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Ramsey Naja: Dear Data, we need to rethink how we can work together


Dear Data,

I hope this finds you well. Mind you, I doubt that the word “hope” ranks high in your vocabulary, being all unpredictable and pretty damn unmeasurable as a result. In fact, I am sure you have already worked out your level of well-being for the next year and you hardly need my good wishes (sorry about that word, too).

Nevertheless, I am writing to express my concern over your future performance, considering your troubles in 2016. Because, lets face it, that year was not one of your best – and I am not going to mention your disastrous US elections projections and what they left us with. What concerns me, Data, is that, from being seen as the great white hope of the industry, your latest incarnations are turning out to be pretty nasty pieces of work.

In fairness, we’ve always used and manipulated you to the best of our interest, even when you were just findings from research groups and basic numbers in media plans. Back then, Mr. Hunch and Ms. Intuition had been working very hard on keeping you at arm’s length, and often unreasonably. Now that you have managed to dismiss these two in your own unique cold-blooded fashion, I think you should take a moment to reflect on what you have done.

From your own Vulcan-like perspective, you may argue that eliminating your colleagues was as logical as their contribution was potentially misleading. However, in seeking to dismiss them altogether, you started the kind of arms race the outcome of which depends strictly on the depth of our pockets. You may be the answer to unpredictability, but that comes at a price: that of creating bigger, faster and ever more powerful number-crunching engines, and at spiraling costs. You may argue that it is the name of the game. Perhaps, my dear Data, but there comes a point, in the communication battlefield, where my adversary carries exactly the same arsenal as me, the same logical capabilities and the same ability to use them, with the mutually assured destruction that this entails.

As a result, and considering the tough financial climate we live in, I have no choice but to reinstate both Mr. Hunch and Ms. Intuition for the coming year, in the hope (see? Here I go again) that the three of you will work together to our collective benefit.

Yours sincerely,


Ramsey Naja is CCO at JWT MEA