Staying focused in a data-rich world

“The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”  —Michael Porter

Nearly everywhere I go, or every event I attend, people are looking down at their smartphones or tablets.

This trend, in my view, will only accelerate in the future. Are today’s teenagers and future adults, going to become less attached to these devices? Probably not.

As such, every business, especially if you are publicly traded entity, is thinking about its digital strategy, in my opinion.


Big Picture

Yet look at the big picture: How much does one digital strategy differ from another? Is there a competitive advantage there?

Some of this depends on the industry player. Amazon (AMZN), for instance, has access to billions of bits of data about its customers that spans decades.

In other words, Jeff Bezos has plenty more data about consumer buying patterns than a typical startup.

AI Strategies

That said, Amazon competes with Costco (COST), Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT), all of which are pouring resources into their artificial intelligence capabilities.

Each of these competitors need to assess the quality of the data and harvest insights.

For those of us in smaller organizations, data should obviously be used to help drive all kinds of productivity gains in terms of making more effective decisions and improving operational efficiency.

Focus Matters

Yet the idea that I can design an algorithm that has the ability to compete with Vanguard, Fidelity, and Schwab is probably far fetched.

I do compete with any entity which operates in equity analysis and investing.

My expertise is analyzing, sizing up companies and deciding if there’s an investment opportunity.


By limiting the sphere of what I am trying to accomplish for clients, the objective is to obtain better results for them.

Over the long term, if I do this well enough, at some point, maybe I can consider building a data-driven strategy to enhance what I currently do.

Photo Credit: Learntek via Flickr Creative Commons