IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE...An Observation Of How We All Use Or Should Use Data Overload..

Real Estate Agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate 30HA0800896

This post has been inspired by Richard WeisserHave we all become addicted to data?  In his post he brings the good idea that we are in over our heads with Data Overload--maybe even addicted to it! I feel his pain; I have felt it for a long time now--and then I read a book, "BLINK"  and that really made me stop to think."BLINK, The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking!"

Data and statistics are a seemingly endless supply of information regarding a business or about life in general. It is created by almost any person who has the ability to come to conclusions, give opinions and draw graphs that will support their premise. As much as we like to think that the person creating the data is a person driven by the need to reveal a truth or fact that will support an idea about something such as a profession, we can not tolerate too much!  We know that there are mountains of data and statistics that will pile up until no one will ever be able to read it all unless they are paid a great deal of money to do just that....and then we get more data!

So, as a very big participant in the information overload, I want to tell you how I view information overload and why I see it as a "necessary evil".

PILES OF DATA MAKES US THINK MORE DEEPLY ABOUT OUR BUISNESSESWhen Malcolm Gladwell published his refreshing book "Blink, The Power Of Thinking Without Thinking", I got the message loud and clear and it reminded me  that all of my decisions in business AND life have been brought into being in a flash or "in the blink of an eye"!

The premise of the book is that we make our best decisions from the "gut" level and that means that things/ideas may not appear to make a difference but they do in a very substantive ways. Below the surface of a thought is the fire that created it, the fire that drove it into the light of day! If we make more of an idea or data for that matter, then that  is where we get stuck in the muck and mire.  Over-thinking and over-analyzing data and situations can be crippling to our growth. The way data is used most often , in my opinion is as a frame work for your business instincts to be re-enforced and nothing more. As quickly as you read the data, you move on. Data becomes a spring board for further information but it is not the be-all, end-all. It is merely the support system for your thinking and planning and nothing more.

I look at information or data, as the necessary part of any good and thriving business. I see it as the bottomless well, where everyone can gather and share at will, the information that makes the business world revolve. Some good ideas have been created and passed on to the next generation this way--and that is good!

However, most of the data overload is just dumped and then left where it was flung! No one ever gets back to it again and it dies a slow, shrinking death and then it is gone forever! This is the way of all dies away making room for more of the same and perchance even a total resurrection of the old; brought to the surface again in a fresh way that makes it look like a whole new approach!

Data Overload is a fact of life right now and I acknowledge that. I am part of this overload because I believe in informing the public at every turn and making sure they don't have a lot of unanswered questions regarding buying a home!


Comments (23)

Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Gayle: I agree; we are all connected-- and the "blink of an eye" analogy is so apt when you consider that we all gather here, hopefully every day, but there are so few real opportunities to talk to one another that it really is like a 'Blink" of an eye that we connect...And it still leaves an impression, an idea or a thought that is so concrete! I love the book and as I look back over the years---those "Blinks" are the most powerful moments in my life. My very best decisions about my life were done in the blink of an eye!

Nov 17, 2011 01:55 PM
Rosalie Evans
Meritus Group Real Estate - Sioux Falls, SD
The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale

I am a data junkie! I have to continuosly be learning something or my left eye twitches. That is how I have always been throughout life so why change now! I will have to put that book on my reading list and check it out!

Nov 17, 2011 05:15 PM
Anthony Daniels
Coldwell Banker - San Francisco, CA
SF Bay Area REO Specialist

Data overload is something I deal with often.

We are becoming a society of quick access to data, versus actually having knowledge.

Good post, thanks for sharing it.

Nov 17, 2011 05:24 PM
Doug Bullwinkel
Envoy Mortgage,NMLS ID 6666 - Sacramento, CA
Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS #281609

I remember the days when things were much simpler.  You could read the newspaper and get all the data you needed for the day.  Now the newspapers are full of propaganda and we spend most of our time gathering the data we need to do business that day.  Tomorrow we start all over again because everything has changed again.

Nov 17, 2011 06:13 PM
Toronto, ON

Hi Paula - Sometimes too much data can slow down or prevent a decision from being made.

Nov 17, 2011 11:05 PM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Rosalie: A-hah! See? That is what I mean--we NEED data to survive and the more attention we pay to it and how to get through it as fast as we can is the key! That's why "BLINK" had such value for me---I finally felt free when I read that book because I suddenly realized that I did not have to actually eat, sleep and work the data--I was free to skim it and it sstill had a major impact on me!

Anthony: But, that is is cumulative data about every subject in life that gives us the needed information and thus knowledge of how to take the next step--then the next...and on and on. The terrrific thing is that you don't have to ABSORB all data--the important parts of data overload will stay and stick with you, whether you want it to or not! We are so influenced by data that our lives would all end tomorrow without it! Just think about that (for a nano-second!) because there-in lies the value..


Nov 17, 2011 11:20 PM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Doug: You Make an excellent point---data is BURIED right now in the propaganda that the "Powers that be" want us to read! Now, we need to ferret out the data so that we can benefit from it---that is very hard because the "Powers that be" are very, very good at making the propaganda LOOK like data! Now we have a real boondoggle: We now have to dig through propaganda to find data which we don't want to waste our time reading so that we can try to ignore it....well you get the picture!

