Alternative Data Weekly #150
September 8, 2023
Thanks for being here!
The Alternative Data Weekly is Powered by Vertical Knowledge:
End of my first week at Vertical Knowledge. See Final Thoughts section below for some of my thoughts.
Let me know if you’ll be at the September 28th Neudata conference in San Francisco.
Theme that emerged in this week’s email is … AI models are starving for (good) data. We are starting to move in the direction of real-time insights on a macro level.
“…revolutionize social sciences and economic forecasting because the cost of experimentation becomes very cheap and because experiments can easily be replayed in various configurations.” - Alex Izydorczyk
Final Thoughts (Week #1)
#1 – Morgan Stevens & Daniel Castro from The Center for Data Innovation published In the Wake of Generative AI, Industry-Led Standards for Data Scraping Are a Must. September 2023.
My Take: AI systems are hungry for data. The biggest & best source of data is publicly available data on the internet. The article makes the point that non-government solutions are proving effective & given the rapid pace of change with the way AI models are being used, progress should be encouraged.
#2 – WorldQuant’s Igor Tulchinsky published in Fast Company How to measure economic output in an AI-assisted world. August 2023.
My Take: This sort of big picture thinking fascinates me. We should be able to monitor in near real-time the economy at large. The idea that GDP, or Job Numbers are published 30-60-90 days after the fact seems very old-fashioned. Similar to what CyberSyn is trying to build, all the world’s data should be made available real-time to help policy-makers and other decision-maker determine the best course of action. The fresher & more accurate the data, the better for everyone involved.
#3 – Benn Stancil’s How much for that DAG in the window?. August 2023.
My Take: Interesting thought piece on pricing. Pricing in the world of data is really tough. No single strategy will make everyone happy and, as Benn notes, pricing done the way it has always been done because it has always been done that way … is likely not the best answer. Data carries different values to different users. Teasing out the difference is a real challenge.
BONUS: Bradley Wade Bishop published in Fast Company AI can revolutionize data by making it more accessible. August 2023. “Proper research data management also allows scientists to use the data already out there rather than recollecting data that already exists, which saves time and resources.”
What else I am reading:
Alternative Data Market worth $156.23 Billion by 2030 - Exclusive Report by The Insight Partners. August 2023. Let’s hope so.
Matt Ober’s Is Data Hunting Dead?. Also Matt’s 5 Things I Learned from the Most Successful Money Managers.... Both September 2023.
Data Boutique’s Network Effects: When Value Comes from Others Joining in. September 2023.
Mark Andreesen’s Why AI Will Save the World. June 2023.
Source: Omri & Evan from the I See Data People podcast series interview Kirk McKeown of Carbon Arc. September 2023.
My Take: Kirk is a thought leader in the data space and worth following. Despite only being 22 minutes long, there is a lot to take from this interview. The first thing I’ll highlight is that to be effective, you need domain knowledge. Asking the right questions is the key & to do that you need to understand the business, not just the data. Ask better questions.
04:50 the goal: “getting to an actual insight that is better than you can get without the data.”
Another note is that LLMs will force standardization of data in a radical way. There is not enough data out there in a standard and structured way. In the end, data will move at insight level in a meaningful way.
Highlights (22-minute run time):
Minute 00:30 – interview starts; importance of building out a system
Minute 02:30 – biggest data challenges Kirk faces
Minute 05:00 – how different/similar is corporate market vs investment market
Minute 07:30 – best data vs best methodologies
Minute 10:30 – most powerful insights Kirk has seen from data; shares examples
Minute 15:00 – data has been largely captured by walled gardens and big tech … this is changing
Minute 18:30 – where will data world go in next 3-5 years?
Minute 20:00 – NY set up for the next phase of data … regulation is a big component … and regulated markets is what NY does well.
Minute 21:00 – most controversial opinion … there is a world where the current tech stack will change the same way Nokia and Motorola’s business changed when iPhone was introduced.
Bonus: As a PSU alum, I have really enjoyed the Lion Legacy Podcast series…particularly two episodes from friends Geoff Martha (current Medtronic CEO & former PSU hockey player) & Joe Battista (my PSU hockey coach)
Source: FCA published Wholesale Data Market Study. August 2023.
62-page document linked above. Interesting thought piece on market data and the competitive landscape. They are asking for feedback before September 29, 2023. If interested, send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Market Data Vendors (MDV)
Surprising number use 10 or more MDVs.
Switching cost are high:
Source: This was my first week at Vertical Knowledge. For some reason, it seems fitting that this week’s Alt Data Weekly is the nice round number of 150.
I have spent the past three days (T-W-Th) drinking from the firehose of Vertical Knowledge. Getting to know the names, faces, & roles of the 130+ employees while getting all the new hire HR documentation done … and also trying to figure out where the bathrooms are located, not easy if you’ve ever visited our offices!
My first deep exposure to the VK product is that it is a proven offering with demonstrated product-market fit, that is changing with the industry. We’ve modified our pricing structure and are creating a more “productized” version of the raw data that will vastly expand the TAM by making it easy for more firms & more people to take advantage of the world’s largest source of public data: the internet.
Really look forward to climbing the steep learning curve and reporting back.
Who wants to be my first customer?
Let me know if you’ll be in SF for the Neudata conference September 28th.