by Robert D
Climate Corporation is an insurance company that bases their insurance model on the weather; say, if a ski resort requires snow to be an effective business, they might rely on Climate Corporation’s insurance. The impressive thing about Climate Corporation is that the database used to determine insurance rates was created by two ex-Google employees, using large amounts of entirely free data. Weather patterns from the past 60 years, as well as government soil reports, and other related data, were available for free use in the database. The company is now highly successful, with little investment other than the time it took to make the database.
Essentially, the business works off selling information. Yes, insurance is involved, but the main point is, they have reasonable information to be able to predict patterns, and they use this as their business model. Seeing as how this information was all freely obtained (they didn’t even have to compile it themselves), it’s obviously a very efficient business model.
The only trick to it, is to figure out how the information works together. You can do a lot of things with mountains of data, but not if you don’t understand the data. This is why data modelling is important. On the small scale (the cupcake business), we can figure out that someone’s buying something (customer buying cupcakes), and someone’s selling them (store owner). But we also know there’s many kinds of cupcakes. Well, same thing here. The information has to be sorted out LONG before it’s crunched. What significance does soil have? Where can we find it? What do we use it with, and when? You can see it gets pretty complicated, but it’s the foundation of your business.
Hardy, Quentin. “Big Data in the Dirt (and the Cloud)” NY Times Technology. 11 October, 2011. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/11/big-data-in-the-dirt-and-the-cloud/?scp=1&sq=data&st=Search