This article is written by Jeremiah Uke, a Contributor Author at Startup Istanbul.
Alex Salkever is a writer, futurist and technology leader. He is the co-author with Vivek Wadhwa of “The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Can Change the Future”. Alex has served as a senior executive at a host of Silicon Valley startups in green technology, data science, open government, and cloud computing. He has been a senior leader at respected brands in technology, most recently at Mozilla where he served as a vice president. He was present at Startup Turkey Demo day, where he talked about data and trust.
The importance of data in our world today is largely underrated, every system on the globe largely depends on data, government, education, healthcare, technology, business, agriculture amongst others all depend on data. Data can be represented by the littlest piece of information about anything, our data pretty much determines the way we run our lives daily and paying more attention to your personal data is something that can prove to be very beneficial.
According to Alex Salkever, one of the speakers at Startup Turkey 2018 who is also the author of the book “The driver in the driverless car”, data is oxygen, meaning that we can not do without data, during his session he talks about how data can be your best friend and also your worst enemy as a startup, in his words your data can help you “grow” or “burn”, he goes on to say that every business is built on “data” and while most startups focus on raising funds and making more money, they need to pay more attention to how they use data.
As a startup, data represents all the information you have on your user base, from the names, emails or phone numbers of your users to how frequently or the manner at which particular users use your service, depending on how you deal with your data, it can improve your service, and also cause a decline if you do not pay the right attention to it. Paying attention to your data can mean taking simple steps such as refactoring what data you take, checking if your data is being used the right way, paying attention to simple details such as user preferences while using your service, collecting the right data for the right purposes, backing up your database for safety or even checking if you get you data from the right sources. Properly informed data decisions can make you give your users surveys to get better details, or even do things like sending your users birthday messages.
There are lots of examples of startups or businesses using data in right and wrong ways, today e-commerce websites show users products based on their similarity with products the user have previously purchased, bank ATM’s pop up the last amount you withdrew and ask “would you like to withdraw this again?” immediately you slot in your card. Concepts such as facial recognition and geo-tagging are now commonly used on social networks, a lot of services now ask for users to partake in surveys to improve service delivery.
A relatively new concept that has to do with data today is the concept of big data, which is a term used for extremely large sets of data