all bits considered data to information to knowledge

20Mar/140

Just say NO to data moochers!

The other day I stopped by a Great Clips salon to get a haircut. I was greeted with "Hi! What's your phone number?".  Then the following dialog ensued:

- Well, that's a bit personal, don't you think?

- I need it to enter into the computer! - the lady looked a bit pensive.

- I could give you my name. It's Alex  - I didn't want to cause any trouble for her, just wanted a haircut.

- Is this the name you're usually using here? I can't find you in the computer! - she sounded annoyed.

That was it for me. I muttered my thanks, and left the premises with a firm intention to boycott Great Clips from now on.

I got my haircut from a friendly neighborhood salon down the road - no questions asked.

Everybody tracks everybody nowadays. The loyalty cards, online cookies, single sign-on apps seems to be proliferating with a speed of electrical current. And I get it - Facebook collects information in exchange for providing me with a valuable service, Safeway collects my information in exchange for giving a discount etc. All this is spelled out upfront, with clear understanding of what this transaction brings to both parties. But why would Great Clips expect me to share my personal information with them for free?

On the other hand, I am wondering whether there is such thing as "data addiction", and if so - what are the health implications for the company that got into the habit? After all, a mix of data and predictive models can be, well, unpredictable.

Gaining insight from the data is great... if both data and the assumptions and the predictive models are correct. And this is a big IF.