Hot Dogs and Data Analytics – Tasty Similarities

Four lessons learned from the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Start by dunking your hot dog and bun into a warm bucket of water. Next, shove it down your throat as fast as you can with no regard for the taste or your personal dignity.

Wash, rinse and repeat 60+ more times and you could hold the distinguished title of the July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest Champion! When I realized this year was the 100th anniversary of this classic and somewhat disturbing American tradition, I couldn’t help but draw some analogies between devouring hot dogs and consuming multiple data sources via analytics. Here are some crude lessons learned from prior years of watching:


This is a common mistake made by amateurs. The best competitive hot dog eaters know they are better off combining multiple sources (i.e. hot dogs) into a single serving rather consuming them one-by-one. Why not experience multiple treats at once which creates efficiencies and enables you to discover new things along the way? At the Qonnections event in May 2016, Qlik customer Wells Fargo shared how they consumed 43 different data sources into a single data analytics app. Imagine how well Joey Chestnut would do if he could do the same in the July 4th competition!?!

How is the @originalnathans Hot Dog Eating Contest similar to #analytics? Here's how:


Let’s face it, eating 60 hot dogs over-and-over the same way is boring and you will eventually lose interest. I recommend spicing it up a bit and leverage different ways to fill your belly. How about switching between the Coney Island home-office and taking it on the road during a drive to the NJ shore? With the right platform and approach, any consumer can have a seamless experience regardless of their setting or method of ingestion.


Too many competitive eaters (and data analysts) forget to have fun and the end result is often a visit to the trash can. How about taking a step back to appreciate the great opportunity in front of you? After all, it’s pretty cool to have self-service capabilities right at your fingertips. Savor the moment and have some fun along the way! A good user experience will result in people coming back again for more.


No competitive eating champion can do it alone and there’s always the team behind the scenes who has a big role in your success. Seemingly simple tasks like hot dog (data) prep, cleaning and training go a long way to distinguish the contenders from the pretenders. Don’t forget to thank your support team and recognize their valuable contributions.

I hope you get to watch the Nathan’s competition on July 4th and hopefully some of these lessons learned come in handy when you approach your next hot dog eating (or data analytics) initiative!

Photo credit: Loozrboy via / CC BY-SA

Photo credit: joeymanley via DIYlovin / CC BY-SA


In this article:

Keep up with the latest insights to drive the most value from your data.

Get ready to transform your entire business with data.

Follow Qlik