BIG DATA SUCCESS STORIES: Take Them with a Grain of Salt

[ Fri. Mar. 8. 2013 ]

For every successful “Big Data”  case study listed in Harvard Business Review, Fortune or the like, there are thousands of many failures. It’s a problem of cherry-picking “success stories,” or assuming that most companies are harvesting extreme insights from Big Data Analytics projects, when in fact there is a figurative graveyard of big data failures that we never see.

“Big Data” is a hot topic. There are blogs, articles, analyst briefs and practitioner guides on how to do “Big Data Analytics” correctly. And case studies produced by academics and vendors alike seem to portray that everyone is having success with Big Data analytics (i.e. uncovering insights and making lots of money).

In an article, author and trader Nassim Taleb highlights the problem of observation bias or cherry-picking success stories while ignoring the “graveyard” of failures. It’s easy to pick out the attributes of so-called “winners," while ignoring that failures likely shared similar traits. ...