Bulletin 3 August 2018. We are all data companies, and therefore analysts, now

It is perfectly natural to want to protect a domain one has spent so long building. All those skills, accumulated experience and expertise become part of who we are; take them away, and our life loses meaning (which, as Victor Frankl will tell you, is a bad thing). 

I am, of course, talking about the artificial, yet rapidly diminishing boundary between the analytical haves and have-nots. Case in point: industry analysts have built global businesses on the basis of being able to know more about what’s going on, or count more things, or simply have the time to do so, than anyone else. Such smarty-pants specialists exist in every industry, in every domain. 

And their days are numbered. I’m not talking about the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). As a techie, and therefore someone you’d expect to say different, I remain to be convinced about the rise of the robots as in some way signalling the demise of everything else.  I won’t reiterate old arguments, apart from to say that absolutes tend to architect their own demise. 

Taking the technology-as-tool position, we need not speculate, as the truth is all around us. Consumerisation and augmentation, disintermediation and democratisation are all (over-blown, but nonetheless) terms describing the increasingly distributed nature of tech, and therefore of its impact. Put simply, it used to be for the few and will end up for the many. 

Or put simpler still, anyone can run a survey these days. In a briefing this week, I found myself discussing a vendor’s research even as I wondered to myself whether I was out of a job. “Thanks for making me redundant,” I joked, cheerily. Then, I laughed a hollow laugh, put the phone down and sobbed hopeless tears. 

I didn’t really, but you get the point. Meanwhile, marketing data companies are finding themselves overlapping (if not yet competing) with manufacturers, even as both software-as-a-service providers and membership organisations realise that behavioural insights are most valuable thing they own. 

Fact is, as lower levels of technology commoditise, we all journey up the data-driven pyramid of needs only to find that it wasn’t just us that had the same idea. So, will this leave us all competing over who’s got the best insights? I don’t believe so, in fact, I think the opposite will be true as we actualise data’s role to augment, rather than replace, what really matters in life. 

Such as healthcare, and indeed, food production. To whit, here’s an article for this week.

 

Five questions for… Ali Hadavizadeh, Farm491

Coincidences are rife. I happen to live a stone’s throw from the UK’s only AgriTech incubator, at the same time as believing passionately in the need, and opportunity to help assure sustainable farming through technology innovation. Here’s an interview. Of course, this is another sword that can cut both ways (which is why I wrote last week’s newsletter). 

 

In other news — Travel Forward conference 5-7 November 2018

I really must stop saying yes to things, but this one’s a bobby dazzler — I’m going to be Programme and Content Director for the Travel Forward, the travel technology conference attached to World Travel Markets. We have a fabulous programme and some top speakers, and, well, who doesn’t want to see our travel experiences made better through tech? Watch this space for updates and feel free to share your own experiences!

 

As ever, thank you for reading, and all the feedback which is both appreciated and which helps steer this ship. 

Cheers, Jon

Bulletin 3 August 2018. We are all data companies, and therefore analysts, now

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