March 16, 2011
Venture Beat has a widely retweeted post, titled “The Brave New World of Data,” that describes Reid Hofman’s talk on the growing importance of data on the web. Hoffman give several examples how the use of data can make (mainly consumer) applications and services more powerful.
While I heartily agree with Hofffman’s thesis, I also think there is a whole range of business value being created by online data that is being overlooked. As both brick and mortar and web businesses alike conduct more and more of their business online — a trend I think we all agree is universal and only increasing — opportunities abound for those businesses to capture incredibly powerful data about their business. This, in my mind, is the REALLY big opportunity for data — the opportunity for businesses to harness the data made available online to transform themselves into data driven businesses. We are certainly seeing this in the current generation of highly successful consumer web plays. Under the cover, Zynga looks much more like a quant shop than a game studio. And in my own portfolio the LOLapps team continues to impress with their fanatically analystical approach. But the opportunity is for all businesses to emulate the hyper-analytical cultures in those businesses and become truly data driven business.