Marc: ...And you said a mouthful! Read the comment above and you will see how we now have the BOONDOGGLE of all boondoggles!!! I just read an article from NAR regarding the fact that they see home sales improving next year (2012) by 6-8% or some such figure (all propaganda IMHO)---This, after the public in general has complained about the data they give us which is always watered down by the National figures to the point that the real information about the "pockets" of real estate that have already turned around, has been buried!

Nov 17, 2011 11:33 PM
Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group
Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001 - Gaithersburg, MD
301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA

I have seen the effects about all these data research in some friends that have considering investing in real estate for years but in the end. .. data research stopped them.. too many ifs



Nov 17, 2011 11:49 PM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Fernando: Now that NAR has changed their data to read: "2012 Improvement In Housing Market" maybe your friends will have a better view of the idea of investing! (Just a little more data to make them think!)

Nov 18, 2011 12:04 AM
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Paula, "paralysis of analysis" can keep a person from ever making a decision and data overload doesn't help the situation. For instance, the Internet is a great resource of information, but it can easily make your head spin into overload. Where do you stop and make that informed decision? 

Nov 18, 2011 12:40 AM
Jeanne Gregory
RE/MAX Southwest - Sugar Land, TX

The best example of this happened to me several years ago.  I had shown a buyer 101 houses (no,not Dalmations, houses).  He was a very well educated engineer and very detail oriented.  Everyone (me, his wife, kids, etc) were frustrated with his inability to make a decision.  One day he comes to my office with a 3 page color coded spreadsheet detailing his top 4 choices.  After thoroughly (and I mean thoroughly) reviewing them with me, he asks what my thoughts are.  "Your wife is going to kill you if you don't pick house #2" You could see the light bulb.  Apparently there were communication issues in the marriage because the wife had stood in the home the day before and told me how much she LOVED that house.  Go figure.  They bought house #2

Nov 18, 2011 12:55 AM
Dick & Sandy Beals
Wilmington Real Estate 4U Wilmington, NC - Wilmington, NC

Hi Paula,

We will start to see more and more data regarding the upcoming many people "go with their gut" "in the blink of an eye" or study "the data" .....OR do nothing?  We know the data is there, it is how we use it that is important.  I'm off  to locate that book!

Dick Beals

Nov 18, 2011 01:24 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Data should be submitted to ones common sense and then decisions made. Too often we live in our minds and emotions instead of reality and conscience. I knew a young couple who tried to raise their kids by reading books on how to do it. Data suggested locking them in closets when they misbehaved...When I heard they did that, I quickly spoke up (don't do that)....Another thought...remember the 9 out of 10 dentists recommend statement..? One dentist held out because he didn't like the DATA

Nov 18, 2011 01:31 AM
Jerry Morse
The Morse Company - Janesville, WI

I think we need to made decisions on the type of data and the sources we select.  I know I need to narrow my choices, since I already receive more information each day, than I could even possibly read. 

Nov 18, 2011 01:36 AM
Richard Weisser
Richard Weisser Realty - Newnan, GA
Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional


You have expanded the topic perfectly. Why not make a gut decision? Why do we agonize so much over such simple things. Excellent post, I enjoyed reading it very much.

Nov 18, 2011 01:45 AM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Paula -  IMO its not the data - its the dissemination of the data that is the issue.  The manipulation of numbers and misinterpretations contributues to the problems.  For example.  Everything I saw in the market place saw SF home values decreasing in 2008....but the raw data suggested a price increase.  It took me a while to realize that only the cream was selling.  Anything that needed any fixing or primping was left unsold. This skewed the data. So you have to be careful with numbers.

Nov 18, 2011 03:01 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Michael: I suggest you don't stop! What you need to do is skim it--take in only the cream and let the rest go. That way you will benefit more than you can imagine by doing it that way! As in "BLINK", the results may even better than you can imagine.

Jeanne: Very Good! See? The data does not need to be too intense, nor should it be so over the top in terms of quantity that it intimidates people--that is the way you lose people!

Dick: Good reading to you! I see the propaganda filled data is where I want to shut my ears and my eyes! It is so over the top--always on the TV and in the News papers...too much but then it's all part of the "data game".


Nov 18, 2011 05:23 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Richie: Very interesting---I am sure more than one perosn has taken Data to heart so much that they ended up hurting someone--Good God! Why can't we be just a little informed? Does it really take a ton of data to get a point across? I don't think so! Interesting about the dentist!

Jerry: I do too--it drives me nuts each morning when I put all those docs into the trash--I find i read less and less and just skim over it all--same outcome!

Richard: Glad you liked it--your post was so stimulating that I could not just drop the subject---data is something we all have to deal we do that and what we do with the outcome is fascinating to me! As you can see in the comments here, many of us here on AR are into the whole concept of data in, data out and it is interesting to see who really groves on data--those are my kind of people!

Ruthmarie: ...and meanwhile, you created all kinds of new data about the SF housing market---I love it! There is nothing you can do about data but accept it and move on...if in the process you discover something as you did, voi' have a new peice of is our friend! :)

Nov 18, 2011 05:33 AM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Sometimes data paralyzes people. Me? Not so much. I think it has its place in our lives, good, bad or indifferent.

Nov 18, 2011 07:22 AM
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Eric: You bet it does--but I don't let it! I keep a good distance from the piles of data that just fills pages--I am a "in a nut shell" girl! I like to read summaries and composites of know the WSJ website? I read those short sentances and that is my news!! I don't need any more!

Nov 18, 2011 10:21 AM