Shmulik Fishman is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Argyle, the leading employment data platform that provides companies access to user-permissioned records in real-time.

Shmulik Fishman

If Data is the New Oil, Aggregators Are the New Refineries


‘Data is the new oil’ is a concept that has been opined on endlessly. The EconomistForbes, and Wired all have their takes — highlighting data as astronomically profitable and ceaselessly renewable. But oil in the ground helps no one. What makes oil useful is its extraction, refinement, logistical infrastructures, and the machinery that burns it. Data is exactly the same. Like the gold rush or the crypto craze, it’s not the commodity (gold, crypto, data, or otherwise) that will have lasting value.

Tertiary industries — the tools used to extract, process, and move the commodity — reinforce that commodity as a currency and ultimately create value around otherwise useless raw material. Like any other commodity, its value fluctuates, it is generated by countless producers, and it is generic enough to be purchased by every industry.

The tools that manage the transfer of a commodity are the ones to watch. For gold, it was the producer of pikes and shuffles; for crypto, it is the chip and server farm providers; for impute commodities like corn and copper, it’s markets like the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). For today’s data, it’s the aggregators and platform owners. And for income data specifically, it’s Argyle.

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