Data: The 21st Century Gold Rush


“When thinking about the value of the data a company collects vs. the traditional value of theproduct it may produce, collecting and analyzing broad categories of customer + product data is becoming equally — if not more — valuable than the product itself,” writes Ken Oestreich, The Fountainhead Blog via GigaOM.

Data is more valuable than the product itself.

How true this is when you consider that Symantec has found that “digital information now makes up 49 percent of organization’s total value.” Almost half of a company’s value lies in the information they store.  That is astounding when you consider that, according to a recent presentation by Seagate’s Jeff Burke, “Data is artificial because it is created by machines, in and of itself is meaningless & not worth saving, but it is the basis for information & knowledge.”

Data is the 21st century gold rush.

When you think about the original California Gold Rush (1848–1855), the news of gold brought some 300,000 people to California from the rest of the United States and abroad. According to Wikipedia, “At first, the gold nuggets could be picked up off the ground. Later, gold was recovered from streams and riverbeds using simple techniques, such as panning. More sophisticated methods were developed and later adopted elsewhere. At its peak, technological advances reached a point where significant financing was required, increasing the proportion of gold companies to individual miners.”

Sound familiar?  It kind of sounds like where we are heading relative to Big Data.

The effects of The Gold Rush on the state of California were tremendous. The population grew, infrastructure was built, new methods of transportation were deployed.  The Gold Rush was the “platform” that led to the creation of the entire state of California.  The same effect could be seen with data.  Ken Oestreich writes in The Fountainhead post, “This accretion of value around large data sets – particularly alongside an external ecosystem – is analogous to what we’re familiar with in the product world: The Platform. Indeed, we may find that entirely new business models based on data platforms may arise from legacy product companies.”

The key term here – Data Platforms – new and exciting applications of data that drive new technological advancements, infrastructure build-out (compute & storage), and methods of transporting the data (networking).

Funny how history does tend to repeat itself.

Related Posts:

What we get if technology hype becomes reality…

The costs of dirty data in the US…more than you think.

Data rich and information poor…tough to be you.

Why smarter people precedes smarter storage


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  1. […] my last post, I talked about how Data is the 21st century version of the California Gold Rush. Well, if this […]

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