Twelve-Thousand Step Program

A couple of years ago, ‘The Economist’ published an article that stated: “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data”.

It’s a little known fact that immediately after that article came out, people started pouring data directly into their gas tanks, and petrochemical companies stockpiled as much data as they could store, in case the world ran out of its precious supply.

Ok, maybe not. But there’s no denying that Big Tech (Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft) along with many other tech and non-tech organizations, has continued to transform their data-riches into financial ones.

Data has become so important and plentiful, that brand new companies and roles have sprung up globally over the past several years to manage it all; to provide data, collect it, analyze it, process it, and extract every iota of value possible from it.

A Whole Lot Of Zeroes.

In a 2018 Forbes article, the quantity and time scales were highlighted thusly:  “There are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day at our current pace, but that pace is only accelerating with the growth of the Internet of Things (IoT). Over the last two years alone 90 percent of the data in the world was generated.”

Since the number “2.5 quintillion” is somewhat difficult to wrap one’s head around, they included further breakdowns, such as the following:

“We leave a data trail when we use our favorite communication methods today from sending texts to emails. Here are some incredible stats for the volume of communication we send out every minute:

  • We send 16 million text messages
  • There are 990,000 Tinder swipes
  • 156 million emails are sent;
  • 15,000 GIFs are sent via Facebook messenger
  • Every minute there are 103,447,520 spam e-mail sent
  • There are 154,200 calls on Skype”

When does it all become too much? Are humans and all our activities being reduced to mere elements of data to be manipulated and monetized?

“My name is 2019, and I’m a Data-holic.”

The FitBit (and all similar devices) might be a perfect example of when ‘enough’ becomes ‘too much’. Is there a deep-seated intrinsic human need to know how many steps one has taken in a day? Or is that desire merely manufactured, meant to sell more FitBits, and to provide even more data to various receivers?

The drive to measure so much information means it’s more likely that people are missing the bigger picture. Even worse, there is evidence to suggest these devices are themselves exacerbating the problem they are purported to solve, with the increase in metrics contributing to overall anxiety and stress.

Try this instead…just go outside…and WALK! Don’t worry about how many steps you’re taking, or measuring or monitoring any other vitals (unless, of course, doing so was deemed medically necessary).

And while you’re at it, try leaving your phone at home. No, seriously. I do that as often as I can. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel, and how much more in the moment you are.

Quality vs. Quantity.

As with most things, less is more.

In order to create a happier and healthier population, we need to focus on the ‘right’ data, not ALL the data.

In my professional and personal experiences, life is about asking the right questions, and then contemplating the answers. So, if an ever-increasing amount of data is supposedly the ‘answer’…what is the question being asked? And does that question truly matter?


Please join me each week for experiences, observations, and thoughts related to our upcoming project launch (March 2019). Your likes, comments, and shares are very much appreciated…and thanks for taking the time to stop by! Nigel Oliveira  Nigel’s LinkedIn Profile

One thought on “Twelve-Thousand Step Program

  1. I think your point about quality vs quantity is right on. A lot of the “data” being stored is trivial: memes and GIFs sent for a chuckle, “lol”s and “ttyl”s and “imho”s.
    Ultimately, I think the question being asked is the ages-old one: “What’s in it for me?” or “How do I benefit?”.
    All these entities are collecting, storing and harvesting data because they recognize the financial advantage of doing so. Plain and simple.
    And yes, the question matters, immensely so. There has been much grumbling and hand-wringing in recent years over data-collection and “censorship” from companies such as Facebook. It is very easy to forget that while the Internet may be “public”, the companies trolling its waters are profiteers. You engage their services at a risk, and there is always a price. Problem is, you rarely see the price tag upfront.


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