Is Big Data Overrated?

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Big Data to Smart Data x300by Angela Guess

Dorie Clark recently wrote in Entrepreneur, “Big Data, and its enormous power to quantify and illuminate phenomena, is all the rage. But author and entrepreneur Martin Lindstrom says it may be overrated. ‘Big Data is about analyzing the past,’ he says, and it’s ‘safe and accepted’ in our society to predict future trends based on what’s happened before. But that may not yield the most accurate information. Instead, he’s a believer in ‘Small Data,’ the title of his new book, which he describes as a method that’s about ‘infusing creativity and preserving the instincts’ of entrepreneurs, which he says can be their most valuable assets. One example of this approach he cites is media magnate Rupert Murdoch.”

Clark goes on, “‘Love him or hate him,’ says Lindstrom, ‘he reads 50 or 100 newspapers a day and he can put himself in the shoes of a reader and call his editor and say, ‘I don’t like the headline because I don’t think they’ll like it’ and he’s mostly right. It’s all instincts. That’s making a company unique, because if you go through a cookie cutter format, plug the same data into the same machine, with the same people analyzing it, [you’ll get the same results as everyone else]. It’s instinct, and Small Data, that gives it a twist, and helps you see the world from a different angle.’ Lindstrom’s own methodology is a form of hands-on anthropological research, in which he visits people’s homes and gathers information about their attitudes, behaviors, and desires that they may not be aware of or choose to articulate. After as few as eight interviews, he says, ‘you’ll start to see a pattern, and what fits into that pattern and what doesn’t. It’s pretty strikingly obvious’.”

Read more here.

Photo credit: Flickr

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