When we want to talk about the importance of information in our current world, it is unavoidable to bring up stats. For example, when the Altavista Web Search Engine was launched in 1995, the amount of data on the Internet was estimated at approximately 1 terabyte. In 2014, only the annual production of the Internet was calculated at 5.5 zettabytes. Back then, it was estimated that every minute 204 million emails were sent, as well as 72 YouTube hours, 4 million new Google searches, and 216,000 new photographs in Instagram were uploaded. A few years later, the instant picture of this has changed dramatically. At the beginning of this year, the amount of total data in the world was estimated to be 44 zettabytes. Only Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and Amazon store at least 1,200 petabytes of information. The world spends almost $1 million USD per minute on commodities on the Internet. If you want to look at it another way: right now the number of bytes in the digital universe is +40 times bigger than the number of stars in the observable universe (It’s bananas!)

I'll use the images in this board to lobby for Borges. Read "The Library of Babel" and DM me on my instagram (@_tochtli) to chat about it.

The thing with this kind of stats is that it’s very easy to get lost in their immensity. As Kant would recommend, it is better to take this kind of exposure with a certain suspicion. For the German philosopher, these kinds of numbers, their large size, are more an aesthetic experience than  a rational one. The number may tell us how big the information issue is in the world, its relevance, and its power. But it really gives us very little information about how its impact gets translated into the real world, the everyday life of people, communities, and companies. This last thing is what I want to talk about today.

At this point, we can easily agree that everything produces data. Especially nowadays that the Internet of Things is already so immersed into our lives that even the fridges are constantly calculating the amount of food we happily eat or cars constantly monitoring traffic to make life a little bit less miserable when living in a city. A company is not very different. It is producing constant information. Think about your company, the people that work there, the systems you use, the tasks you performed, the decisions you make, all is data. We produce financial data, personal data, knowledge, operational data, behavioral data, online data, time data, funny data (like the number of beers the Mexico office can drink on a good day). It is structured, semi-structured, or unstructured data, it is open or closed. For example, I’m curious about our Slack Data, what does it tell us about the company culture and networks (Hey, Trevor, can you get that database for us? We promise to make something cool).

“The Library of Babel,” a design created by the architects Rice + Lipka for “Fairy-Tale Architecture,” an ongoing series in Places/ Design Observer curated & introduced by Andrew Bernheimer and Kate Bernheimer.(Lyn Rice and Astrid Lipka with Benjamin Cadena)

Companies are amazing just because they group people. Creating data is easy. Everything that we do produces it. A company is a collective being thinking, making decisions, moving, and, in our case, creating awesome things, forging connections between people, and having fun every day. Right now we are more than 80 people blowing minds together. The amount of raw information we produce is huge and is constant. Companies are amazing in that sense.

The hard part of all this is dealing with it, capturing it, organizing it, sharing it. But we need to do it. A company's potential for growth is directly connected to what it does with the data it produces. The information and knowledge produced by a company is a key asset in this digital economy. Understanding this will allow you to optimize and improve your business, give people the tools and opportunities to perform better, create opportunities for new products, or identify new markets. The big and successful companies have learned to think about their data infrastructure as a profit center instead of a cost center. We should start doing the same. After all, “Data is the new oil”, and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Borges is super cool

The challenge for this goes in two ways. First, we have to optimize the systems in which we capture data, all kinds of data. This means knowing the tools we use, tracking them, and coming up with a sense of how they are being used across the company. Our ideal goal would be to be connected, but the technological ecosystem of a company like ours is so big that right now it’s only a dream I have on Thursdays.

The second challenge is to share all this data we are gathering, with people in the organization and out of it. The solution for this is building a Wiki or an Internal Knowledge Base. basically, a hub where all the data we produced can be entered here as processed information and knowledge; a tool or a platform that will allow us to grow, to expand our teams and services, to define better practices, to educate people and other companies. And because I need to always quote Latour in everything I write, only the things that are put into an artifact, tangible support, are meant to last. Another dream that we have, but one that we are currently working on. We are building our very own Internal Knowledge Base, the Wiki 3.0 of BC, and it’s going to be awesome.
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PD. Thanks to Kira Dudsic, our amazing Ops Intern, who is helping us understand this big dream we are pursuing.