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If you enjoy this piece or find it useful then please consider joining The Big Data Contrarians:

Join The Big Data Contrarians here: https://www.linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=8338976

Many thanks.

When I first started The Big Data Contrarians group on LinkedIn I was thinking that maybe we would get 100 members within three or four months. Well, I was mistaken. Since the 1st of July, the membership ranks of The Big Data Contrarians has risen to over 500 members. However, it’s not about the quantity it’s about the quality, and The Big Data Contrarians is ‘the nicest Big Data community that you are ever likely to encounter in your entire life’. However, many people hesitate before joining us.

I ‘kinda’ know what some people might be thinking. Are they Big Data anarchists? Are they pro or anti-establishment data stirrers? Will membership of The Big Data Contrarians put me on some sort of McCarthyite death-wish list? Will my data look small in this group? Will I ever work again? Will I ever be able to sing like Elvis?

Don’t worry, I assure you that none of the previously mentioned ‘potential sticking points’ have anything to do with The Big Data Contrarians; isn’t that right, Comrade Leon?

Therefore, if you think that this could be the group for you, but are hesitating in your decision, then hesitate no further, and join today. If you find that you do not like it, then you can always leave. It’s not the Hotel California.

So, onwards and upwards.

In order to celebrate the 500 members of the community, I decided to talk a little bit about one of the memes doing the rounds of the Big Data hype circus. “Hello big boy is that big data you have in your pen-drive, or are you just happy to visualise me?” If you like, dress it up, take it out on the town and call it a Rantasaurus Rex. If you use the material mentioned here you will win friends, influence people and break the ice at parties – guaranteed! Now, if that is not a deal that cannot be refused, I don’t know what is.

Many people who are ‘bigging up’ Big Data but without talking the tangible, refer to the massive volumes of data that have been created in the past few years as palpable evidence of a great, growing and massively beneficial phenomenon. With the absence of more reliable evidence, we have to suffer the continual exhumation, resuscitation and recycling of Google’s Eric Schmidt musings on the issue of the data explosion. For example, I seem to vaguely recall a Mister Whatshisname or Mister Whatever, stating on this very same self-publication platform, that in 2010:

<<Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, tells a conference that as much data is now being created every two days, as was created from the beginning of human civilization to the year 2003.>>

Now, this isn´t the first or the last time that Eric has been mentioned in connection with this reference and the context of the massive data explosion. Indeed, if I had a Ben Franklin for every time that Eric Schmidt has been used to justify the Big Data hoopla, then I’d have quite a few greenbacks by now.

Now, call me old fashioned and even cynical, but I do not see what the data generation explosion has to do with anything other than the explosion of the creation of data. It’s not a revolution, it’s an increase in output, and may not be any more of a innate benefit to humankind and the planet, than massive landfills filled with trillions of plastic bags, some of them even with “save the planet” and “we’re all in this together” printed on them in toxic inks.

But, what will future generations say about that, and the passing Big Data phenomenon? “Ah, they went a bit crazy with the old Big Data lark, those old timers did, but at least they made throwaway packaging that would last a trillion years. That’s foresight, that is.”

However, I like the latest line of attack used by those who really are over-egging the Big Data and Big Data analytics hype, it’s a pseudo-intellectual rendition of “if Big Data is misunderstood – and YOU clearly don’t understand it – then it’s not because of Big Data, but of your own wilful ignorance. You choose not to believe in Big Data, because you are anchored in the past. That’s where you are your kind are! Yesterday’s men! Oh, yes! You and people like Franklin and his outdated theories of gravity, and that Marx, and his archaic explanations of whatever, or whomever and her outdated theories of all that jazz. Yesterday’s token men and women, entrenched in your passé European logic and ensconced in your modernist liberal studies Bleh! Bleh! Dee! Bleh! Bleh!”

How can one reply to that? Thank you so much Professor for the exposition of that brilliant counter argument. A strong, solid and coherent counter argument to the vain, naïve and self-interested question of “Can we have some tangible, detailed and verifiable Big Data Analytics success stories or case studies, please?”

I find that after asking all of these questions, and yet not getting many or any reasonable or tangible answers, that trying to get a straight answer to a straight question on Big Data and Big Data Analytics is like trying to pin Jell-O to an elephant.

