Data… it's currency!

Sean Park

Sean Park

I’m a reader of Sean Park’s blog, the Park Paradigm. It’s a good blog despite the fact that it has his face in the header and has the word ‘paradigm’ in the title. I know, I know, it’s an alliteration and that’s cool. Yes, if the domain name “MentalMastication.com” were not taken I would have had an alliteration too. But anyway, besides having a pretty face and a fancy blog, Sean’s a good thinker. While I’m trying to remember the difference between a hash in Perl and a data frame in R, he’s pondering the weighty strategic issues around financial service business models. I’m a practitioner of financial models and Sean buys and sells guys like me over a biscotti and venti lowfat decaf vanilla lata with extra sugar and whipped cream. But today I was reminded of Sean when I was on the phone with a colleague. I’ll call the colleague “Kim” because to use her real name, “Betty Sue Williams” would be tacky. So the conversation went like this:

Kim: “JD, I had an interesting conversation with a broker in Paris”

Me: “No kidding? I just bought some more RAM for my computer at Buy.com. Can your broker friend come install it for me, or does he still have a job.”

Kim: “No seriously, he wants to improve his models and would like our South China data.”

Me: “South China data, tell him to go fug himself. What’s he going to give us for that?”

Kim: “France data.”

Me: “Would he like that on a DVD or an FTP site?”

The way this ties back to Sean is he’s been saying for years that one of the currencies of business used to be information (rumors, inside skinny, etc.) and now it’s data.

Here’s a quote from a 2003 report written by Sean while at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein

The ability to store,manage and manipulate data is the single most daunting challenge faced today in the capital markets arena and will ultimately play a determining role in defining leadership in the new era. As financial markets harness the exponentially growing power of information,their reliance on complete,robust and accurate data multiplies accordingly.Unfortunately for most financial institutions and investment banks this is an area that is too often delegated (or relegated) to the dusty corners of operations or IT and does not enjoy either the focus or the understanding by senior management that it deserves.

Sean linked to that article in a blog post this week. I was reminded of the blog post when having the discussion about data with my colleague. You know, this reliance on data and the ability to manipulate said data is why I am a VP and I write code and manipulate data. My boss? The Senior VP? Yeah, he writes code and manipulates data. This isn’t a job for code monkeys, it’s our strategic advantage.

I also got a chuckle when I read the DKW Article and saw the quote Sean used at the top from Pablo Picasso.  Remember those flat book mark pens mentioned last Thursday? They have quotes on them:

Flat Pen

JD's Fancy Flat Pen

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