Experts tell us that there are nearly 8 zettabytes of data out there in the world, and the count is growing fast. Much like the stuff in your attic, a lot of it is redundant. There are things you might find really interesting or valuable, and others you would prefer to forget. On all-too-rare occasions, you need something specific and you find exactly what you are looking for. When people say to me “What exactly is the cloud?” I often answer “It’s a lot like your attic.” They may walk away looking perplexed, but at least they walk away.
Suppose for example that you are the Minnesota Vikings football team, and you want to find a statistic where you come out on top over the past 5 years. Mike Rosenberg, formerly of the San Jose Mercury News, can oblige. Shortly after the San Francisco 49’ers released linebacker Aldon Smith for his fifth arrest in 3 years, Mike shared arrest records for all 32 NFL teams. Although the Vikes finished third in their division with a 7-9 record, they led all NFL teams with 18 arrests since 2010.
If you thought that lawlessness equates to toughness and toughness equates to success in professional football, note that the very successful Denver Broncos were second at 16, while the Super Bowl champion Patriots were near the bottom of the list with 5. The very tough Houston Texans (think J.J. Watt) were last on the list with 1. For the mathematically inclined, the correlation is effectively zero.
For those of us who have spent our lives trying to find something to excel at, the answer may already be out there in the cloud (but probably not in the attic).