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Big Data Bungee Jumping

April 9, 2015

The Kawarau Bridge Bungy, pictured here, is the earlist commercial bungy operation. Queenstown, New Zealand

Applying data science to business, and bungee jumping, have too much in common.

There is the committment from the top — in bungee, that’s your brain — that you’re going to make the jump. WIthout this committment, you are going nowhere, with bungee or with big data.

There is encouragement from the leaders: Others have preceded you, and report great satisfaction. Have a go!

There is the motivation: crossing a big item off your bucket list, plus bragging rights. With data science, the profits, revenues, savings, and/or strategic insights will make the effort more than worthwhile.

But then, there you are standing on the edge of precipice, cord tied to your ankle, and the truly unsafe feeling that you are going head-first, uncontrolled, into uncharted waters. (Literally, in the case of bungee jumping). With your data science inititatives, you have only a sketchy vision, an untested strategy, complete unfamiliarity with the process, and instincts that tell you to draw back.

Suddenly, committment from the top evaporates. You reach down to unhook yourself from the plan. Your resources are about to be reallocated.

In bungee jumping, this is when you get shoved off your perch.

In data science initiatives, only committment will get the organization off its perch.

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