Our colleague and dear friend John Holcomb sent an email to Rob and I in which he asked if we had heard the phrase “Big data is the new oil”. Neither of us had, but according to Jer Thorp, ad executives are uttering this phrase upwards of 100 times a day.

Jer’s article is worth a read. While he points out in the title that big data is not the new oil, he astutely suggests that the oil/data metaphor does work to an extent. After describing data as a human resource (a thesis of his TED talk), Jer makes, and expounds on, three points that resonated with me

  1. People need to understand and experience data ownership.

  2. We need to have a more open conversation about data and ethics.

  3. We need to change the way that we collectively think about data, so that it is not a new oil, but instead a new kind of resource entirely.

I am not sure which “we” he is referring to, but I might argue that society at large needs to have this conversation, and more importantly, the data users/statisticians/executives that make decisions to collect the data need to be having these conversations. Read the article at the Harvard Business Review Blog Network.