The Next Generation Will All Be Data Nerds


Forget Digital Natives, it’s time to meet the new kids on the block: Data Natives.

That’s the idea behind a recent post on Re/Code by Monica Rogati, vice president of Data for wearable-tech maker Jawbone. In The Rise of the Data Natives, Rogati argues that while “digital natives were most concerned with what they can do with technology, data natives are more concerned about what that technology can do for them.”

Here’s how she describes the difference:

  • Digital natives program their thermostat. Data natives expect the thermostat to program itself.
  • Digital natives use the Starbucks mobile app. Data natives want the app to know their favorite drinks — and when to suggest a new one.
  • Digital natives use a cloud-connected baby monitor. Data natives expect their baby monitor to automatically calculate crying percentiles based on millions of other babies.

At New Relic, we couldn’t agree more, except that we think the transition is already underway. We say “We are all data nerds,” because our customers are busy using data to do what they do – whatever they do – better than ever before.

Tango, a free mobile messaging service with 200 million registered members, for example, uses New Relic to access data on how its software is performing to deploy new features faster and increase the speed at which people get access to their pictures.

Yellow Pages Group, meanwhile, uses data to fix “a ton of things that were broken” that the engineering team didn’t even know about before implementing New Relic. Data has reduced troubleshooting time from days to minutes, improved application performance for end users by 20%, and enabled the organization’s new DevOps department to deploy applications with a more agile approach., an online marketplace for voice talent, uses data to determine where to spend its time and resources for maximum impact – making sure its 250,000 global users have a great experience by improving application response time by 50%, and helping developers fix errors in minutes rather than hours

Mobile fitness app RunKeeper uses data to reduce waste and make sure it receives and responds to all the service requests from its 26 million iOS and Android users – all while reducing operational expenses.

Rogati also notes that “technical skills are not enough to satisfy the data natives’ expectations.” We couldn’t agree more. That’s why products like New Relic Insights are designed to make it easy for regular folks, not just data scientists, to access the data they need to make critical business decisions. That way we all can be Data Natives or Data Nerds, whichever you prefer.

*Data native image courtesy of Shutterstock.'

Fredric Paul (aka The Freditor) is Editor in Chief for New Relic. He's an award-winning writer, editor, and content strategist who has held senior editorial positions at ReadWrite,, InformationWeek, CNET, Electronic Entertainment, PC World, and PC|Computing. His writing has appeared in MIT Technology Review, Omni, Conde Nast Traveler, and Newsweek, among other places. View posts by .

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