Data: A powerful tool, under-utilized

We are all entrepreneurs.

Like the oil boom at the turn of the 20th century, we’re sitting on a very lucrative asset class – data. The problem is that it’s fragmented and owned by everyone except the creator of the data – us.

With or without knowing it, we’re all working lucrative jobs, we just aren’t collecting our paychecks. In every interaction we have; every experience we engage in; every keystroke or swipe we make (left or right) we’re creating a data point.

Right now, that data is collected by the centralized entities that facilitated these data generating experiences, and guarded more heavily than Fort Knox. Amazon knows what I’ve been buying, Google knows what I’ve been searching for, Spotify knows what I’ve been listening to and Twitter knows what I’ve been paying attention to. The data we produce is the foundation to each of these companies’ business model. Not only can they all suggest what I should be buying/searching for/listening to/reading, they can also turn around and sell my data-set to advertisers who pay big dollars for customer attribution.

There are two missed opportunities here. The first is that the data producers (you and me) don’t get to share in the profit generation from our data. The second is simply that when it comes to data, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. If the data we produce was aggregated in one central repository, the insights could be a powerful tool. If we use the above 4 stakeholders as an example (and there are many more) a central repository of my data could produce the following:

I search the lyrics of a song I heard on the radio…

– Spotify suggests a playlist of that artist as well as others I might like
– Twitter packages the latest news and content about the band
– Amazon finds me a band tee (I love band tees)
– Google finds me all the places that band in playing in my area
– Connects me with Ticketmaster for tickets
– AirBnB for accommodations
– Lyft to arrange transportation

 Not only did I have a better user experience – all of these touch-points provide an opportunity for monetization; none of them would have been possible without the shared data-set. As the owner of the data, not only do I control who I share with and how much – I’m now a stakeholder in the experiences created and share the value created. Through the blockchain I have control over my data, and can share in the profits created through it’s aggregate. The above stakeholders no longer have to hoard the slice of data they’ve collected and exploit it for all it’s worth. They’re empowered to create richer experiences. This moves the ecosystem from a combative, territorial game to a collaborative environment where real value is created and shared.

As the owner of this data, I control how much I share and who I share with – but if/when I choose to do so, the experiences can be orders of magnitude richer, and I become the key stakeholder in value generation.

Written by: Tanner Philp

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