Why Is Good Business Information So Scarce?

I recently came across this O’Reilly post about CrunchBase, the open database of information on startup companies, asking whether CrunchBase will remain free in the long term.  While the post itself is interesting, the part that puzzles me is why there is so little business-oriented information freely available out there.  Data as a service has been generating a lot of excitement recently, and I think it’s well warranted.  However, the only prominent sources of open business information are the SEC’s Edgar database, LinkedIn, and CrunchBase.  After that, the field gets very thin.  Considering how much effort companies put into business intelligence and competitive intelligence, it seems like there should be a great profit motive for someone to provide a deeper business information layer.  So I don’t really understand why we’re in this situation, but it does seem like a big opportunity. Continue reading Why Is Good Business Information So Scarce?


Search Engine Best Practices

Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time on search engines, and I have come up with a list of personal best practices in my attempts to be efficient at finding information.  While I don’t think most business research projects projects should start with a search engine, being efficient at filtering through all the information out there is still important. Continue reading Search Engine Best Practices


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