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This is the first in a series of short commentaries on the burgeoning, babbling and bludgeoning world of Big Data applications, real or fictitious, tangible or unsubstantiated, original or plagiarised.

The idea is to pick up on viral truths, half-truths and downright fibs, and then take a look under the bonnet. Frequently by simply questioning assertions, assumptions and motivations, and leaving it up to the reader to take it further, if they so wish.

So, here is the first piece entitled Big Data, Mom and Apple Pie.

Big Data, Mom and Apple Pie

A couple of days back I was watching a video on the popular TED channel. It was about Big Data. Is there anything else worth talking about these days? It opened with a question about favourite pie fillings; the natural choice was apple. Then there was an anecdote about a big pie maker who started to manufacture smaller pies and noticed a change in preference for pie fillings; from apple to something else.

The sale of smaller pies and the slight change in the consumer pie filling preference data was then linked to more and smaller pies being akin to better choice and Big Data. The proposition being that more data just like more pies “allows us to see new. It allows us to see better.  It allows us to see different”.  Unfortunately the rest of the tendentious talk on Big Data continued in this vein.

However, if I had been there, and questions were permitted, which they apparently weren’t, I would have asked:

– Did the sale of the traditional and larger apple pies go down, stay the same or go up?

– Did the introduction of the smaller pies bring in greater revenue than the bigger pies?

– Did the tactic lead to increased profit rate?

– Did the pie purchaser demographic change or did it stay the same?

– How effective was the Ad campaign that accompanied the introduction of the smaller pies?

– Did the company ramp up its sale of pies to such an extent that they were generating tens of terabytes more of manufacturing and sales data as a result? And if so, how did they handle the massive increase in the requirements for logistics?

– Was the switch to making smaller pies the result of analysing very large data sets (in the range of terabytes to petabytes) or the result of food business marketing, including market research, the sort of professional marketing that has been done for more than sixty decades?

So seriously, what on earth does this really have to do with Big Data, apart from creating the idea that a marketing strategy was now a miracle of Big Data that resulted in a big-pie to small-pie epiphany?

That’s my take. What do you think?

Again, many thanks for reading.


File under: Good Strat, Good Strategy, Martyn Richard Jones, Martyn Jones, Cambriano Energy, Iniciativa Consulting, Iniciativa para Data Warehouse, Tiki Taka Pro

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