Big Data not so new

Big data has been around for a while now and for the most part it is my belief that business haven’t been using this to its greatest potential.

I had seen a quote by Dan Ariely from Duke University that perfectly summed up my thoughts: “Big data is like teenage sex: everyone talks about it, nobody really knows how to do it, everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they are doing it”.

With the push to collect more data instead of drive out meaningful insights around what has already been collected.

Using huge amounts of data to drive a business decision isn’t anything new, what has changed is what is considered a huge amount of data.

I recently stumbled across a video published to YouTube by Coke that perfectly illustrates this. It was an interview with Warren Buffet and why he wouldn’t sell his shares in Coke. In the video Warren Buffet explains that one day when he was very young he went around to all the soft drink vending machines and collected all the bottle caps. The reason for doing this was because it was very hot and he saw an opportunity to sell people soft drinks. He collected around 9000 bottle caps and he found that the overwhelming majority of the bottle caps where for Coke. This lead him down a business path of getting Coke at a discounted price and selling them with a large amount of success. This for me is “big data” (of its day at least) driving actionable business decisions.

The point I am trying to make is that big data as a principal has been around for decades. We should be looking at what has already been collected and driving meaningful insights that can drive businesses.

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