Since the advent of the Internet, its users have been able to hide behind a certain vail of anonymity. So I wonder how can one use the web accurately to research market trends? Some of this will make sense, other times it will be a brain dump. Bear with me, this is a long term project in the making.


Open Research What?

I launched my purpose for the blog this week and am set to give a little more detail as to why I included open source in the title. We live our lives taking in so much data that many times we become immune or unaware of it. While driving to work you pass the same cars, trucks, SUVs, minivans and buses. When walking to your desk you pass the same people, the same rows of desks, the same computers and the same chairs. As the day comes to a close and you make your way home or to run errands, a pattern develops.

But, one day you are driving to work and a factory fresh car turns to join the pack of all too familiar vehicles. Or as you are walking to your desk you notice that the chairs are a different color and composed of plastic resin instead of metal. Maybe while you are performing your errands you notice that the same tube of toothpaste you normally purchase has been moved and replaced with teeth whitening strips.

What do these changes mean? To the untrained eye they are changes, possible nuances or just a random occurrence. To the trained eye they are possible trends taking form. The new car turning onto the road, did it capture people's attention? The new rows of chairs in the office, why did your company purchase them when they had a satisfactory set of chairs? The moving of your regular toothpaste and the featuring of new teeth whitening strips, why did they move your item and replace it with white strips?

Think of the one or two changes an individual might witness on a given day; multiply that by the population of the United States. Every day there are hundreds of millions of changes, some of them are random, others are orchestrated. Random or orchestrated, which should be ignored? Which should we pay attention to? How do we collect all of these data points and find the orchestrated patterns within them?

Open source research...we each serve a purpose in this world and we each encounter different changes each day, but if we were to all collectively log those changes we or someone might be able to see the patterns amongst the random data points. This is open source research...we each contribute on a daily or weekly basis, logging the changes we identify around us and are free to see what others are logging and to draw our own conclusions from the data. No one owns the data, no one owns the network we weave, but if you look at the data, you must add your own data. You must give to get in open source and the data is the gift that you must also give.


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