New house, same old furniture: a data parable
You own furniture which functions; puts dents in the carpet and protects it from dust all in one go. Then you pack up all that furniture and move it to a new house and suddenly it’s horrid, outdated, broken, falling apart, spider-ridden and damn near shambolic!
This phenomena is not restricted to furniture.
My house is neat until I hear my mother is going to visit.
The cat hair on the couch is invisible until someone with allergies arrives.
The biscuit is a fitting accompaniment to a cup of tea until you’re on a diet.
And so it is with data. I’ve spent months telling people that the database houses a lot of junk. I’ve explained that it’s riddled with duplicates, smacks of a massive process deficit and has a resident fairy to act upon all those funny little notes people have left in the system. Yet the day I move all this data to a new database, suddenly… it’s WORSE!
And where does all this garbage come from anyhow? I’m beginning to think that there is a secret frequent flyer rewards program fuelled entirely by data garbage. That’s got to be the reason, right? 50 bonus points for anyone who can come up with 5 different ways of writing the title Mr and the use of a / gets you in a bonus draw. (Why else would someone write Mr/s if there wasn’t an incentive to win some steak knives?)
If a title variant gets you 50 reward points and a chance at some steak knives then what I call ‘field bastardisation’ surely gets you a mystery flight to some island of the coast of Queensland? Use your religion field to store income and you get the Whitsundays; the emergency contact field used for Occupation might get you all the way to Bali!
Hmmm… I wonder what you need to do to get to London?