Monday, January 30, 2017

Guide to Data - Lesson 1: 1st Party vs 3rd Party

The Crazy (real world) Guide to Data, Systems and Business as Usual
Disclaimer: This is not 100% accurate. I’m going to say its 16% accurate – read it, place 6 numbers randomly through the section, roll a dice and believe that part. Just like a real analyst.

Lesson 1: 1st Party vs 3rd Party

How data is like going out drinking.

1st Party

You know this party, you know the people in it. It’s a cool mellow scene with not much really being discussed – just pleasant conversation about nothings. Every now and then you get a snippet of really useful information. But in general you have to take whatever you get from the first party and put it into some kind of medium we you can really drill down and get personal. It’s not uncommon to take a small group from the 1st party and find a venue what is more personal and more granular.
The drinks are of high quality, the people are of high quality. In general this is the place you want to hang out – but you don’t know for how long this can remain. One out of 2 things is going to happen, either the conversation gets dry and you need to move to more exciting venues, or . One of your friends says “Hey they are doing such and such over at so-and-so’s – we should go check it out”.
This leads you to your

2nd Party

Your friend guides you though the doors of this place. They apparently know someone here – you don’t know them but you have heard them mention them in passing. Things are a little crazy here – at the first party you generally could quickly read the room, but here things are a little familiar at yet not. That guy looks like he’s having a good time, but then you realize he doesn’t seem to be wearing shoes. The alcohol is whatever the parent’s left behind, good quality, but clearly being drunk the wrong way. In fact everything is being distributed in red cups.
A few drinking games start and then you somehow end up at the…..

3rd Party

Who the hell are these people? I know literally nothing about them – but clearly we are all in the same place experiencing the same thing – so I know that. It’s not that you can’t find out about them, I mean that dude is showing everyone his social security card. Also everyone is causing a social media storm – so you know what color their cats eyes are and where they had lunch. Everyone knows everything – and yet nothing about each other. Everyone is so hammered drunk they don’t hold back the most boring details of their lives. Wine comes in bags, and beer comes in kegs……and if you are lucky you have a cup.  You are learning a lot of really useless information – but there is so much it seems good.

Of course everyone will deny what they did and said the day after. But you will be thinking to yourself “Man that 3rd party was AWESOME! I was wasted as hell – and I know so much!” right before running to the bathroom to throw up what can be best described as confusingly disaggregated chunks. How did those kernels appear? Why didn’t it get digested?