Data vs Skill: Advice from the Biggest Apparel Maker in Asia
Great article out of the ubiquitous Wall Street Journal transcribing an interview with Tadashi Yanai, the billionaire behind the speciality clothing manufacturer Fast Retailing Co., who also operates the more than 1,700 Uniqlo stores in Asia and not incidentally oversees tremendous sales over the Web as well. This guy is very successful and we can assume he has a good idea of what's up.
Why I am writing about clothing retailers on this on an ostensibly berry science oriented blog? Here's why. Mr. Yanai refers to the meaning of data, and what to do with it which as my readers know is a pretty big theme here. Data is not the end all for acquisition of knowledge; one actually needs to apply real insight, both from education and experience, to make it work.
Here's what this very successful businessman has to say about it:
"Data would never substitute the merchant. How do you interpret the data? That's the merchant's skill set. You need to uncover the insight that is buried in the data and the merchants need to uncover it. Even if you employ artificial intelligence to help you, the numbers [don't tell] the future."
There you have it. Guess what all, you can't farm from just a computer, you actually need to know the meaning of the numbers [and that takes hard work].