This is the age of abundance. More than that, abundance that is easily accessible anytime, anywhere and using any method.
There is abundance of data – On every possible economic and social activity imaginable. All accessible with tools you already know or with just few lines of code. More data in more quantities on more topics are now available than ever before and it will only increase with time. Granted, sometimes it is easy but not free, but for less than the cost of good bottle of wine you can tap into incredible data sets.
There is abundance of compute – From your own computer to the power to tap into nearly unlimited compute farm in the cloud. All available on demand, when you need it without need for investments or your own IT team. I am talking about individuals with such access to abundance, not just firms. If what you get for free is not enough, for less than the cost of a bagel (without schmear) you can let loose amazing compute power on that abundance of data you have access to.
There is abundance of knowledge – Do you want to do simple data manipulation with Excel? Or do you want to get data from a source using its API with any programming language? How about unleashing a cloud compute farm on massive data sets? What sounds like a complicated project is broken down to its parts and taught to you in few easy steps.
So there is no scarcity of data, no dearth of tools and no dearth of how to put these together. What is scarce?
Application of mind. There is real and significant lack of critical application of mind. Unless you have a nagging question to ask or a problem that just won’t go away there is no use for the aforementioned abundance. Unless you are insatiable – have bottomless curiosity and persistent in keeping with a problem – there is no value creation. If you willfully suspend your curiosity or don’t feel the constant pain of unresolved problem, there is not much all that data, compute and knowledge can do for you.
What is missing is you. Your mind. A mind that has innumerable questions and feels restless about those questions. Only that can bring together all the abundance to create real value.
Just add mind!