Years ago I read one of the Freakonomics books. It was an interesting look at how we might examine our world in unexpected ways, using lots of data. While I didn't always agree with the conclusions of the authors in different areas, I did find the idea of using data to probe and examine for patterns in our world to be fascinating.
Recently I caught a podcast with the authors, and the opening question caught my eye. It was "can data save the world?", and I was hooked, needing to stop and listen to the episode. That's because I think data is the most important asset in the world today, and data is what really powers all the software we have. We need data, and we need to ensure our data has a high level of quality and integrity in order to glean information from all those bits and bytes to get value from software. Certainly software matters, but data, to me, is more important.
The authors' position is interesting in that they see data as an important part of analyzing data. The type of data, industry, organization, etc. doesn't matter, but the data also isn't necessarily enough to change someone's mind or convince them of an argument. There needs to be a story as well, which requires a different skill from that needed for analyzing data. I do think that often the way in which we present an analysis can be just as important as the data. Perhaps even more so.
What I do find interesting in the podcast is that younger companies (and people) are willing to embrace more data driven approaches. I see that often. There have been no shortage of clients in my career that were sure they knew the answer to some question about their business job without referring to any data analysis. They trusted their experience. Even if there was data that might show their conclusions were slightly erroneous, they often didn't want to change their decision or conclusion.
Humans are creatures of habit. Even those of us that embrace some change will find that we like change in some parts of our lives, but not others. If someone has had success in their career without using data to support or alter their opinions, it can be hard to get them to change. I wish I had a good method for convincing people to get started using more data, but really I think that the best idea is to find a different person to convince. If you can do so, and produce real results, then you may be able to go back to the first person and show them some evidence.
The one part of the podcast that I wish turned out different is at the end, where the authors note there isn't a good way to teach someone how to analyze data and tell a story. They thought about creating their own curriculum, but gave up. It's too much work, and apparently they weren't sure they could do a good job.
They imply this is harder than teaching someone to program, which is disappointing as we have lots of programmers that need help as well. If we can't teach programmers at any scale, what does that mean for data scientists? The one part I would agree with them on is that data science is a great area to move towards your career if you have the talent.
The industry standard for comparing and deploying SQL Server database schemas
Trusted by 71% of Fortune 100 companies, SQL Compare is the fastest way to compare changes, and create and deploy error-free scripts in minutes. Plus you can easily find and fix errors caused by database differences. Download your free trial
In SQL Compare 13.1, Redgate have updated the interactive HTML comparison report type, providing simpler cleaner reports that focus on the differences between the compared databases. This blog post looks at the details of what's new. More »
It's easy to find basic SQL syntax and keyword information online. What's hard to find is challenging, well-designed, real-world problems—the type of problems that come up all the time when you're dealing with data. Learning how to solve these problems will give you the skill and confidence to step up in your career. Get your copy from Amazon today.
Yesterday's Question of the Day
(by Steve Jones):
How can I disable soft-NUMA in SQL Server 2016?
Answer: Use ALTER SERVER CONFIGURATION and the SET SOFTNUMA parameter
The ALTER SERVER CONFIGURATION command is used. There is a soft_numa parameter that is set to OFF. This does require an instance restart.
Bulk insert statement cannto open file on the share
- I am trying to execute a bulk insert statement in SQL management studio.
FIELDTERMINATOR = ',',
ROWTERMINATOR = ''
Cannot bulk load because...
This newsletter was sent to you because you signed up at SQLServerCentral.com.
Feel free to forward this to any colleagues that you think might be interested.
If you have received this email from a colleague, you can register to receive it here.