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Why Big Data has no place in Raising Assets but Sherlock Holmes does

Published: 15 March, 2016

Big data and anyone talking about it in financial services knows nothing – and I mean nothing – about big data, financial services and/ or raising assets.

Having worked in the field of data, finance and asset raising for most of my 20 year career, raising assets using data, analytics and digital marketing is about understanding and using “small data”.

Small data is about providing meaningful insights organised and packaged – often visually in charts or spreadsheets – to be understandable, and actionable for everyday tasks.

Big data has its place in understanding trends but does nothing to identify what is referred to as “actionable actions” which directly assist the asset raising process.

If your “Big Data” project is not giving you actionable tasks to raise and preserve AuM then maybe you could ask Watson!

Ask your “Big Data” system or Siri or Cortana the following questions:

  • Which of our Prospects are looking to invest
  • Which of our Investors are looking to redeem
  • Where are the cross-selling opportunities for our fund
  • Which of our Prospects/ Investors that have suddenly started reading our information
  • Who are the Prospects/ Investors that are continually reading our information
  • How many Prospects/ Investors that have stopped reading our information
  • What are the messages, content and themes that are most read by our Prospects/Investors

And you probably get directions to your nearest take-away or the dreaded Watson error thinking that Toronto was in the US!!

Whenever I hear someone talking about Big Data, Machine Learning and such “geekular drivel”, I recall this following conversation between Dr. Watson and Sherlock Holmes (even though the Watson IBM refers to is IBM’s first CEO and industrialist Thomas J. Watson):

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson decide to go on a camping trip. After dinner and a bottle of wine, they lay down for the night, and go to sleep.

Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend.

“Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.”

Watson replied, “I see millions of stars.”

“What does that tell you?”

Watson pondered for a minute.

“Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets.”

“Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo.”

“Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three.”

“Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful and that we are small and insignificant.”

“Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow.”

“What does it tell you, Holmes?”

Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke: “Watson, you idiot. Some b****** has stolen our ****ing tent!”

Holmes really did understand “Small Data

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