DataMarket blog

Data, visualization and startup life

The 11 Best Data Quotes

with 12 comments

Ever since before starting DataMarket back in 2008, I’ve been collecting funny, insightful and thought-provoking quotes about data and information. Here is my current list of top 11 favorites:

  • 11. Many have tried to describe the importance of data in industrial, or even agricultural terms

    Data are becoming the new raw material of business

    - Craig Mundie, head of research and strategy, Microsoft

    Data is the new oil!

    - Clive Humby, ANA Senior marketer’s summit, 2006

    Information is the oil of the 21st century, and analytics is the combustion engine,”

    - Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner

    Data is the new oil? No: Data is the new soil.

    - David McCandless, TEDGlobal, 2010

  • 10. …others in terms of previous breakthroughs in IT

    Data is the Next Intel Inside

    - Tim O’Reilly, What Is Web 2.0

  • 9. The love of data visualization is not new

    There is a magic in graphs. The profile of a curve reveals in a flash a whole situation — the life history of an epidemic, a panic, or an era of prosperity. The curve informs the mind, awakens the imagination, convinces.

    - Henry D. Hubbard, 1939

  • 8. First we have data…

    It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.

    - Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Scarlett (Arthur Conan Doyle)

  • 7. …the rest is built on top

    You can have data without information, but you cannot have information without data.

    - Daniel Keys Moran

  • 6. He may not have always played by the book, but he knew what was needed to get the job done

    The most valuable commodity I know of is information.

    - Gordon Gekko, Wall Street (1987)

  • 5. A reminder to be careful in your analysis and don’t stretch to get the results you’d like

    Torture the data, and it will confess to anything

    - Ronald Coase, Economics, Nobel Prize Laureate

  • 4. People take good care of data that is important to them

    Data that is loved tends to survive

    - Kurt Bollacker, Data Scientist, Freebase/Infochimps

  • 3. …and – as most good things – it just improves with age

    Data matures like wine, applications like fish

    - Andy Todd ? James Governor (see comment below)

  • 2. What use are statistics any way?

    In times like these when unemployment rates are up to 13%, income has fallen by 5% and suicide rates are climbing I get so angry that the government is wasting money on things like collection of statistics!

    - From Hans Rosling’s The Joy of Stats

  • 1. Finally, my very favorite data quote (and principle in life)

    If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.

    - Jim Barksdale, former Netscape CEO

Additional submissions welcomed in comments below. What are your favorite data quotes?

Written by Hjalmar Gislason

July 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

12 Responses

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  1. Nice list – like you, I think I like #1 the most. What about the most basic of most: “In god we trust, everyone else bring data” (I think Jeff Bezos came up with this one).

    VP Marketing,

    Bruno Aziza

    July 10, 2012 at 6:17 am

  2. [...] Hjalmar Gislason of DataMarket Blog recently put together a collection of the most insightful, useful, and sometimes funny quotes about data and information that he has come across over the last several years. Here are a few of the best ones: [...]

  3. [...] Gislason hat im DataMarket-Blog diese und weitere seiner elf Lieblingszitate über Daten [...]

  4. W Edwards Deming “In God we trust, all others bring data”


    July 16, 2012 at 1:07 am

  5. For more quotes on Data, Information, Knowledge and Systems see Information Alchemy’s Quote of the Week

    Gary Palmer

    July 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

  6. [...] "Data matures like wine, applications like fish". This came from a blog post called the 11 best data quotes from the DataMarket blog. On that list (which I highly recommend reading) the quote was tentatively [...]

  7. The Jim Barksdale quotation is my favorite too. Would also add “Without big data, you are blind and deaf and in the middle of a freeway.” – Geoffrey Moore, author and consultant, although I tend to think Moore’s words amount to a bit of an understatement. Other favorites here:

    Blaire (@VenEnthusiast)

    August 1, 2012 at 8:32 pm

  8. Andy Todd, whom we originally attributed the “Data like wine, applications like fish” quote to has dug up the original quote, actually from Redmonk’s James Governor. See Andy’s post about it.

    Hjalmar Gislason

    August 6, 2012 at 10:57 pm

  9. […] The 11 best data quotes | Data Market Blog […]

  10. […] data is everything. As I read recently, “data matures like wine, applications like fish”. You can always rewrite your application, but if you corrupt your data, you’ve done the worst […]

  11. Reblogged this on Analyst's Digest.


    August 9, 2014 at 8:11 am

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