The big data Wild West: The good, the bad and the ugly

Great thoughts about the promise of Big Data. Just be sure you know where your data comes from, and how others are using the data they are getting from you. Do right by your users and they will do right by you.


Big data has reached a critical stage. The market is poised to grow to more than $50 billion by 2017, but more than 55 percent of big data projects fail.

With so much opportunity coupled with hype and misinformation, we are in the midst of the big data Wild West. There is a standoff coming between those that understand what big data is — the ones making investments to collect, store and harvest it — and those that are buying snake oil and don’t understand how big data can impact their business.

The good

Big data allows you to fail. This may sound counterintuitive, but when it comes to big data, there’s good failure and bad failure.

Confused? Here’s an explanation: Big data, in its raw form, allows for a “test and learn” approach. Companies have to create many small “failures” by developing hypotheses and examining them against the data. This allows…

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