The New Consumer Demand: I Want My MDV *


*MDV (def.) Massive Data Visualization

It’s my data.  Give it to me.  Oh, and help me leverage it, too.

This demand is customary in the business world, but increasingly it comes from the mouths of consumers.

How Did We Get Here?One way: be your own landing page link!

The consumerization of data analysis is not new. You could put your finger on any point in the timeline of humanity, as far back as the invention of the printing press.

A key inflection point in the 1980’s occurred when the widespread adoption of personal computers made us all publishers.  Later we got networked and could share our documents and spreadsheets.  It continued in the 90’s with email, and the advent of the Worldwide Web for searching and sifting, managing virtual folders, bookmarking, saving, copying, sharing etc.  In recent decade,  we built a habit of  tapping data stores for making decisions – in online shopping with its price comparison engines.  For most of us, it is now our first resort.

Today our social media tools help us to sort and manage our relationships, connections, conversations, and the statistics about those sorting processes, into visual and mental maps about our lives.   Is your organization generating customer data that’s worth sharing with your customers?

As Clay Shirky remarked in his book “Here Comes Everybody“, the problem is “not information overload, it’s filter failure”. We really can only care about the most meaningful data.  Which data is that? How do we decide? What tools are available?  I mention a few cool ones below.

The Tyranny of Time

That issue is inflated by the tyranny of time.  We each only have so many waking hours in each day.  Joke alert: I booked a couple of hours this Saturday afternoon for some spontaneity, but I may have to time shift it to Sunday. Hmm, I’ll just mark it as Tentative on both days. We’ll see.

We depend on data, and love when it is presented visually.  If you have used your smartphone to scan the merchandise QR code, or compare prices with a Google search while “showrooming” in a store, you get the value of massive data visualization on a small scale.  If you use a free GPS app on your phone to navigate to a new destination, you get it.  If you filter your Twitter feeds using Lists, you get it.

Who’s Doing It?

InMaps sample

Visualize and zoom in on your LinkedIn connections via InMaps

The new mantra is: Gimme my data, in a way that helps me gain insight to make sound decisions faster.

One problem:  detecting the useful faint signals in all that data is still a daunting task, but usually yields a few “Aha!” moments if you know how to leverage tools, whether you are a consumer, producer or business.  A few people are making progress in this area, like Coloci and LinkedIn Labs’ InMaps (visit   http://inmaps.linkedinlabs.com )which gives you a new way to visualize your connections and discover new relationships – an absolute must for any sales prospector.  In the enterprise space, new entrants like Qliktech are invigorating the space long dominated by established players like IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Microstrategy.  In the catalog retailer space, we now have Pluris Marketing.  Have you tried them?  Have you found others you’d recommend?  Are you onto the “Quantified Self” movement?  Have you synced your FitBit today?

What are you doing to give people transparent access to their data?  Whatever you decide to to, it just might make you their hero.

One Response to The New Consumer Demand: I Want My MDV *

  1. David Cutler says:

    Thanks Ed. I appreciate the reminder that this deluge of information is not my fault… but I am an enabler! The tools we use to tame the beast can turn on us (My Google Reader is jammed with optimism… but jammed). I have found comfort in a customizable news reader for my Android called Taptu. I hope it helps you with your “problem.” too.

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