Big Data

One of the things I love about data is its ability to reveal.  Despite complaints from some reformers there are quite a lot of systems built into government/politics to shine light onto what is going on.  Admittedly some of them are not particularly user friendly and certainly should be made better to expand accessibility.

But that is also where data comes in.  The ability to take large datasets, break them down, put them back together, and find the diamonds in the rough.  I'm always amazed when people ask, "How'd you figure that out" and all I can say is, "I looked on their website."  Similarly I am always amazed when people tell me, "We had no idea what you were up to" and all I can say is, "Really?  I assumed you did because it was on their website."

Now that is a bit facetious.  Due to the aforementioned limitations of many systems it does take some work to pick through what is available.  And it does require people with very different skill sets to work together.  A statistics/computer geek may know to break down data but not what they are looking for.  A political guru may know what they are looking for but have no idea how to find it. 

But when you find ways to bring people with those skill sets together, it is a major strategic advantage.  And sadly, it is one that too many groups forgo.  For my last amazement in this post, it is incredible how many people in this industry choose to pay obscene amounts of money for gossip and rumor when the actual facts are sitting there for free right under their noses just waiting to be discovered.