Going on a Data Diet, my New Years Resolution


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As New Years resolutions go, they are fun and provide an opportunity to reflect, to set a course for the next year. About 45% of Americans make them, while only about 8% of those that do are actually successful in achieving the resolution. That said, 75% of us to do make it through the first week!

Here are a 7 of the top ten New Years Resolutions for 2012 (link):

  • Lose Weight
  • Getting Organized
  • Spend Less, Save More
  • Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  • Staying Fit and Healthy
  • Learn Something Exciting
  • Quit Smoking

My perspective (and the relevance to the title of this post):

Losing weight, more often than not, is an outcome of the next four in the top five, and anathema to number seven and might be simply the wrong focus. Yes, food provides sustenance, but in life and in tech we do need to watch what we eat. If we listen to all the advice givers, we can keep consuming data (personally and in business) that will somehow provide value. Disk space is cheap, collect it now and we will figure out later what to do with it. The fun question is whether all data is created equal. Like the physical counterpart, are we talking fruits and vegetables or empty calories?

Likes and follows are the empty calories of the data world. Spend the time focusing on the data that will actually help you to achieve your goals, not just the vanity metrics. This might mean consuming less not more, and spending some time looking at the menu and deciding what to eat. Some of the traditional metrics still apply, as a matter of fact, friend Sameer Patel shared some interesting statistics about email (nope, not going away and there is an indirect food reference as well). It is hard work to read the menu and determine what it nutritious and what is not.

It is not only about what is consumed, it is how you use it

Exercise is the activity where you put physical or mental energy towards a task – yes, the same in business; it takes effort and energy to determine what needs to be done. There are no easy answers, getting fit will take trial and error, persistence and determination. Like many activities we do for fun, this kind of work is better suited for collaborative efforts, not in isolation.

Just as you do in life, if you want your business to stay healthy, focus on the activities required to keep fit. I am not suggesting to overhaul everything that you are recording, measuring and consuming. A full about face will cause the same type of rejection as a full overhaul of your personal diet. Take it slow, make changes slowly and do not expect results in the first few weeks.

Best of Luck….



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