MARTYN RICHARD JONES

In spite of the best-efforts of Hadoop evangelists, consulting houses, and IT infrastructure and service vendors, Big Data – hailed as the greatest thing since the dawn of greatest things – is failing, and dramatically so, to produce the necessarily corresponding quantity and quality of tangible, detailed and verifiable success-stories.

So, given the dearth of Big Data success stories, why are so many in the industry still banging on with troll-like insistence about the ‘indisputable’ relevance, importance and universal applicability of Big Data?

Seen from where I stand, and I don’t think I am particularly unique in this respect, a lot of arrows are pointing towards a quieter future for Big Data, one where it has far more limited use than was once imagined, a data niche rather than a data driven all-encompassing market-based revolution. But obviously not everyone is sharing that view, at least not ostensibly so.

The fact of the matter is this. That in spite of what the good people at the prestigious house of Gartner have been saying, the Big Data hype-cycle is far from over. In fact, we have entered what might be crudely yet accurately described as the golden age of Big Data boloney.

When I survey the Big Data landscape and see companies, organisations and individuals continue to bang on the Big Data drum like as if it was going out of fashion, it’s quite embarrassing. Acutely so. Even for someone who isn’t participating, either actively or passively, in the Big Data dog and pony bestiality-show.

So, what’s happening with the Big Data in-crowd? Words were coming to my mind, words such as overcompensation, projection, doublethink, denial, delusion, social, awkward, wacky correlation and non-existent causation. But none of these were entirely satisfactory. Lacking, as they do, in conveying any sort of coherent, tangible and credible explanation of the continuing and burgeoning Big Data hype phenomena.

Then it dawned on me. Black tulips.

Industry players and Big Data pundits are inexplicably engaged in what is at best a zero-sum game, and at its worst has clear parallels with the hubris, wilful ignorance and  greed which lead to the last major global financial crisis and also has nasty parallels with the dot-com bubble.

So, the next time you are reading a gushing puff-piece on Big Data take this advice to heart. Instead of thinking about the author as a friendly adviser, think of them as an unqualified, unregistered and unregulated financial adviser who is trying to flog you something that they probably don’t understand and that they have no idea how to value – remember, all they are thinking is in their ‘commission’.

More to the point, don’t go repeating the same talking points as if they were facts you can take to the bank, when you yourself are unsure about how reliable those ‘facts’ might be.

Stated simply. There is very little which could be more suspect than an announced global revolution in Big Data, a revolution that is accompanied by a dearth of tangible, detailed and verifiable success-stories. So take good note of what is really going on.

If someone deceives you once, it’s their fault, if they deceive you twice it’s your fault. If you then go on to ‘do unto others what has been done unto you’, then expect to be rightfully derided and decried.

Be professional, be on the side of the angels, and do the right thing. In the longer run you will thank yourself for your wise choices.

Many thanks for reading.

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