Anand Sanwal Tells Us How Big Data Is Changing the Way Business Is Done

"Ladies and gentlemen, numbers!"

Number Crunchers

“When it comes to big corporate decisions, the amount of gut instinct, Google searches, and guys with MBAs that get roped in without having substantial amounts of data is pretty shocking,” Anand Sanwal, CEO and cofounder of CB Insights, told us.

“Every day companies are asking themselves, ‘Should we enter this market?’ And they’re basing their decision on the fact that someone came in and delivered a really good deck.

“In 1999, a famous management consulting firm I won’t name came into AT&T and told them that the size of the cellphone market wouldn’t exceed 900,000,” Sanwal said.

“And that recommendation leads to a lot of execution that can be very wrong. So the fundamentals need to be a lot more rigorous than they often are today.

“On an industry forecasting level what we do is very different. It’s very pundit driven right now. We’ve tried to find leading indicator data points – often from unusual sources. So before it hits the New York Times, is it on Reddit or is some gaming niche community talking about it? We look to see if companies are developing IP and patents, are angels investing in the space, those are data-driven leading indicators of industry trends.

“That’s a very different animal than anyone else, whose model seems to be a bunch of people getting together in a room over beer and pizza and making it up. The insight we can deliver from data is 1000x than what a management consultant can do”.

Want to learn how Sanwal uses data to tell a compelling story? Check out this fascinating video that takes you behind the process.

And if you’re interested in joining CB Insights in New York, they’re on the hunt for talent in marketing, operations, product & engineering, research & content, and business development. Have a look at their open jobs right here.


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