[Video] A Radical Proposal for Data Collection in 5 Minutes

I am absolutely not someone who prognosticates with any success. I don’t even try, really, because I’m so bad at it. My strongest case in point on this: when Salesforce.com was founded, I thought it was an absolutely ridiculous idea that would never-never-never work out.

So, the 5-minute video below only appears prescient in hindsight, but I still go back and re-watch it periodically, and I occasionally point others to it as well.

The background is that there was a free 1-day conference that Analytics Demystified ran for several years called ACCELERATE. The core presentation format was “10 Tips in 20 minutes.” At the end of the conference, though, there were always a series of 5-minute presentations that were each intended to put forth a single big idea.

The first of those conferences was in San Francisco in November 2011, and I was one of those 5-minute presentations at the end of the day. I put a silly amount of time into my presentation. The “big idea” I put forth was pretty simple and quick. The prep time really went to articulating it tightly…in rhyme (which I memorized)…with appropriate visuals. What’s striking to me is that:

  • Clearly, there was already some industry hand-wringing about privacy (this was long before GDPR)
  • It also really doubled down on an explict opt-in for tracking (with an easy opt out!)
  • It references bitcoin (or “bitcoins”)…which feels like a more recent thing, because…
  • It also alludes to the fact that a smartphone is not a given
  • It references data science (and this was long before I was in any way trying to wrap my head around what that really was)

It’s a quick and fun little video. I actually was approached after presenting it by a gentleman who thought that I was actually pitching some startup (did I mention that this conference was in San Francisco)?