Using Data To Change The World

I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but there’s this new thing where marketers use data as a means to engage with customers and prospects. On top of that, there’s this fad called artificial intelligence -- sometimes referred to as machine learning -- that marketers are using to actually predict future behavior of consumers.

Yeah, right, Steve. Next, you’ll be telling us a real-estate mogul/reality TV star will become President of the United States.

Ok, I’ll bring the sarcasm train into the station and jump on the reality hoverboard from this point forward.

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

For those of you old enough, you’ll get the reference to the classic Styx song, “Mr. Roboto.” The phrase domo arigato -- which means “thank you very much” in Japanese --  is in fact the opening line to the song.

And one of the lyrics is “machines to save our lives.”



Now, hold that thought for a second and keep in mind this song was released in 1983, which is not a lifetime ago in digital numbers. It is at least THREE lifetimes ago. I say that because even all those lifetimes ago, people were thinking about how machines can in fact change -- and in this case, save -- lives.

Not long ago I was at event entitled Domopalooza in Salt Lake City, hosted by Domo, a platform that brings together people, data, and systems into one place for a digitally connected business.

The first day of the event was highlighted by the obligatory new product announcements, some customer stories and a Q&A with Super Bowl-winning-quarterback Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints.

On the Second Day…

The second day, however, was all about using data to change AND save the world, literally. The host company announced a new initiative, Domo for Good, designed to leverage the Domo platform in collaboration with nonprofit organizations.

One of those nonprofits is Save the Children, which uses data to "match some of the most marginalized kids in the world with people who would like to help,” says Carolyn Miles, CEO.

Then there’s Mark Brand, CEO of Mark Brand, Inc. Brand, who was once homeless, is a social entrepreneur and activist dedicated to a food-focused approach to fighting poverty and homelessness.

In fact, he wants to solve homelessness by using data. According to Brand, over 92% of homeless people have a device they can connect to -- and using that data can help tell the story to in fact change the world. As Brand says, “the best source for reliable data is the people experiencing it.”

In his talk, Brand also said something that stuck with me. While it’s not germane to the topic of using data to change the world, its important enough to share here. He said “Data needs story -- without the story, it doesn’t connect with people. Data needs story to build empathy. Story needs the data to build trust.”

That’s a lesson for ANY brand.

And finally, there was Banjo. No, not the instrument, but the company. It's the first live-time intelligence platform that gives decision-makers the ability to understand what is happening live, anywhere, the company says.

Its CEO, Damien Patton, is an industry authority on the ethical use of AI and data. A veteran of Desert Storm and former crime-scene investigator, Patton draws on his experiences for Banjo's mission of saving lives and reducing human suffering by using technology for good.

He is adamant that he will not allow anyone to use the Banjo technology unless it is to save lives or end human suffering.

Closing Thoughts

Lord knows, I am never one to take anything TOO seriously. Anyone who has read anything of mine over the years knows this. However, when it comes to helping others and paying it forward, I am 1000% serious.

And when I heard about all these individuals and companies doing what they do, all in the name of helping others and paying it forward, I immediately knew I had to do my small part to tell their story.

Do yourself a favor and seek out Save the Children, Mark Brand or Banjo, and get involved.

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