INTERVIEW: Stephen Few, on Big Data, Big Dupe

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, with very controversial advice!

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 very 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 – but controversial – 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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