Do we understand data?

Nobody can correlate anything around here – I mean Nigeria. For example we still can’t wrap our heads around the idea that 170 million Wazobians crammed into Nigeria is a joke. Someone pointed to the number of GSM lines but wait, can’t he see that everyone has at least 2 lines? Now that the networks are a bit better and guys are dumping the other SIMs – invariably for the first time ever, the number of active lines in Nigeria declined. Maybe people are dying off but I doubt it, in fact almost all my friends are popping twins while slowmos like me are doing it one at a time.

What’s the rant?

We simply don’t understand data. We don’t know what it means to have complete and accurate data about anyone. Check any bank’s database, what you see there is poultry carpet. Phone numbers are wrong; addresses point to a dung yard. In fact many names are not spelled correctly and sometimes some customers are born in the future. But the most important things – customer balance and transactions are always OK. Interesting!

The Telcos amassed a Mount Everest size data during the last government enforced registration but what are they doing with it? Probably the silly admin is using it to find the age of his girlfriend’s sister and deciding if hitting on her could be term pedophilic.

Meanwhile NIMC is running around to look for the same data about everyone. FRSC is doing same. The Police are also on the racket. Yet that data is there, right under our noses. Why can’t they start from there? Why can’t banks and others who want to verify identity (like the dude stepping up to my younger sis) connect via some open standard web API to check things out. Why can’t your mobile phone number be your ID number? Basic rule, telcos can never recycle numbers again. If you have gazillion number of SIMs then they are also your identity. Most people I know have many names; even married girls dump their fathers’ names and yet never lose their identity, per se.

Back to my insurance company – they sent me text message wishing me a happy birthday 5 months after I did it all because some nincompoop mistyped my birthday. If they think data is serious, someone should have cross-checked that. After all, they never advanced me a free year insurance by mistake. Can you spot their priorities?

Ok. Rant over. Time to hit the sack. Good night boys.

Comments 4

  1. Radiant wrote:

    Still here?

    Posted 30 Oct 2013 at 4:28 pm
  2. Radiant wrote:

    Okay, I read. And the rant made sense.

    Posted 02 Nov 2013 at 11:18 am
  3. If-i wrote:

    Apart from customer bdays in the future(which a simple code can take care of ) how exactly can people determine they have ‘bad’ data? do we have well labelled houses n roads?( ask the almighty google maps abt their customer experience in nigeria). so back to the data gist.. so howz to tell if u really live at No 21 abimbola str or No 12 Bolabim str?

    I agree we have a lot to do with data but it goes way beyond keying in data properly, the underlying framework is faulty so there is no means of verifying what anyone has supplied.

    Posted 08 Nov 2013 at 10:45 am
  4. Fine boy wrote:

    Reading through a bit of your perceptions which I agree are factual, most are directed to the banks! Lool! Are these institutions under siege pls? Not judging though. For laffs only.

    Posted 18 Feb 2014 at 2:04 pm

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