Brent Ozar & A Disappointing Article.

false_argumentLet me begin by saying that I am a big fan of Brent Ozar and his team. They have cultivated a reputation based on sound, sensible and practical advice and more often than not they demonstrate both the why and the why not of their advice. Some of their posts are more strongly opinionated than others, but even in the more extreme posts the team welcome debate and are prepared to defend their position.

A recent post by Brent Ozar, Why I’m Not Learning Analytics, just doesn’t live up to this reputation. It is strongly biased, perhaps deliberately inflammatory, and hits hard at the reliable reputation of the Ozar brand. I can’t help but wonder if this is a simple marketing stunt?

Business analytics is a hot career right now. Here’s why I’m smiling and nodding as it goes whizzing past

— Brent Ozar (2014), Why I’m Not Learning Analytics

In his post, Ozar pushes back against the growing popularity of analytics and BI. Perhaps more accurately he is arguing against the mass-marketing of BI toolsets, but I am not sure this is the twist taken? Instead all Ozar manages to convey is a personal disinterest in data cleansing and data integration and a complete failure to separate these techniques from that of data analysis and visualisation.

Even worse than the article itself, one of Ozar’s responses to discussion is outright dismissive.

This is one of those hard moments, where you realise that an industry giant is not the herculian demi-god you had built in your mind. All-in-all this is a disappointing article.

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2 comments

  1. Sorry you felt that way.

    I do agree that data analysis and visualization are really neat technologies, but that’s not what the post was about. The post talked about how you can’t do analysis and visualization without first cleansing the data. I see a lot of folks trying to do analysis and visualization directly off raw data without understanding the importance of cleansing it first, and that’s where “jump on the big data bandwagon” hype falls apart.

    You may want to reread the post and give it another chance. A lot of folks read it as a bashing of analytics without really understanding what I’m saying.

    Take care!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Brent,

    Fair comment here – I have indeed misread your article if it is a cautionary tale about the requirement for strong data cleansing / standardisation.

    I do entirely agree with you about much of the marketing hype that promises to turn coal into gold with a snazzy black-box data science tool. Of course there is far more to the process and it is not a simple plug-and-play task.

    But then again, we will all be measured by our ability to deliver quality results. If people rush ahead and get things horribly wrong, all the better for those who are prepared to go the hard yards 🙂

    Thank you for your comments, and I apologise for the harsh criticism!

    Nick

    Like

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