Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, er, Failure

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm. Now.  Can I have my cigar back?
Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
Now. Can I have my cigar back?

In this age of Big Data, the emerging field of Data Science is promising breakthrough changes for companies by looking at, well, everything, in new and different ways. It is true that some significant changes and new ideas are coming out of the Data Science realm.

What disturbs me is if one was to search about Data Science there is almost no mention of one of the most scientific aspects of Data Science – the significant failure rate. The Scientific Method uses experiments and experiments often fail. From that failure, much can be learned and eventually lead to success.

Data Science is similar. But as it is being packaged to the CEO’s of the world, it looks like one merely has to pour in the data and out pops breakthrough solutions to problems. The rubble of the 99 experiments that were required to get that 1 breakthrough is not mentioned.

Corporations generally do not view failure favorably. If the wreckage that Data Science requires to find a solution is downplayed or ignored, it could lead to a significant disconnect in expectations.

By the way – Churchill’s expression in this famous photo is because the photographer pulled his iconic cigar out of his mouth.

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