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What has the Olympics got to do with Data?

August 10, 2016

I buy one newspaper every week but that was not always the case. Given my socialist tendencies, I viewed this paper as a representation of the establishment, spouting out articles to support the upper echelons of our society and sneered at the fact people felt they looked good with one under their arm, walking the dog back from the newspaper shop.

However they ran an article on me, when I worked at Experian Ireland and after the interview I was so impressed with the journalist I went out and purchased a paper the next week and have been utterly hooked on this paper ever since.

The ‘Sunday Times’ provides a level of objective and intelligently researched journalism that just impresses me and absorbs me more and more every week.

I read it top to bottom, it takes me a week so by Saturday I am always rushing to finish the previous Sunday’s edition so I can start again. Sad I know but what a paper.

Anyway recently a journalist I really like, talked about the fact he has attended seven olympics over the years and at Rio while travelling in a taxi to a media conference the clarity as to what the Olympics represents suddenly hit him.

In a moment of brilliance he describes it as the ultimate human challenge open to every human being on the planet to prove to themselves they are, at that moment in time, the best at that sport in the world.

I realise this is not new to us but being the best at anything is something we all have in us as a basic human behaviour.

So if I take this analogy to data and look back over the past 20 years of my experience in this industry, we have such a proliferation to build data, slice it and dice it, extract millions of seeds of insights and once we have done that we want more volume and big data and I am tired now.

Ultimately Steve Jobs told his people when he returned to Apple after years of exile, ‘lets just build the best products possible’.

As a long serving data collector both in Ireland and the UK, I firmly believe in collecting quality data and not volume as volume creates a mix of good and bad data but the bad data is only discovered by brand owners who spend their hard fought for budgets to discover the good and bad results.

Another major modern feature in data is the fact that at the start of a commercial chat the theme is often around compliance first, ‘then let’s talk about the data’.

We recently launched our UK data collection platform, and I sat down with the team and said let’s focus on non – incent traffic, let’s focus on our internally built technology to convert relevant clicks, within the context of the user journey, to data and then drive that data thru a rigid inline validation process. I then went on to say I want us to reject more data that we accept and I want our data quality scores to be the best in the UK and Ireland.

Our traffic driving team told me I was mad, we will never build a scalable data model but I responded by saying, ‘you worked in the online and data industry for over 12 years just ignore every other business model out there and focus only on credible data sources, rigid inline validation and wrap all of this around GDPR compliance

I then told our sales people only engage with brands and agencies where the original unambiguous consent matches the actual usage of the data. We must meet consumer expectations, after all we are the guardians of their personal data so let’s respect the honesty and transparency they have shown to us.

One of our consumer facing sites www.winnersville.co.uk is designed to process data to be the best in the world just like an Olympian and I hear you, we are nothing like a Olympian but we are determined to deliver the best data in the world. That is a vision we stand by every day and in every decision we make even to the detriment of growth or profit.

Thanks for reading.

Lorcan

www.dataxcel.ie

Data Compliance is at the heart of all our data touch points