Big Data — Driven by Little People
Numbers aren’t sexy to me. But success can’t be measured if no one is keeping track, right?
There’s a lot of conversation in the world today about Big Data. For the corporate decision makers, it’s all about big business, so it requires big data.
Yet, when you think about it carefully, the data is you. The data is me. We are big data. And, the truth is, what we say matters isn’t enough.
Media companies like Facebook and Google are gathering data about all of us — that might piss you off, but not enough people are changing their behavior as a result of learning this is happening. So, guess what? Just because you say you don’t like something doesn’t mean you’re willing to do anything about it (Put down that potato chip!)
And, that means, you, me, your mom and dad, your kids. All of us are contributing to something bigger than ourselves.
I am not a conspiracy theorist. The fact that this data is being collected doesn’t bother me.
What bothers me is that it seems that only the big box corporations are doing anything about it.
They don’t really care about us, but they are willing to act like they do, enough to give us incentive to tell them whatever they want to know about us. And we believe them.
Small business owners can do this too, but many of you aren’t doing a thing. And, in the end, it seems like you don’t care about your customers, because, well you’re not paying attention to what they want.
Today, when it comes down to what matters most, it’s pretty simple:
- Giving your customers what they want so that…
- You can find new customers that want the same things.
Sure, you can ask your customers what they want, but then you have to do something with the data, and then you have to do something about what the data tells you. Oh, and there’s a difference between anecdotes and real data.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say you own a really nice restaurant in a very nice part of town. You are considering new menu items because you asked a couple of your regular patrons to taste a free sample, and they said they really loved it. So, after 10/10 of your patrons said they loved it, you called your vendor and ordered the items you’d need to add this new item to your menu. And you hype it up with your staff. But, 30 days later, not one person ordered it. You have to throw away all of the perishables . You can’t figure out what might have happened — after all, you did your market research right?
It’s Not What You Think!
Trust me, I am always surprised at what the data actually says. Because, I too want to believe what my trusted friends tell me. But the fact is, that we will tell our friends one thing, and do something completely different. It’s not that we’re liars, it’s that we have a relationship that leads us to feel a little pressure. When we’re answering a survey, or browsing the web, we feel more comfortable, and are not feeling like we’re put on the spot.
Because, it’s when we’re just being ourselves that we are at our best. We want that to be enough — and, it is. It’s always enough.
Every media company knows that the value is in the content provided by their publishers, the message, and “news.” Therefore, if we’re going to make any difference in the world at all, we have to be willing to look at what matters most. The people — our customers. And, if we’re not asking them what matters most to them, we’re failing them — and big data is not.
Leveraging our connections and looking beyond, we’ll find the answer, and it’s always always going to be driven by people. Lots and lots of little people!
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