222B or not 222B

Having been introduced to English mystery novels courtesy of our school library (and a dear friend Adeel Khan who takes critical note of it every time I do not mention him), one of my first encounters was with the The Three Investigators. (TTI)

The most memorable instances of that was The mystery of the stuttering parrot

Bob, Pete and Jupiter were probably the most genuine detective trio employing real analytical skills to solve cryptic clues and deliver wow moments of discovery. It was very different from the Hardy boys, Nancy Drews and others of the time who somehow had evidence thrown at them in their faces or would randomly find it lying around to help them figure out their case. TTI was more like a treasure hunt with uncovering the past without much help within the live events of the present — All they would have to go on with was a set of patterns and a bunch of out of the box thinking — while utilizing the bare minimum of external tools or tech.

It gave me my first benchmarks for differentiating actual skills against circumstantial forced luck.

An example of that would be from this recent movie, “The Protégé” which is a badly sewn together story in any case, but on top retains this oft repeated segment where the protagonist is given a definitively impossible task which she delivers quite quickly by walking into a dingy basement with a nerdy hacker boy who has a number of computer screens around him — A couple of taps and voila — they reduce an 8 episode worth of work to 2 minutes of clickity clack.

Lets switch and take the data analytics side of the business environment these days: The field is just as easy to manipulate as it is difficult to navigate.

As soon as an expensive solution is introduced through a huge internal demand for being ‘data centric’ and employing the blood flow of data to solve the biggest challenges, the next organizational step is buying a drag-and-drop data pipelining platform preferably with a visualization tool.

Then! there is nearly a nuclear fission reaction.

The mushroom cloud of blinding charts surrounds everyone on all sides — it is an ocean of sharks and you have to choose which one should eat you.

More than that, it gives renewed life to obsolete ideas and politically motivated so called innovations — Projects which add little value but are backed by a certain lobby or group suddenly find limelight in all discussions and highlights for no apparent reason. A new randomly thrown around report even gets a fancy name and is paraded across all forums and channels like the spring collection of bikinis which are exactly like the last year and most of the years before.

The audience like in the movie theatres has no choice but to sit through the whole 2 hours of self praise by the presenters and they normally do it because this activity is rather harmless — like homeopathy — gives a sense of comfort without really doing anything.

Data analytics is and should be about investigating, deep diving, expanding and consolidating the immense universe and achieving a point of singularity which produces that one key figure that truly helps point things in the right direction.

The tools employed therein should be a wholesome skillset that ensures continuity and that foundational strength which carries on regardless of the expensive business ecosystem.

The management in this regard has to be more tech savvy and not go with the first animated circus they are shown. The situation is improving (though very slowly) as younger executives get higher management positions and can call bullshit on a lot of fanfare. Likewise, the users need to save themselves from falling into this trap where they spend all their energy on the clearly easier front end while knowing very little of the complex intricacies that go behind the scenes.

Be a Columbo, Poirot or Kojak and work on building an investigation rather than filing a report.

Two friends reminded that The Three Investigators series had been translated into at least their respective languages as well — might be many others too.

In german, the team is led by Bob, Pete and “Justus Jonas” and they are known there as Die drei ???: Die drei Fragezeichen, meaning “The Three Question Marks” (courtesy Katharina Strauss)

In Urdu, the team is led by Naseem, Amber and Aaqib (courtesy Asim Masood)

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