I have issues with the claims that more data is necessarily better data, and therefore massive amounts of data means massive amounts of data benefits; so, I would just like to wrap things with a quote from alternative comedian Stewart Lee.

“The eighteenth-century polymath Thomas Young was the last person to have read all the books published in his lifetime. That means that he would’ve read all the Shakespeare and all the Greek and Roman classics and all the theology and all the philosophy and all the science. But the same man today, a man who had read all the books published today, would’ve had to have read all Dan Brown’s novels, two volumes of Chris Moyles’ autobiography, The World According to Clarkson by Jeremy Clarkson, The World according to Clarkson II by Jeremy Clarkson, The World according to Clarkson III by Jeremy Clarkson… his mind would be awash with bad metaphors and unsustainable, reactionary opinion; one long anecdote about the time that Comedy Dave put pound coins in the urinal. In short, the man who had read everything published today would be more stupid than a man who had read nothing. That’s not a good state of affairs.”

Which is pretty much what I think about all of the gratuitous and promiscuous hype surrounding Big Data and Big Data Analytics. There is so much rich data that still has not been exploited, and so much more significant data that we could be capturing (much of it of more humanitarian, social and scientific value than commercial) yet we are now cajoled into dedicating significant efforts and resources on harvesting commercial junk data of potentially marginal or no value.

Many thanks for reading.

If you enjoy this piece or find it useful then please consider joining The Big Data Contrarians:

Join The Big Data Contrarians here: https://www.linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=8338976

Many thanks.

In subsequent blog pieces I will be sharing my views on the evolution of information management in general, and the incorporation novel and innovative techniques, technologies and methods into well architected mainstream information supply frameworks, for primarily strategic and tactical objectives.

As always, please reach out and share your questions, views and criticisms on this piece using the comment box below. I frequently write about strategy, organisational, leadership and information technology topics, trends and tendencies. You are more than welcome to keep up with my posts by clicking the ‘Follow’ link and perhaps you will even consider sending me a LinkedIn invite if you feel our data interests coincide. Also feel free to connect via TwitterFacebook and the Cambriano Energy website.

For more on this and other topics, check out some of my other posts:

Stuff a really great Data Architect should knowhttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/stuff-really-great-data-architect-should-know-martyn-jones

Big Data, the promised land where ‘smart’ is the new doh!https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/big-data-promised-land-where-smart-new-doh-martyn-jones?trk=prof-post

Absolutely Fabulous Big Data Roleshttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/absolutely-fabulous-big-data-roles-martyn-jones?trk=prof-post

Not banking on Big Data?https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/banking-big-data-martyn-jones?trk=prof-post

10 amazing reasons to join The Big Data Contrarianshttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/10-amazing-reasons-join-big-data-contrarians-martyn-jones?trk=prof-post

Amazing Data Warehousing with Hadoop and Big Datahttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/cloudera-kimball-dw-building-disinformation-factory-martyn-jones?trk=prof-post

The Big Data Contrarians: The Agora for Big Data dialoguehttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/big-data-contrarians-agora-dialogue-martyn-jones?trk=mp-reader-card

The Big Data Shell Gamehttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/big-data-shell-game-martyn-jones?trk=mp-reader-card

Aligning Data Warehousing and Big Datahttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/aligning-data-warehousing-big-martyn-jones?trk=mp-reader-card

Big Data Ludditeshttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/big-data-luddites-martyn-jones?trk=mp-reader-card

Data Warehousing Explained to Big Data Friendshttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/data-warehousing-explained-big-friends-martyn-jones?trk=mp-reader-card

Big Data, a promised land where the Big Bucks grow https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/big-data-promised-land-where-bucks-grow-martyn-jones-6023459994031177728?trk=mp-reader-card

The Big Data Contrarianshttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/big-data-contrarians-martyn-jones?trk=mp-reader-card

Is big data really for you? Things to consider before diving inhttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/big-data-really-you-things-consider-before-diving-martyn-jones?trk=mp-reader-card

Big Data Explained to My Grandchildrenhttps://www.linkedin.com/pulse/big-data-explained-my-grandchildren-martyn-jones?trk=mp-reader-card

If you enjoy this piece or find it useful then please consider joining The Big Data Contrarians:

Join The Big Data Contrarians here: https://www.linkedin.com/grp/home?gid=8338976

Many thanks.