The evolution of data & the next 10 years

10 years ago, when I started my career in silicon valley data wasn’t a thing. No one was talking about recommendation engines, A/B Testing, segmentation. Companies were building pipelines themselves and BI tools were static and pretty terrible. Top schools like Carnegie Mellon and Stanford did not have data science programs.

Today data is commonplace in the valley. Every tech company has a data team. The tooling layer has become extremely specialized and has come a long way. There are probably dozens of billion dollar companies that have come out of data in the last decade.

Yet in the overall scheme of things we are relatively early in the data adoption cycle of companies. The shift so far has predominantly affected tech companies. Tech enabled or non tech businesses for the most part haven’t got any value from data. Given that there are far fewer tech companies than non tech businesses, we can clearly see that we are still early in the data revolution.

Spend some time outside America — In Asia, Europe and Australia and you will see the extent of this.

Interesting to see how this exact same thing happened with Marketing.

20 years ago ago marketing wasn’t nearly as competitive and commonplace as it is today. Digital marketing was born as Google and search started to get popular. 10 years ago this was only something tech companies focussed on.

Today, every company needs to think about how to market very early on and nearly all Series A companies have a full time marketing manager. Having an online presence and having to care what customers are saying about your brand is how we do business today. Companies that do not do this probably don’t exist any more.

The marketing revolution is 10 years ahead of what’s currently happening with data. Over the next 10 years all businesses will start to have a data hire. These businesses will be using data for optimizations. These include using data to adapt to pricing trends, getting more numbers driven to optimize your go to market strategy, optimization of business operations. Again the companies that don’t do this simply won’t be able to compete.

In some ways the data revolution is just marketing 2.0. Instead of having someone to manually look at the numbers and course correct you are going to have engineers who build algorithms and data products to find that competitive advantage. Doing it manually is going to be like bringing a gun to a drone fight.

Given that this is where we are going, what are you doing about building your data capabilities today?



Passionate about digitalizing tech enabled companies. Founder @5x Previously @WeWork @Salesforce

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Tarush Aggarwal

Passionate about digitalizing tech enabled companies. Founder @5x Previously @WeWork @Salesforce