The Power of the Internet
The US Government has been compiling data on all sorts of things for years. One of the most widely watched set of government stats is the US Commerce Department's reports on economic activity.
These reports can often move markets when the numbers come out higher or lower than the extpected numbers. So traders know exactly when these numbers come out and watch them closely.
Well what would happen if someone could calculate the same numbers and report them accurately months before the US Government?
It is already happening, starting with the most obvious numbers, that being e-commerce activity.
One of the Flatiron Partners portfolio companies, Comscore, measures online commerce activity (among many other things) and makes its data available to a wide range of customers who need to know this information accurately and quickly.
Comscore reported its numbers for e-commerce activity in 2005 in early January.
Last Friday, February 17th, the US Government reported its numbers on e-commerce activity in 2005.
And the numbers were basically identical, they differed by less than 1%.
You can read more about this here.
I think we'll see more of this kind of thing as economic activity continues to move online in the coming years.
Slowly but surely the government's role as an important provider of data to markets will erode and eventually die.