Can the New Decade Bring What the Last Decade Missed?

Bryan Minami our consultant managing the role
Posting date: 1/9/2020 2:52 PM
GDPR in Europe. State-by-state data privacy laws in the U.S. Online businesses which got their start in dorm rooms and garages have entered every arena including grocery, health, and politics.  

Social media habits are no longer in the purview of angsty teens, but are in high demand by corporations; reaching to the highest office in this land. Data infuses every business, day-to-day life, and personal preference, but has it been the grand design imagined at the turn of this century?

We can speak with people around the world in real-time, but the internet and the data it gathers has raised a curtain we can hide behind. What had once been intended to unite us, had alienated us instead. As we enter a new decade, it begs the question. Can the new decade bring what the last decade missed?

Grand Statements Distract from the Bigger Picture


Somewhere between the Y2K scare and the predictions of a digital age, tendrils of the then superhighway began to weave itself into our daily lives. Shouting its pros from the rooftops, and little to nothing of the cons, we became apathetic to our own sensibilities. We put our faith in tech, expecting it to tame the wild side of the possibilities within the internet’s environment. It didn’t.

We held grandiose ideals that technology would free us from the daily grind. Allow us to do more. Instead, we hold a computer in our hand and are available 24/7. No rest for the weary. As we attempt to disentangle ourselves, and focus on coordinated efforts to right twenty years of laissez-faire policy, we can look to the Harris Poll Alienation Index. Want to know what people believe and how to help them help themselves? This is a great place to start.

Where Do We Fit? Really.


Over the last few years, we’ve focused on diversity and inclusion with a focus on those in the Data industry. But beyond race and gender, there’s a wider gap and the Harris Poll strives to help us understand what’s wrong so we can fix it. After all, isn’t this the basis of why we seek Data? To have the information we need to correct a problem?

Data is the new oil. Data Scientists are the next rock stars. These statements and similar filled headlines in the second half of the 2010s. While its true, the question is, what does it mean? Well, it depends. Data is a commodity and when it comes to healthcare, social services, food, and housing, it’s important to have the right information.

On the flip side, it can be used to skew feelings further to one side or the other. And that can cause bigger problems. So, the question becomes not ‘can the new decade bring what the last decade missed,’ but ‘what should we be asking and where do we fit, really?’

What the Last Decade Missed


Without meaning to, the last decade alienated most of us from the powers that be and from each other. In our excitement to connect, we have 5,000 friends or connections, none of whom we know. Slowly, the norm is building to have “offline meetings” once again. Remember when it was the other way around?

Our Data isn’t our own and its only been in recent years, major platforms have attempted to listen. Feelings persist of loneliness, anger, and a sense that no one is listening or cares. Driving the wedge further is class and incentivization. We want to belong. But in our most recent digital world, it’s a ‘pay to play’ belonging. 

One Final Thought…


It may seem as though this has been a disparagement about the digital world. But ultimately, it’s a cautionary tale of the changes which are possible as we enter this new decade. After all, we want to fill the gap the last decade missed and changes are already under way.

We have begun to come together much more in the way the digital nation was intended. New startups are paying attention to how people feel and what they want or need. Businesses need soft skills to balance out the technical skills to help with communication across departments and for stakeholders. 

Can you talk to a UX Designer or Data Engineer as easily as you can talk to an Executive? Can you take a request from an Executive and explain it to your Data Analyst? It’s this flexibility which remains an important skill to focus on the next decade begins.

Are you up for the challenge? If so, we may have a role for you. Take a look at our current opportunities or get in touch with one of our expert consultants to learn more:

For our West Coast Team, call (415) 614 - 4999 or send an email to sanfraninfo@harnham.com

For our Mid-West and East Coast Teams, call (212) 796 - 6070 or send an email to newyorkinfo@harnham.com.

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