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Data Is The New Soil

In 2013, Mark Cameron wrote

‘Data is not the new oil, it is the new soil.’

He concludes;

"Generating business value from consumer data isn’t about technology at all. It’s about how you use data to create a fantastic experience for your customers. If you can help your customer get value from their own information they will reward you for that effort. If you continue to use data to spam your customers or provide value to your company, you may find yourself wondering where everybody went."

💬 Mark Cameron

IMHO it's a soft article with most of the cleverness centering on the (S)oil pun.

Data is the new .... was the theme of an article I wrote for BizCatalyst a few years ago; Time To Terminate Analogies

"Sure, we wrap the idea up in customer care and nurturing, just as one does when growing plants in a garden, but at the end of the day Cameron’s argument – which seems to emerge from the work of David McCandless who writes at Information is Beautiful is simply a clever play on ‘(s)oil’ and sits squarely in old thinking. "

💬 John Philpin

“The soil analogy is certainly better than big oil but to me, it’s still about personal data being something that’s owned and used by marketers, rather than recognizing that data is used by all of us – both individually and collectively.”

💬 StJohn Deakins


But It Just Got Better

The other day an interview with Jerry Michalski appeared in one of my feeds, where he talked about Data Is TheNew Soil - nice piece - though no mention of Mark Cameron (rightly probably).

I still think the analogy needs to die - but there was a lot more insight and thinking around the idea (definitely not surprised - Jerry is a thinker). I can highly recommend the whole article which isn't just about the (s)oil pun, but includes many other topics, including these that tickled my particular fancy.

  • Idea Superconductivity
  • The Betterverse - not the Metaverse
  • Linky Prose
  • The importance of breaking Zettlekastens out of their private spaces
  • Liquid Democracy

and a whole lot more.

Do take some time out and have a proper read.


Post Script

In case you were wondering .. yes this is the same Jerry that runs Jerry’s Brain. I am even in there - though it is clear that a few updates are needed!

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The Marketoonist Nails Data Protection

Walled Gardens
GDPR Compliance
Relevant Advertising
Zero Party Data, First-Party Data, Second-Party Data and Third-Party Data
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The Coup We Are Not Talking About

Shoshana Zuboff calls this development The Coup We Are Not Talking About. The subhead of that essay makes the choice clear: We can have democracy, or we can have a surveillance society, but we cannot have both. Her book, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power, gave us a name for what we’re up against. A bestseller, it is now published in twenty-six languages. But our collective oblivity is also massive.

💬 Doc Searls (my emphasis)

Hear her speak

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We need to get beyond sharing data. The only way to do that is to send the code to the data instead of sending data to the code.

David Huseby
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When Zero Is Everything

For decades, the business world has embraced worker empowerment. But recently a countermovement—workforce optimization—has been on the rise. It treats labor as a commodity and seeks to cut it to a minimum by using automation and artificial intelligence, tightly controlling how people do their jobs, and replacing employees with contractors. This approach is especially prevalent in the tech sector and the gig economy. And it is cause for deep concern.

Peter Cappelli

I can only agree.

Read what Doc Searls has to say about Zero Party Data

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Three Scenarios for Rolling Back Surveillance Capitalism

Johannes Ernst