever the connection to where the data came from. Understanding the assumptions that have been made to get to the conclusion leads to more informed discussion and better decisions.
“If you share the results of a query, you always share the query”
✅ It should be beautiful by default. The best practices for designing legible and effective charts have been well understood for a long time, but still, tools don’t help us much.
We think analysts should spend less time tweaking chart options and more time finding and communicating insights.
I think I get it
Just a couple more!
✅ It should start with a question. By thinking question-first instead of data-first, we focus our work and create actionable insights for our teams.
✅ It should be collaborative. Data is something your entire team (hopefully) cares about. Results should enable tweaking and iteration without fear of destroying someone else’s work.
Something like that. What do you think? Convinced yet?
Maybe. So why is this whole thing important?
Because the world needs more curious people, and our current tools make it hard to be curious about data and numbers. Curious people learn faster, and the teams who learn faster make better things, which we also need more of.
What about the name?
A friend of ours once described the process of finding insights in data as asking a series of “why?” questions. We’re all about curiosity so we thought it fit. It’s also weird and hard to pronounce, and really long. And the .com was outrageously expensive—all elements of a great name. But we like it.
I think that's all I got.
If you read all this way, you’re definitely curious enough to be a whywhywhy:er. You should sign up for our waitlist.
Oh, wait, one more thing, who are you?
We’re a small crew of people who love creating software, finite geometry math, perfectly boiled eggs and writing really long meandering about-pages. If you’re also weird like that, we want to hear from you!