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The Role of Big Data in Due Diligence

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Many interesting things stand out in the article written by Steven Bertoni titled "Exclusive Interview: How Jared Kushner Won Trump The White House," which was published in November on Forbes’ website. What caught my eye right from the start were two quotes which seemed very much out of place.

The first was:

"It's hard to overstate and hard to summarize Jared's role in the campaign," says billionaire Peter Thiel, the only significant Silicon Valley figure to publicly back Trump. "If Trump was the CEO, Jared was effectively the chief operating officer."

The second was:

"Jared Kushner is the biggest surprise of the 2016 election," adds Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google, who helped design the Clinton campaign's technology system. "Best I can tell, he actually ran the campaign and did it with essentially no resources."

Why are these quotes out of place? Not so much because of what is being said, but more because of who is saying them. What could be the importance of comments made by two world tech leaders to the understanding of a winning political campaign? In two words: Big Data.

Bertoni goes on to describe Kushner's bold approach in having big data determine the focus and budget for Trump's presidential campaign. Without going into detail, the due diligence process Kushner applied throughout the campaign essentially enabled him to target his voters and deliver all they needed to hear.

While Big Data is considered a rather vague buzzword(s), we see it being implemented all the time, and in the world of due diligence and investigative services, it's a powerful tool to have.

When a hedge fund is considering a substantial investment, big data has played a significant role. Using various platforms and innovative technology, we are able to extract actionable information.  There are many examples of this, but I'll point out three main areas where big data tools help gain insight:

  • Geolocation – Using the data we gather from various social media platforms to determine an individual's location.
  • Sentiment Analysis – Understanding how people feel about certain events, companies, etc. This is being used across the board, from politics to advertising, and of course due diligence.  
  • Event Extraction – Making sure that an important event is not only noticed, but is reacted to in time.

Big data is here, leveraging it to gain important and timely insights will be the defining difference between winning and losing. 

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