In the first article, he makes the case for data as a marketing vehicle:
In the near term, learn to think of data as an asset, and be creative. Data shapes conversations and markets. But data doesn’t come to you — organizationally, the gathering, filtering, curation, visualization and publishing of data will in many cases require a reorientation of the marketing function and its relationship to other roles, but it is well worth it.
What is happening is that companies large and small are starting to turn on to the idea of the data as an asset — and not only that, but a marketing asset — one that can be used to shape discourse in ways that no number of retweets ever can.
He also has a terrific section on metadata, which just to give you a taste of his position:
The core thing to understand about metadata, especially if you’re not technical, is that eventually, marketing will no longer be something that happens based on top of data, and the insights gained therein. It will happen literally inside the data, as a constituent part of it.
Well said! The second article is a follow-up, further championing the future of data in the limelight. (He also kindly quotes my article on semantic marketing — hard to believe that was written almost two years ago now.)
I won’t reproduce the columns more here — click through to Mashable to read them in full — but I will repost the comment I made to his second article, after reading some of people’s reactions:
The way in which we’ve dealt with data in our lives and our businesses up to now has been sort of haphazard at best. As humans, we have an amazing set of innate abilities, but intuitively working with data is, alas, not one of them. So there are plenty of stories, such as were related in the comments here, about using data to justify anything, muddy the truth, and abuse privacy.
So naturally, there’s some trepidation about elevating data even further.
But I contend that the “data web” of the near future will be something qualitatively different, not a linear extrapolation of the role of data today.
As an analogy, picture the web back in 1993. It was pretty primitive, mostly anti-commercial, and only a handful of hacker-types knew how to build things with HTML. At that point, it would have been difficult for most of us to imagine what it would become within the next 10 years. That millions of us would now be effortlessly creating and interlinking content and services — and that billions of us would be using it throughout our lives as smoothly as we consume electricity — is nothing short of astounding.
It took a lot of imagination, experimentation, and entrepreneurial hutzpah to get there. But what a fantastic journey it’s been. I’d encourage folks to open their minds to such a Renaissance with data and the web.
The data web won’t be nirvana — certainly the web we know and love today isn’t. But like the web, I believe the positive will outweigh the negative.