The Problem with Big Data

There is a statistic, a poll or a survey every which way we turn. We praise big data and all that comes with it.

It allows for more accurate decision making, more tailored services, less risk, etc.

But we tend to focus on the upside. And tend to downplay the consequences.

Isn’t there some benefit in leaving things to the imagination? Giving us some room to hope and dream — even if the dream may not be as alive as we think?

I worry all of this data is leading us to comparison. And comparison is the antithesis of being happy and grateful. At least when the comparison leads to comparing up. Focusing on what you don’t have and what others do have.

And the real conundrum? This mentality builds on itself. Without hope, people are left comparing and reaching for something that feels unattainable. And they are left with a feeling of powerlessness and hopelessness. So they don’t even try.

But trying is half the battle. Having hope is the most vital aspect. And it’s hard to keep that hope in the face of the glaring realities.

All this data wasn’t around when my father started his business. And I am grateful for it. Because if he really looked at the “odds” or “statistics,” he would have become paralyzed and never created what he has today.

And I think this is increasingly the case. We get stuck looking at the odds and becoming paralyzed by the fear. And comparing ourselves to others.

We convince ourselves to not even try. Because the odds aren’t in our favor.

Ignore the data and the comparisons.

Have hope. Dream big. And leave the stats out of it.

It’s the only way we start defying the odds again.