INTERVIEW: Stephen Few, on Big Data, Big Dupe

March 7, 2018 by Stacey Barr

This interview with visual analysis and dashboard expert, Stephen Few, is about his newly released book, “Big Data, Big Dupe: A little book about a big bunch of nonsense”. A very audacious title, and no doubt a very unique perspective.

Stephen Few, visual analysis expert Big Data, Big Dupe: A little book about a big bunch of nonsense

Big Data is a big bandwagon.

And lots of technology providers, consultants and organisations are jumping onto it. But where are they headed? According to Stephen Few, nowhere worthwhile. And of particular – and alarming – concern to people like us, who believe in measuring what matters so we can achieve what matters, Big Data is making some rather dangerous claims:

  • we can forget about causation, because correlation is all that matters
  • we can forget about the scientific method, because data can now speak for itself
  • we should measure everything, because we now have the data about everything

If you’re as alarmed as I am about this, you’ll be calmed by this sage advice from data sensemaking expert, best-selling author, and internationally renowned thought leader, Stephen Few. In the interview we discuss:

  • the problems with defining what Big Data really is, and really means
  • the myriad problems with the lack of validity of claims that Big Data makes
  • what it could mean for performance measurement and KPIs
  • how we ought to respond to it

Listen to the interview with Stephen Few, on Big Data, Big Dupe:

The transcript is available only to our PuMP Community members, exclusively for our PuMP Blueprint Workshop alumni, over at


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