By Joel Lim, Creative Innovation, Ogilvy UK


The internet is 30 years old this year.

To celebrate this, I could've reminisced about the sound of the first ever modems connecting with their weird sounds, my first Geocities blog, ICQ crush, surfing the web for the first time on an LCD-screened Nokia (pre-iPhone era), but I chose not to. 

Instead I've decided to write about data. All the data the internet this thirty-year-old has generated. I agree, on a spreadsheet, data looks boring. But when you use it to discover patterns, or inform an idea, data gets interesting. More about that in a bit.

First, I want to impress on you the amount of data you generate daily – it might surprise you.

* You wake up, and send a text to your partner who's beside in bed, less than two feet away from you (conversation data).

* Groggily you exit your flat, walk to your Tube station and take the dark green line (GPS data).

* On the way to the office, you resist the urge to buy overpriced coffee from Starbucks. You fail and buy an ultra-large toffee nut latte (financial data).

* At work, you don't. Instead you spend five hours looking online for a new winter jacket (activity data); you're just window shopping or scrolling, rather.

* After work, you head to the pub for a Brewdog (financial data).

* You take silly photos of your crew at the pub and share them on Instagram (photo and video data)

* You jog home in your stupor to "stay healthy", plus also because you need to justify your recent fitbit purchase anyway (GPS and activity data).

* You watch Netflix (activity data).

* You Netflix and chill ( 

Collectively, all the humans on the planet with an internet connection - about 4.4 billion, created about 2.5 exabytes of data per day in 2018. Doesn't sound like much. Until it works out that 2.5 EB = 2.5 BILLION GIGABYTES PER DAY. 

What's more, it's estimated that there'll be about 75 billion Internet-of-Things things by 2020. This will explode the amount of data generated every day even more. Plus, about a million of first-time users are added to the wonderful world of the www every day. Crazy times. Or crazy times 18 zeroes.

The weird thing here is not that there's so much data sitting in servers. It's more that there's so little being done with it. In fact, less than 0.5% of all the data out there is being analysed. Opportunity time!

Can we use the mountains of data our clients have on a digital spreadsheet somewhere in a virtual drawer to inform or inspire cool ideas? Yeah. 

I end with a link to the first website in the world It’s prolly storing your click-thru data somewhere.