In perusing Nick Carr's blog today, I read his analysis of Google's voracious appetite for data and, in so doing, bumped into this exceptional blog post from Brad Burnham in which he dissects the importance of data to Google.
In the course of his argument, Burnham says something that hit me like a thunderbolt:
Data has this really weird quality. In economic terms data has an increasing marginal utility. Anyone who took Econ 101 knows that most physical objects have a decreasing marginal utility. When it is raining my first umbrella keeps me dry, a second may be handy if the first blows out, but a third is unlikely to be used. This is true of shirts, steaks, houses, of almost anything you can think of except data.… Read more