Data is the New Oil – Old News

Twice in the last week I have been at conferences or awards and had to listen to people giving a talk and state that ‘Data is the new oil’ and stand back and expect people to look at them in awe as if they were Einstein putting forth the Theory of Relativity, or Archimedes shouting ‘Eureka’ (I realise the latter may not have happened the way the myth tells it).

Please this is nothing new. It is 10 years since Clive Humby of Tesco Clubcard fame wrote a paper describing this term in Data is the New Oil (DITNO). It is 16 years since Gartner’s Doug Laney developed his theory on 3 V’s of Big Data in a paper called 3-D Data Management: Controlling Data Volume, Velocity and Variety. David McCandless of Information is Beautiful fame 6 years ago in a TED talk at least had the decency to refer to DITNO and expand on the theory with his thoughts on Data is the New Soil.

So please, DITNO is 10 years old, and although it is more important today then it ever was, but please stop putting this theory forward as if it is ground breaking – move on – develop your own theory don’t just agree with 3 V’s do some research and like David above create your own DITNS, or as one of my students Svetlana did – critiquing 14 V’s of Big Data in her excellent research and paper 3 V’s and Beyond – The Missing V’s in Big Data?. Can you find a 15th V or an interesting concept on what big data is?

Enlighten me! I will have over 100 students this year telling me what Big Data is and isn’t – so make the paper interesting, make me think – this person ‘really gets it’. I will not name and shame the two speakers that used the cliches in their talks. Perhaps it was news to the other delegates and it was just me bored by the staleness of their talks. I hope my students don’t think that about my lectures – time to freshen up my material.

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