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Think Like a Billionaire. Think Clean Data

Steve Ballmer the multibillionaire former CEO of Microsoft could very justifiably purchase a beach mansion in the Bahamas, erect a hammock and not have to lift a finger for the rest of his life.

But there is more on the mind of Ballmer, and that’s why he has chosen to write $10 million worth of personal cheques to USAfacts.org. A website which aims to provide accurate, accessible USA governmental data for everyone. It is a user friendly site which provides a wide range of statistics from how much tax US citizens pay to divorce rates.

Launched on April 18th 2017, USAfacts.org had so much traffic on its first day that it crashed for hours. Within 48 hours it had had more than half a million visitors and over 2 million page views. So it would seem Steve Ballmer is not the only one who cares about clean data.

Ballmer hopes that with a clear set of data at the hands of ordinary Americans, people will be able to make the best, informed decisions regarding political elections. In his own words “I’m a numbers guy. They’re how I understand the world – what’s good and what’s bad, what’s working and what isn’t”.

Do Business like a Microsoft CEO

Data is at the centre of all decisions we make. Our brains are subconsciously taking in masses of information every second. It is therefore so important that you provide your brain and computer systems with clean and easily accessible data.

All over the world, businesses make erroneous decisions simply because they had poor data to work with or couldn’t find the data that they needed. A problem that is easily avoided.

If Billionaire Steve Ballmer finds clean data such a meaningful pursuit then surely it should be first on your to do list.

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

Below we will look at three ways that data can affect your business. One good, one bad and one downright ugly.

With good data, really good things can happen. Organizations can leverage their goldmine of data to achieve a wide range of business goals from automating workflows in order to save time and money to improving customer satisfaction.

The opportunities that having good data provide are endless. The world really becomes your oyster as you choose to apply your data towards an expansive range of possibilities.

With bad data, bad things can happen. Automated processes come to a halt or can’t be implemented.  Process automation absolutely requires clean, consistent data. If data becomes inconsistent, it can break processes. Likewise processes can be directed incorrectly because bad data guides them in the wrong direction.

With bad data as with good data, the possible outcomes are endless however with a negative spin. Bad data can cause havoc with all business systems, interpersonal and computational.

With bad data, the effects can become ugly very quickly. It is the problem that Steve Ballmer is trying to avoid with USAfacts.org. It is the continuous stream of bad decisions based on incomplete poor data.

There are no bounds to the destruction that bad decisions can have on your business. Every aspect of business from asset allocation to human resources can be affected. Decisions are at the root of everything we do and without quality data how can we expect to trust our decisions?

 

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Comment by Rick Henderson on December 1, 2017 at 4:43am

Just taking a look at the site and diving down a little bit. Stuff like this doesn't help Clean Data or reproducible research: 

Sources for this data are coming soon.

Comment by Rick Henderson on December 1, 2017 at 4:40am

Nice post Martin. I'm always looking for sources of good data and I had never heard of USAFacts before.

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