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Data Is (Sort of) the New Oil

Thoughts on one of today's bellwether phrases.
Mar | 26 | 2014

Mar | 26 | 2014

When asked on an episode of CNBC’s Squawk Box about the next big thing, legendary investor Ann Winblad replied, “Data is the new oil.” (CNBC removed the video.)

The line has been repeated and referenced myriad times lately–and this is totally understandable. After all, you can mine both data and oil. Unfortunately, the metaphor is only partially correct. I’m no geologist, but the supply of petroleum is finite. Just like land, they aren’t making any more oil. And I certainly can’t sit down and generate any oil, not even with a 3D printer.

The data/oil analogy is certainly clever but only partially true.

I can, however, write this post. I will tweet a bunch of times today. Tonight, I’ll speak in Las Vegas on the new book and record that video. Tomorrow, you can watch that video on this site. If you do, your ISP, browser, and/or wireless carrier will log that information.

Simon Says: The oil metaphor is only partially true.

All of these actions collectively mean one thing: more data. The data/oil analogy is certainly clever but only partially true.


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