Why data is your greatest asset (after people)

I just finished reading Google’s study 'Quantifying Movie Magic with Google Search'. If you haven’t read it yet, definitely check it out.

Essentially the report says that search activity and paid ad clicks for a given movie generally matches box office turn out. In fact, in the report, Google demonstrated this by showing data visualisations, such as a line chart with overlaid search trends and box office index results to show that they both followed a similar pattern. A scatterplot showed a positive correlation between search volume and opening weekend box office.

Honestly this should be a no brainer: that as a general habit or practice we search for what we are interested in. Personally, I think this study just demonstrates Google’s ubiquity more than anything else, and maybe that is the point of it as well.

The reason I bring this up isn’t to discuss the report, its merits, or its impact on the movie industry. I bring it up because it's the most recent and most public example of a core belief that I have: that your data is one of your most important assets, and one that's frequently overlooked.

Google doesn’t forget its data because its data is part of its reason for being. But in the day-to-day struggle and adventure of product development, it’s easy for a team or even an organisation to overlook its data. The focus is often on releasing features and products, meeting business KPIs and generally delighting users.

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