The Pursuit of Happyness is a 2006 American film about Chris Garner’s struggle, very beautifully portrayed on screen by Will Smith and a cherubic Jaden Smith. As much as I was moved by the movie itself, what has stayed with me the most, is the title. The pursuit of happiness- very succinctly summarizes in 4 words, the objective of all human endeavor. I want to now focus on four activities that have been enriched significantly by the consumerization of data and analytics and have therefore added enormous value to the common man’s effort to have a more enjoyable life.
Food is the elixir that elevates the soul. In the happiness maximization equation, it is by far, the biggest lever. Let’s look at how things have changed here.
On the one hand are websites that have captured the feedback and reactions of consumers and then analytics powered decision engines, crunch both text and numbers to provide a granular, specific and nuanced opinion.
This is a godsend for smaller restaurants that cannot afford to curry favour with major media houses and the high brow, stiff upper lip food critics (…pun intended). More importantly, in the glorious tradition of the internet itself, it puts the power onto the crowd and lets the multitude decide for themselves.
Another one of the most awesome human aspirations, the consumerization-driven by the internet has put the power squarely in the hands of the masses. Smart and agile companies operating online with nothing but data and information at their beck and call have torn down existing business models. The speed at which information is made available is enabling consumers to take data-driven decisions in real time and make the most of their hard-earned money.
The result is what would most probably have been a train journey and a 2-star hotel is now an Indigo flight and a stay at the Taj, at the same cost.
The democratization driven by the web has transformed the area of financial services beyond recognition. The information explosion online on the topic of personal finance is simply amazing. Advice on how/ when to take insurance, de-mystifying mutual funds, hidden costs in home loans, EMI calculators, comparison shopping on interest rates, organizing personal finances on INTUIT; it’s a massive empowerment of the individual through the analysis of data.
Dating & Matrimony:
This is fun. Earlier, the definitions used to be so clear cut and boxed in. If you choose, its love marriage. If your dad does it, its arranged marriage. If you choose, it’s driven by the heart and pure considerations that are at the highest levels of Maslow’s hierarchy. If your dad does it, it’s driven by materialistic realism alone.
See what has happened. Hopefuls, yearning for a life partner and their parents have taken to the computer with gusto. Very intricate algorithms, integrating the latest developments in Optimization, Game Theory and Machine Learning(!) and being leveraged to squeeze out the most desirable companion. Philosophical, material, temporal, physical, metaphysical, spiritual and even astrological considerations are all thrown into the pit by all the stakeholders together and the analytical engine spits out the answer.
Everybody gets what they want, and they happily live ever after. Isn’t it just great?
In all the above examples, my objective has been to try and illustrate how our collective lives have changed irreversibly for the better due to the information revolution. What is even more important is that the power to analyze this data deluge is now within the grasp of every person at a few clicks.
Life is Good!
BRIDGEi2i is an Analytics solutions company on a mission to unleash the power of analytics and transform the lives of enterprises and individuals alike. We believe that the solutions to almost all intractable problems lie buried inside the data. We want to be catalysts of the consumerization of analytics, which will enable everybody to make the most of their lives. To know more visit http://www.bridgei2i.com
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position or viewpoint of BRIDGEi2i.