Data Hits Peak Metaphor

In a recent post, Tim O’Reilly declared data is not the new oil. It’s the new sand. Or the new Oxycontin. Possibly both. This is a clear sign we’ve reached peak data metaphor. It’s not so much that O’Reilly’s metaphors are wrong or that a different one would be better. It’s that our attempts to […]

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Why We Need to Grapple With Data’s Triple Role: Property, Capital, Power

For people, data is property. For companies, data is capital. For nations, data is power. And it’s all the same data. Data’s triple role means we need to rewrite the social contract between people, companies, and governments. Despite a smattering of data-related laws around the world, data remains a largely ungoverned province, while a hodgepodge […]

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The option value of data in a crisis

The COVID-19 crisis prompts new questions, like who is at greatest risk of exposure to this new coronavirus. For this particular question, the answer is hiding in data that already exists. The New York Times did an analysis showing which workers are at greatest risk of exposure to the coronavirus. The vertical axis shows how […]

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Companies talking data capital

Last week at Oracle Open World Europe, three radically different companies talked about creating value from data assets. Halldis, a high-end rental property manager, Strands, a fintech services firm, and Retraced, a supply-chain verification company, illustrated the axiom that data is a kind of capital, an economic factor of production in digital goods and services. […]

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The Law As Data Capital

Harvard Law School and Ravel Law, a startup, are digitizing Harvard’s complete collection of US case law going back to 1647 . That’s 43,000 volumes, totaling about 40 million pages. This new trove of data capital costs millions to create. It will be free to search online, but analysis of the data can only be had for a […]

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Data Is Capital, Not Money

Capital and money might seem like the same thing, but they’re not. A lot of executives I talk to about data capital confuse the two — even MBAs! So, let’s clarify the difference between capital and money, and why it matters when it comes to data. Take capital first. Capital, along with labor and land, is […]

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