The Take #10: Stop giving away your data…it’s worth money

I never give my postal code to Ikea – why? Cuz I’m greedy and you should be as well

My name is Rob Woodbridge and this is The Take Episode #10

How many times each and every day are you asked for some little piece of information that is near and dear to your heart? Ok, maybe not near and dear but data that is about you. 5? 10?

How many times do you give it up without thinking? What do you think happens to that data about you that is just collected?

So, in the case of Ikea, could they be relating your recent purchase to your neighbourhood? It could be about catalog distribution and pull of the store (which it is) but it could also be about income level and disposable income – essentially how rich or poor you and your neighbours are – which could eventually lead to tailored catalogs and messaging just for you and your perceived budget.

Now, how many times do you look at your smartphone every day? 50 times? 100 times? The average user does it 150 times per day for various reasons but each time you do, you are – willingly or unwillingly – giving up your data to the multitude of apps or webistes you use, not to mention the operating system owners and the carriers.

Well, folks, if this data is valuable enough to be collected by, well, everyone, it is valuable enough to worry about and valuable enough for you to protect.

In a crazy cool test data marketplace set up by, who else, Google, the theory of selling our personal data – that means US selling our data to whom we choose and when we choose. It is a data marketplace and works something like this. 60 people taking part in this experiment were given phones that tracked everything they did and everywhere they went. Every week those 60 people took part in an auction to sell the raw data that was collected. The conclusion was, not surprisingly, that certain data is perceived to be more valuable than other data. Data that strayed from the norm – personal days or holidays for example – had a higher perceived value than “normal” days. Surprise! We value our privacy.

Mobile has enabled the collection of data faster than it can be used. We all leave a more pronounced digital footprint today than yesterday and it will be even moreso tomorrow. Some of our doing, some of our environment, some unwittingly. The common thread is that it is all ours, it is of tremendous value to those that want it and we should all consider what we do with it and why.

So, let’s start today, a movement of no more postal or zip codes for Ikea until they start assembling their own damn furniture. K?

My name is Rob Woodbridge and this has been The Take.

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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