Mar 1, 2014

Auxiliary Business


I was reading a recent Ask HN and noticed that I was immediately not interested in companies that did anything involving analytics or more generally, any kind of data collection. My reaction on reading the homepage of any of these companies was usually:

Oh great, another one of these.

I tried to explore my thoughts about this and realized that my disinterest wasn't specifically towards analytics or data collection—I think history is awesome and quantifying it into data points is even more awesome.

But from the standpoint of a company and its mission, this is not exciting because data cannot exist in isolation; after all, someone has to generate data for it to collected and analyzed. I call these analytics and data collection companies "Auxiliary Businesses".

Auxiliary businesses exist as a layer on top of the companies that are doing work. (I want to choose my words carefully here because, I don't think that these auxiliary businesses are doing work that is not worthwhile. I also don't think that they are not worth working for.)

But I think that once you build one layer of auxiliary business, you can build any number of layers on top of that layer; i.e. analytics for the analytics company.

I believe this is a slippery (but probably profitable) slope and can result in the stagnation of progress in areas that deserve more attention.

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