I am often asked why I started my business, rather than go into a full-time research or academic position. I thought I would answer this question as my first LinkedIn post.
The primary reason I started my business was simply the inner drive to provide for a business need I perceived. As a doctoral student, while other students were considering their pedagogy, I was pondering how to take Information and Library Science theory and practice into the business world in such a way that I could provide value-added services to corporations, research organizations, and other entities to improve their bottom line.
In other words, I had worked in corporate information technology for several years before going to graduate school, and I knew that “Garbage In equals Garbage Out”. Data Science may be the sexy new job, but all the statistical and analytical abilities will not help an analysis if the data itself is not clean, retrievable, and useable. As well, most organizations have not even begun to think about how to manage and preserve this information and data into the indefinite future. (By that, I mean 10 to 100 years down the road.)
The costs of managing all of this data are astronomical. For example, the Science and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wrote in 2007 that it costs 1200 times more to preserve a digital movie than it does a film movie. Yes, the costs of storage are going down, but the amount of data being stored is growing exponentially versus the cost reduction of storage, so companies are spending a lot of money to store data they may not need to keep, and their storage costs are therefore growing. Plus, dark storage and back ups do not ensure that the data will be usable or retrievable in the future.
A second reason is that I learned to surf as an adult, and I would like to travel, work, and surf. Having my own business would allow me to work remotely, either solo on a project, or in tandem with a team, compared to working at a corporation or academic and research institution. Therefore, I started my own business because I want to help organizations tame their data, surf, travel, and make a living, all at the same time.
Science and Technology Council. (2007). The digital dilemma strategic issues in archiving and accessing digital motion picture materials. The Science and Technology Council of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Hollywood, CA: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
This article first appeared on LinkedIn on 24 July 2015 as “Why I Started My Own Business“.