Nate Silver’s Presidential Predictions Show Why You NEED Big Data


Now that the dust has settled and Barack Obama has landed safely behind his desk at the White House for another four years, we can finally see who the real winners and losers were at this general election. And no, it wasn’t any political party.

You want to know who really came out on top of these Presidential elections? Data scientists, that’s who.

And meanwhile, all of those political analysts – the so-called experts – have come out with egg on their faces, especially those that dared to criticize the likes of Nate Silver.

Progressive organizations will want to take note – if ever they needed proof that data is key to driving their business, this is it.

Nate Silver’s data-driven predictions, published on his Five Thirty Eight blog, were a wholly pragmatic, unbiased approach that couldn’t have been any more accurate. The man was spot on in every single state, correctly predicting the outcome of 50/50 states, but his successful analysis didn’t end there – he also managed to guess the vast majority of winners in the US Senate contest as well.

Media pundits were duly impressed. Both MSNBC and Fox news were quick to give credit where credit’s due, while Mashable’s Chris Taylor wrote that:

“Mathematical models can no longer be derided by “gut-feeling” pundits. That Silver’s contention — TV pundits are generally no more accurate than a coin toss — must now be given wider credence.”

And indeed, Taylor is exactly right. What we’re seeing is evidence of a new era, where the time has come for anyone who needs actionable intelligence – be it businesses, organizations, government, the media, even individuals – to reject the opinions of so-called experts.

These are opinions after all, which are mostly based on instincts, and for the most part amount to nothing more than educated guesswork, yet businesses have relied upon them for far too long. In the old days that might have been okay. Most organizations would have a plan B in place for situations when they made a wrong move – in other words, they could afford to make a few mistakes from time to time.

But with the rise of big data, and the availability of real, accurate and reliable intelligence, derived from measured performances and projections, fewer organizations will be making those mistakes. Organizations will choose correctly every single time, making business more competitive than it’s ever been before.

For those that fail to move with the times – those that continue to play the guessing game – there won’t be many more second chances.