Rajaraman’s First Law: More Data will beat Better Software

Posted in: Technical Track

After the interesting comment storm on Doug’s blog when he posted some of Tim Gorman’s comments on the value of data in his career experiences as compared to the value of the applications manipulating that data, I hesitate a little to post this.

But, I can’t stop myself because it’s such an interesting insight!

Anand Rajaraman, ex-Director of Technology at Amazon.com posted this useful insight that builds on Tim’s. It’s not data vs software as seen by Tim, it’s one step further – more data vs better software.

I like this idea so much I’m hereby dubbing it Rajamaran’s First Law. (Anand, if you haven’t been numbering your laws yet this’ll get you started!)

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About the Author

As Pythian’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul leads this center of excellence for expert, outsourced technical services for companies whose systems are directly tied to revenue growth and business success. His passion and foresight for using data and technology to drive business success has helped Pythian become a high-growth global company with over 400 employees and offices in North America, Europe, and Asia. Paul, who started his career as a data scientist, founded Pythian when he was 25 years old. In addition to driving the business, Paul is a vocal proponent of diversity in the workplace, human rights, and economic empowerment. He supports his commitment through Pythian’s hiring and retention practices, his role as board member for the Basic Income Canada Network, and as a supporter of women in technology.

3 Comments. Leave new

Sheeri Cabral
March 31, 2008 12:36 pm

To be fair, “more” data is vague — it’s really “different” data that helps here. There’s another dimension being added, the categories from IMDB, that help.

The problem with algorithms is they try to be smart, and guess what’s going to happen. Data mining makes conclusions based on what’s already happened, so the algorithms of the future are adaptive ones that can act one way and then determine if they should continue to act that way.

It took data mining to realize that people buy beer and diapers at the same time; “smart” people can guess pairing peanut butter and jelly or peanut butter and milk. But sometimes it’s better to be lazy than smart. :)

And I think “more data” leads to “better software” which leads to “more data”….


It took data mining to realize that people buy beer and diapers at the same time;

Not in Ontario, Sheeri!!!

Log Buffer #91: a Carnival of the Vanities for DBAs
April 4, 2008 11:53 am

[…] here again, Paul Vallée submits what he dubs Rajaraman’s First Law: more data will beat better […]


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