Kin Lane

The Oil Industry Waking Up To Data Being The New Oil

When you hang out in startup circles you hear the phrase, “data is the new oil” a lot. Getting rights to the mining and extracting, and generating revenue from data is big business, and VC, Hedge Funds, and even government are getting in on the game. Whether it is gathered from private or public sectors, or in your living room and pocket, everyone wants access to data.

One sign that this discussion is reaching new levels, is that the oil industry is talking about data being the new oil. That is right. I’m increasingly coming across stories about big data and the revenue opportunities derived from data when it comes to IoT, social, and many other trending sectors. The big oil supply chain has access to a lot of data to support its efforts, as well as generated from the exhaust of daily oil production to consumption–the opportunity is real man!

To entrepreneurs this shift is exciting I’m sure. To me, it’s troubling. Wall Street turning their sites to the data opportunity, and hedge funds getting in on the game worried me, but big oil being interested an even greater sign that things are reaching some extreme levels. It is one thing to use data is the new oil as a skeuomorph to find investment in your startup, or acquire new customers. It is another thing for the folks behind big oil to be paying attention–these are the same people who like to start wars to get at what they want.

Anyways, it is just one of many troubling signs emerging across the landscape. Many of my readers will dismiss as meaningless, but these discussions are just signs of an overall illness around how we see data, privacy, and security. Remember when we’d topple dictators to get at oil resources in the world? Well, welcome to the new world where you topple democracies if you have access to the right data resources.