Data management: What I learned from the 2010 Winter Olympics

Each evening over the last couple weeks I found myself sitting in front of "Sammy" (our TV made by Samsung) and doing what millions of other folks were doing, watching the 2010 Winter Olympic games which were hosted up in the Tundra which is called Canada.

Interestingly enough, I think the state of Maryland was colder and received more snow during this period, but I digress... I don't know much about these sports as I'm more of a "warm sport" and "American Football" kind of guy, but I found myself fascinated by sports which I've never watched or even knew existed previously. I think I invested close to three hours watching in the woman's curling, I can't quite figure this one out but I found it to be extremely "cool" (no pun intended).

Interestingly enough I think I learned something valuable from the snowboarding competition. The theory here is that these athletes like Shaun White had to push the limit and "throw it down" (or was it "lay it down", I have to learn a little bit of the lingo) and do tricks which nobody has either tried yet or nobody would dare to try in such an important competition. In order to achieve gold - do what nobody else is doing and if you do the same old thing you've always done or did four years ago your not going to the podium.

In many of the events these athletes were meeting or beating personal and world records. They fought through tragedy, drama and other trials such as "bad" weather (which kind of means "good" weather to some of us non-snow people) and managed to make the games an exciting event for us couch potatoes.

How does this relate to Data Management you might ask? It's simple, you need to "throw it down"! Stop doing what you've always done because yesterday's practices for solving data issues and data quality problems just isn't going to continue to work forever. Take some time out of your busy day to read about some innovative new data management practices and see what you can do to bring that innovation to your organization. Get really aggressive by pushing some of your data quality programs out as Web Services so real time applications can call them before doing inserts/updates on your tables (not an easy thing to do - more-so because it's a culture change). Build a dashboard which illustrates current data quality issues or data quality issues which you've addressed and logged. Start talking about your data management program to senior managers like it's a separate business unit instead of just a technology shop (ie. avoid technology buzz words and start using business buzz words like ROI).

Do something new and "throw it down"!

Until next time...Rich


Ken said…

I love it ! Great post.

When I saw the medals table image, I thought you were going to comment on how "reality" differs depending on where you are from (The table we see in Ireland shows Canada at the top, since they won most gold medals). That was a mere diversion.

You have taken ideas from a "different world" to your normal one, and you're applying them to Data Quality - way to go!

I completely agree with you - we all need to explore new possibilities - and apply new ideas.

Thanks for the wake up call,

Charles Blyth said…
Rich, great blog. The idea of constantly pushing the boundaries really appeals to me. It fits in with the continuous improvement model I wrote about here

See now you are writing blogs that align to mine and Jim’s, the virus is spreading
garniebolling said…
Rich, great post... "lay it down"

I like the push forward, get out of the box, get out of old thinking...

Keep it up... stepping up show accountability, and responsibility which usually drives change, and in most cases, the better...

Keep it up .

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