I’m told all the time that data is very important. I’m not entirely convinced.
Sometimes the evidence of my own eyes and my own life experiences-subjective data, as you might call it-always trumps a spreadsheet, a chart, or a boisterous startup founder.
Then I wonder what you might think of a site for ailing eyes that desperately wants to make your life better.
When I first saw DataScalp-I know, the name doesn’t resonate with beauty-I wondered if the creator’s own eyes and life experiences weren’t quite what they could have been.
The name might inspire some to wonder, “Dear Lord, why? “And the site, well, it feels like a forgotten mix of the less creative 1997 period.
Nevertheless, DataScalp’s mission is to improve your flying experience with, Oh yes, data. And not data provided by DataScalp, but by unfortunate people like you who have experienced terrible flights.
The site provides general information about airline cancellations, baggage accuracy, timeliness, and cancellation deadlines for refunds.
But I ask you, haven’t you already found all this online? Doesn’t this information already exist? And perhaps most importantly, given that Americans have so few real choices when flying, will this data affect human behavior?
I asked DataScalp creator Dwight Harris, Jr. about some of my concerns.
He told me, “this content is based on logical statistics that mimic information that airlines actually have but are hiding. DataScalp content is based on basic services. It’s not based on flavor, like Yelp, which is subjective and doesn’t allow for ranking.”
He also made an intriguing point: “Consumers who gravitate toward good performers leave plenty of inventory for airlines, which leads to lower prices. Consequently, consumers through DataScalp literally influence prices unlike any other platform.”
What about the name? Isn’t that a bit controversial?
Not to Wright Jr. “you’re scalping tickets, so DataScalp eliminates ambiguity about the information. Finding a company name and a Web site that contains Word data is extremely difficult. DataScalp as a name is a godsend.”
Who am I to argue when God is called out?
But the airlines have now merged, haven’t they? At least that’s what the airlines say. Well, the Thanksgiving period seemed relatively peaceful. Even Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg thought so.
Ah, but Harris Jr. insists it’s only going to get worse. He told me, “the only reason Thanksgiving travel was relatively easy was because of climate change, because November was relatively warm. But the airlines haven’t changed anything. So when the weather cools down, it will exacerbate the problems that have always existed.”
Yeah, but it’s always been that way, hasn’t it? Especially on the East Coast. Nothing can change the changing tides of storms.
Harris Jr. disagrees. He said: “airlines aren’t going to change until we get reliable customer feedback that can’t be hidden or obscured in one of those customer feedback forms. While DataScalp isn’t very good, it’s ready to solve a nasty problem: air travel.”
Admittedly, I have a hard time seeing how the collected thoughts of angry American pilots can make any difference at all. It never has. The airlines know you can complain all you want, but when four airlines own more than 80% of the seats, you have to take what you can get and be thankful you got to your destination.
The Datascalp may be starting to take off this winter. Hark at Harris Jr.’s solemn tones, “winter is coming for the airline industry. I expect the December trip to be one of the worst.”
I suppose you have nothing to lose by offering your views on this new on-air Reddit. And Wright Jr. insists his site will change people’s behavior. (Yes, indeed.)
“I worked on Wall Street for ten years,” he told me. “I can see that I’ve successfully changed corporate behavior at the highest levels. This approach has proven to be effective.”
But of course. Corporations are people too, right?