March 26, 2014

The Billion Dollar Paperclip by Gregory Short

Think smarter about your data.  For a lot of people, this isn't going to make sense.  I mean, after all, isn't data what's out there making us smart?  Well, yes and no, it all depends on how you use it.  There are so many facets to the data industry that it can be used in so many ways, and not all of them are "smart." 

This book looks at data from all sides.  From the companies buying it, to the companies producing it, and just how it is generated.  It explains Contextual Analytics, "Big Data", data sources, how to use the data, and what different databases have to offer us.  For the companies producing data it explains the need to have great data handling and sources to offer a premium data product to the consumer.  For those buying the data it explains the best kind of data to buy and how to use it effectively within your company to produce more sales.  This isn't a book about research or educational data though, this is more for making a profit and businesses.  It also provides the questions you should ask when thinking about the different metrics you're looking for in data.

I work with data for a living.  And I thought this book had a lot to offer.  It's not deep and thorough (after all, it's under 200 pages) but it covered all the important topics.  It also used a lot of the buzz words out there right now like "Big Data" and such, which should please any data nerd.  Truly I was more focused on the section that told how to generate data that people want to buy, but it was interesting to see from the consumer point of view, just what you should look for in data.  And the contextual analytics just made sense as opposed to having loads of data that you can't really relate to a subject.

The way the Billion Dollar Paperclip title was tied into the book really showed the use of data.  You wouldn't expect the paperclip industry to be so large or involve so much money.  After all, it's something you lose under your desk at least once a week.  But if something so small can have a large market share, imagine the other things.  Using this theory and a lot of pop culture references, I believe the author was able to make data relatable to those who don't even work in the industry.  Granted, that means that the book was fast paced, but it has a larger audience for those who are looking to use data to see what their product will do in the market.

A good book on data.  Definitely a read for anyone who produces it or uses it, which, at this point, seems to be most of the population.

**This book was received as a Free Advanced Reviewer's Copy**

The Billion Dollar Paperclip
Copyright 2013
154 pages

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