A few months ago analyst Chetan Sharma in his excellent “State of the Global MobileUnion 2012” presentation shared a piece of data related to mobile that really blew me away. We all know that the rate of mobile adoption is staggering – outpacing almost every other technology that has come before. But did you know that more people have mobile phones than electricity or drinking water? When Chetan shared that piece of data it was like a slap in the face. It reminded me of the time when someone described to me the size of Facebook in terms of a country’s population: It would be the third largest. Wow, that’s really big.
The only other time I remember having a total needle-scratching-off-the-record moment was when I read an article that quoted Google’s Eric Schmidt describing the amount of data that we create today. He said: “There was 5 exabytes of information created between the dawn of civilization through 2003. That much information is now created every 2 days, and the pace is increasing.” That’s crazy big!
Sometimes it’s really difficult to grasp the enormity of things, especially when those things are abstract (like data). However, when people describe how big something is relative to something you know or understand it suddenly makes it real. Anyway, Chetan’s slide about the enormity of mobile made me want to attempt to visualize some of the data I just described into a single visual in an effort to paint a collective “big” picture of these very big things. I hope it works.