Data Trends for Investment Professionals


On Data Quality

In conversation with his friend Anton about Quandl’s next phase, my co-founder Abraham was explaining that premium data on our site would be of the highest quality.

“Excellent,” Anton replied with a nod. Then, after a moment’s pause he continued somewhat apologetically, “What exactly does that mean?”

Anton, an amazing programmer and chess player, is not a data analyst and hence does not know, instinctively, what all real-world data professionals do: Data is not high quality unless it is accurate and well-documented and up-to-date and well-organized and readily usable and supported by someone who actually understands it. “As soon as you take even one of these attributes away from a database, it very quickly becomes almost useless,” Thomas explained.

“Like Tolstoy,” said Anton. “All good data is the same; every bad data [sic] is bad in its own way”. And with that Anton really did hit the nail on the head. Constructing a truly high-quality database is damn hard because you only have to fall short on one dimension to render your database worthless for real-world professionals.

This is something that data customers seem to understand so much better than data suppliers (probably because, unlike Abraham, most data vendors have never had a penny let alone client money and their careers riding on a model calibrated to their data). We have always found this to be inexcusable, especially if you are charging money and usually lots of money for data.

Abraham then summed it up for Anton: “Quandl is simply going to have a higher standard than any other data provider in the world. Period.”

And we will. Abraham’s statement is not only absolutely correct, it’s a mantra for us. We are determined to establish a reputation for delivering the highest quality data measured on all of Abraham’ criteria. With this post I wanted to unambiguously articulate that commitment. I want there to be no doubt about the value for money that our customers can expect.

Every single premium database on Quandl will be:

• Accurate, precise, consistent and error free.
• Thoroughly documented, with clear descriptions, units and methodology.
• Always up-to-date.
• Curated by a genuine domain expert.

The above, while it of course serves a marketing purpose, is more than that: It is a guarantee from me, the co-founder and CEO of Quandl. You have every right to expect and demand the above from anyone you buy data from. In our case, you can treat the above as a promise of excellence and a commitment that it will take but one email directly to me to effect the necessary improvements if we ever fall short on any of these metrics.

We’re now just a few weeks away from putting this guarantee into action with the launch of premium data. We’re excited to begin crafting a reputation for having the highest quality commercial data in the world.

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