If software is eating the world, then data is swallowing it. The four highest valued companies in the US are tech heavyweights Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. Facebook is close behind in 8th position.
Just ten years ago, only Microsoft was on the top ten list. So why are tech companies catapulting so far in front of the rest of the economy?
The answer is data.
We’re entering a new world in which data may be more important than software.
Data is the new infrastructure. It is a competitive advantage. It is the new black. To demonstrate why data is more critical than other assets, have a look at how dominant data-driven companies have become.
- World’s largest taxi company owns no taxies (Uber)
- Largest accommodation provider owns no real estate (Airbnb)
- Largest phone companies own no telco infrastructure (Skype, WeChat)
- World’s most valuable retailer has no inventory (Alibaba, Amazon)
- Most popular media owner creates no content (Facebook)
- Fastest growing banks have no actual money (SocietyOne)
- World’s largest movie house owns no cinemas (Netflix)
- Largest software vendors don’t write the apps (Apple & Google)
The Change Has Already Begun
If we look back in history data is merely doing what steam, electricity and computing have done before it. Data is already unleashing breakthroughs into the world.
DeepMind, Google’s AI platform, made history last year when its AI application AlphaGo beat the Go world champion. The remarkable nature of this historical moment was that the game Go, an ancient Chinese board game, was believed to be uncrackable by computers.
Over recent times we’ve seen many other developments that suggest we are entering the era of data:
- Crypto-currencies like BitCoin
- Self-driving cars from Google and Uber
- Google’s Pixel Buds Translate Up to 40 Languages in Real Time.
- GE’s “industrial Internet” – Siemens has built a high tech plant in Amberg which is 75% automated by software and data
Learning and problem solving will change forever. In fact, as the planet grows, there will be a growing need for addressing and improving complex systems in areas such as networks, pattern formation, and game theory.
Thinking Big About Data
Practically speaking, now is the time to think about applying data to the world. If you’re a creator or entrepreneur, ask yourself these questions to discover new data-driven products and services:
- What significant problems do I observe that create lots of data?
- How can I digitalize the data and capture it?
- What radical approach can I use to learn and solve problems in this area?
By asking these questions today, you’ll be in an excellent position to create breakthrough products and service for tomorrow.