Art vs. Science in Retail: Part 2

In the editorial of my March technology e-newsletter, "Art vs. Science in Retail," I examined the power of "gut decisions" of experienced grocers versus that of Big Data analysis. In the post, I reference a paragraph from technology author Chris Surdak's "Data Crush, How the Information Tidal Wave is Driving New Business Opportunities."

Surdak was kind enough to weigh in with some great points of his own. I share them below:

I'd like to weigh in on your question of whether science will completely replace art in retail. My sense is that it definitely won't. Rather, the science will allow those with knowledge or talent to have and use more of both.

What data scientist[s] need in order to do their thing is data and questions. The questions must come from those with good insight and/or experience. Whomever can figure out the best questions to ask will get the best answers, and create substantial competitive advantage as a result.

So, art becomes more important, not less so. An interesting corollary is this: if you're not the best at what you do, you might be irrelevant. Much like in professional sports, where if you're the 65th best quarterback in the world, then you probably work at Walmart, instead of the NFL. Those with the greatest talent will command exorbitant salaries for their expertise. Those who are less talented will be unemployed. This is an upswing of the multiplying effect that data analytics has on individual talent.

My 2 cents.


Chris Surdak 

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