Companies brag about the size of their datasets the way fishermen brag about the size of their fish. They claim access to endless terabytes of information. The advantages seem obvious: the more you know, the better.
Based on their marketing materials, it would seem that this data makes companies almost clairvoyant. They claim deep insights about everything from the performance of employees to the preferences of their customer base. More data means more understanding about how people make decisions, what people buy, what motivates them — right?
But marketing materials, like fishermen, exaggerate. Most companies only have a fraction of the data they claim. And typically, only a small fraction of that fraction is useful for generating any non-trivial insight.
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