Data is the New Oil

In 2006, British mathematician Clive Humby coined the phrase “Data is the new oil”.

For some reasons, people twisted it into something like … “Data in the 21st Century is like Oil in the 18th Century: an immensely, untapped valuable asset. Like oil, for those who see Data’s fundamental value and learn to extract and use it there will be huge rewards.” ( In other words, it’s suggested that our data is like a gushing oil well and that we ought to be claiming an ownership stake in the profits flowing from that data.

Nothing wrong with that, but what Mr. Humby really meant was … Data, like oil, must be refined and transformed to make it into useful products and services. Only then does it become valuable. In other words, data must be processed and analysed for it to have value.

Having data is not the key, every company has lots of data. However, the key is whether you have transformed your data, to information, to knowledge, to actionable insights and ultimately, great products / services.

Now, your move …

Two New Years

We are lucky ones in this part of the world, as every year we have two New Years – one Gregorian New Year and one Lunar New Year.

In other words, we have two year ends, we can reflect on our works two times and also two chances to plan ahead for the coming year. In fact, we can even prepare two New Year’s resolutions, if the first one didn’t work out.

So let’s prepare for the work post-COVID-19 … what are your focuses ?

Keep Trying

You likely have one of these at home, a solvent made with some blends of lubricants. It was developed by Rocket Chemical Company back in 1953 to prevent corrosion by displacing water.

Naturally, WD stands for “water displacement”. However, believe it or not, 40 means the 40th attempt … yes the company succeeded on the 40th try, and then used it as part of the product name.

How many times have you tried, before you developed the right products ? 4, 40, 400 ?

Achieving Perfection

You probably came across the following quote before, which paraphrases (and abbreviated) a great quote from French writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupery, who’s best remembered for his novella “The Little Prince (Le Petit Prince)”.

What you probably don’t know, however, is this great quote came from his autobiography and the original context was about airplane engineering, as he was also a great aviator.

If you are designing a new website, developing a new application, or building a new MVP; may I suggest you to take a pause, and ask yourself – Are you adding features, or removing ones ? Are your products achieving perfection ? If not, what are you going to do next ?