A New Decade in Data

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Click to learn more about author Michael D. Shaw.

We are all makers of data, and we are all users of data. We are all teachers and students of data’s influence on law and business. We are all players in a global debate about jobs, justice, and freedom. We are all participants involved in advocacy, contracts, partnerships, and customer service.

How we respond to all this data and the issues around them will define a new decade in the use of data.

The manner in which lawyers and entrepreneurs use data and deal with data issues will determine the importance of data as both a means of presentation and as a way of providing goods and services.

As a scientist, I consider law and business to be the arbiters of acceptance. That is to say when lawyers and business owners come to rely on data when they treat data as an integral part of their workaday lives — when these things happen as they will, as they must — we will witness the rise of a new decade of innovation worldwide.

According to Justin Daily of Daily Aljian, a boutique litigation firm in Orange County, California:

“Data has always been a valuable tool for lawyers. However, technological innovations in recent years have profoundly impacted lawyers’ ability to analyze and present that information. Document searches that once took days or weeks to complete may now be accomplished in fractions of a second; electronic versions of hundred-year-old cases can be downloaded with the click of a button, and it is a rare case that goes to trial without a data-driven PowerPoint or other demonstrative exhibits.”

Daily speaks to the practical effects of data above. He explains the benefits not only of data but of technology that expedites a worthy goal and a grand idea: justice. The idea is also an ideal. We do not always achieve it, but we strive to improve the number of times our achievements match our ideals.

The same is true of business in terms of data’s role in emergent and established industries.

Concerning the former, whose $14 billion in sales may reach $75 billion (or more) by 2026, the use of data is paramount.

David Albanese, CEO of High Farms, says:

“The lawful marketplace for cannabis is like a snapshot or screenshot of data in motion: of so many points of connection among farmers, retailers, and distributors. The benefits to consumers, from safe and convenient online storefronts to timely deliveries from dispensaries, represent the triumph of data.”

I agree with this assessment for two reasons.

First, information is valuable. The more we know — the more data we can analyze and apply — the better.

Secondly, we use data to clarify our ability to choose. Put another way, clarity begets confidence; leadership begins with the ability to see the choice — the stark contrast — that justifies what an executive does.

The new decade in data promises to transform law and business for the good of the many. The rewards will redound to citizens and consumers alike, validating all who champion data as a resource. The rewards are a summons to do good things — great things — with data.

Let us seize this moment.

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