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Dumb Analytics

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During the summer I decided to overhaul my old, relatively rare Nissan outboard, starting from cylinder head gasket replacement to carburetors and fuel pump rebuild. Thanks to eBay, Amazon and others, I was easily able to find most parts for the job.

Nissan has stopped producing the head gasket and other critical parts long time ago, but nowaways also smaller shops have laser cutters and sometimes even 3D metal printers, so I got all required parts accounted for.

Now after my vintage part shopping spree, I did not clear my web browser cache or cookies, so I’m getting ads from all these specialized shops I searched parts from.

There’s nothing wrong with targeted advertising, but when I buy for instance a reinforced carbon fibre reed valve assembly from Boyesen, why am I offered the same valve, which is usually replaced only every ten or so years, through BBC, CNN, FAZ and other mainstream media I follow, almost every time when I visit them?

Not that this would bother me too much, but Google and others have surely sold Boyesen an ad package priced by number of views and clicks. Now their analytics includes those dozens of shows on my screen, which I might even accidentally click. With all this talk about AI and smart profiling, is this knee-jerk logic the best they can do, with all their TensorFlow machine learning systems and purported quantum computers?

If I were Boyesen, I’d feel slightly misled. A smart (AI?) advertising partner would try to guess what else they could sell me, knowing that I have a boat with that exact 70hp engine. If not in their portfolio, selling this info (with my permission) to e.g. propeller manufacturer would easily make me think of replacing that too.

In future, I see that Boyesen-like companies need to take much bigger responsibility of managing their customer data, instead of just outsourcing it to ad providers. By adding bit of intelligence and ecosystem thinking, they’d quickly win the loyalty of customers like me. If not valves-as-a-service immediately, maybe outboard-overhaul-as-a-service, with partners. I’d subscribe immediately.

//Pasi

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