Today we are living in a data driven world infested by mathematics.
In marketing we worship the algorithm and its superiority to human decision making.
In our conversations about music and books and postings we boast about the number of songs we have downloaded, the number of books we have on our Kindles and how we can switch between devices more than discuss the books or the music.
In social media we are besotted by measuring and increasing our followers, friends, and connections.
In a world of ascending Buzzfeed, Vice, Vox our media landscape is driven by the viral vortex of volume verification.
The wearables that will soon festoon our bodies will allow our quantified selfs to resonate with numerics.
Data data everywhere.So much data we will sink.
Data often without meaning. Who will help us think?
I am a math major. I love numbers and logic.
But somewhere in this hurly burly of numbers we may end up worshiping before the wrong totem pole.
1. Too much plumbing. Too little poetry.
In the world of media we are so fixated on the plumbing of finding the right person at the right place at the right time that we forget that the interaction we deliver will have to be absolutely right and brilliant not to piss of this superbly well located person at the exact right time. The better the “targeting”, the more important the tone, content and quality of the interaction.
Lets think about the poetry (water) versus just the plumbing.
2. Too much content. Too little time..
Marketers instead of focussing on improving their own products and services and gaining insights about their customers have got seduced into being content providers. They believe the social platforms of the world will help them distribute their in house content or they can impregnate journalism with the seed of their marketing messages under the rubric of “native” advertising.
The ability to quantify the social media distribution and the cost reduction in content creation allows for this type of focus and decision making.
In the world of content everybody now is finding ways to create new content and more content and scalable content and viral content without realizing that the time we have is limited and increasingly the returns to content are going to plunge as we increase the numerator (amount of content) while the denominator (amount of time we all have) remains the same.
Soon we will see a major content crash like we did in the cost per thousand views for display advertising.
Because the best content is created for itself and not as a shill for a marketer. It is created by true experts or is truly authentic.
3. Too much information. Too little common sense.
In Finance we are inundated with books and articles and mutual funds and investment experts who use up everybody’s time and money to justify the money we give them for their time when almost no one can beat this simple three step formula
a) Spend less than you earn
b) Diversify your savings using low cost index funds which you re-allocate once a year
c) Hold for the long term
In Health and Diet we have books and articles and experts and charts which eventually cannot beat three steps
a) Eat less and move more.
b) Diversify your eating across a lot of food types (today something that is good for you will be bad and vice versa) while moderating alcohol ( lots of data suggests 2 drinks a day for men and one for women is better than none!)
c) Sleep enough
Intriguing that finance and health have basically the same general best formula built around moderation, diversification and long term habits.
More importantly the point of money is to enable you not to think about it. The point of food is to enjoy it as it is one of life’s great joys versus it being some monster you have to manage and grapple with.
In the end the world of science needs to support the world of living and art.
Anybody can read an excel spread sheet and let the numbers make the decision. In fact if that is what you do get ready for your job to be soon replaced by a machine.
But the point of the machines is so that we do not have to bother as much about the numbers and go on with living.
Its not the number.
Its how you use it to live and what you add to it to make decisions.