Search Engines and the Illusion of Comprehensiveness

Lots of information is ridiculously easy to find these days.  GDP of Argentina?  Check.  Last quarter’s earnings at Google?  They’re everywhere.  But as soon as you start trying to do more in-depth research, you become painfully aware of the ongoing limitations of the current search engine paradigm.

For example, try doing basic background research on, say, Oracle’s marketing strategy.  You’ll quickly find that out of the top 50 results on Google, half are either redundant or spammy (companies like Highbeam trying to get you to sign up for their subscription services), another 40% have marginally useful but redundant information (all linking to the same press release, for example), and only the remaining 10% really provide much value. Continue reading Search Engines and the Illusion of Comprehensiveness

Dealing with Information Overload in Business Analysis

It’s interesting to think about how business research and analysis has changed over time.  As recently as the 80′s, analyses were done with slide rules and presentations were done with stencils.  Office applications have of course changed all that, of course.  The amount of data and analysis available has increased dramatically too. Everyone has search engines, market research reports, investor filings, blog posts, and all manner of information at their fingertips much more than in the past. But somehow research is still often a maddening process.  Now there’s too much data, and many times sifting through it is now the real challenge.  Most information sources are poorly organized, and there’s a great deal of inaccurate or redundant data out there as well.  At the same time, everyone’s expectations for work products have risen.

Of course, there are plenty of tools out there that aim to cure these headaches.  Continue reading Dealing with Information Overload