How You Shape Your Own Data.
A recent report noted that as much data is produced in two days as had been produced up to 2003. That’s what David Kirkpatrick said in 2010, in introducing Eric Schmidt of Google.
“The real issue is user-generated content,” Schmidt said. He noted that pictures, instant messages, and tweets all add to this. Naturally, all of this information helps Google. But he cautioned that just because companies like his can do all sorts of things with this information, the more pressing question now is if they should.”
Frankly, and more to the point, I wonder if they can. Now there is information on you that has been harvested by Google, email clients, phone apps, newspapers and goodness knows what else. Only do they have the time to actually read it? Do they even have time to understand the jumbles of metrics that gush out of such software systems? Just because there are mountains of data piling up doesn’t mean it’s ever looked at.
Our family business had all its details on four floppy discs – that’s around 5Mb of information. It’s the equivalent of one large filing cabinet. Today for my one business I use a little more than 2Gb: documents, spreadsheets, backups for websites, emails and allsorts. For the modern business, that’s very, very small. Even with my tiny amount of data, it’s still pretty difficult to handle.
How then do you deal with all this stuff !?
Let us cut to the core here: you have your data. It’s your data. You made it, collected it and compiled it. It’s unique to you. For one thing, it reflects how you look at the world around you. It could be music or photographs, poetry or whatever. The point is that this data is like your shadow, shows what you look like. What’s more, it will show what kind of music you like out of all the music that was ever made – or the kind of photos you like. The data you have filed won’t look like anyone else’s.
Which is where it gets interesting. No two sets of data are ever the same. Even the same systems monitoring the same machines gives different data on different days.
It’s maddening. Your data piles up. You get more. You couldn’t use it yesterday, you can’t use it today. And then you get even more data.
So take a step back. Have a look not at the data, look at yourself instead.
You have your favorite music, you will like Louis Armstrong more than you like others. You will have some musicians that you don’t like at all, yet there is just one track that you really do like. Those two kinds of tracks will be played more than the others put together.
Liking And Disliking
Now you can say that this is because you like them. That’s fine in as far as it goes. However, the point to understand is that when someone finds interest in something, that something is used more often. What’s more, your friends will have a pattern of data usage that will resemble yours to some degree. There will be something you have in common with your best clients too, otherwise you wouldn’t “click” would you?
Data Is Never Random.
Data means something, shows something, and is never without a cause. Someone somewhere has set up something to record it, however inane the results may be. That they are overwhelmed by floods of information about the paths your lorries follow in the Greater Chicago area is not my problem. That they cannot handle it isn’t either. Part of my job is to find out what your data is telling you. Because your lorries visit places more often than others, use some streets more often than others. Just like the things they deliver, it will be a response to a demand. Knowing the pattern of that demand is the key to understanding it. Patterns like these are the key to understanding 80-20. Patterns like these are key to understanding your uniqueness.
That’s why this is under the heading “Bettter Customers” – you have to find out what your customers want of you. That’s when you can find out what your best customers like about you. All that takes the kind of insight that 80-20 thinking depends on.