Data is the New Oil

Per the World Economic Forum, market capitalisation of the world most valuable companies paints a very different picture in 2016 from 2006.

In 2006, oil giant Exxon Mobil headed the list of the world’s most valuable companies and Microsoft was the only tech firm near the top. Fast-forward to August 2016, and Apple, Google’s Alphabet, Amazon and Facebook dominate the list, while ExxonMobil is the only oil company left in the top five. It is also noteworthy that ExxonMobil is only 400 million behind Facebook currently, but for a brief time this year Facebook was intact ahead of ExxonMobil.

What has caused this major shift? And what are some key takeaways from the 2016 landscape?

  • Data is the new oil.

  • The new wave of business leaders are not just technology companies. They are also marketplaces, social networks, mobility providers, experience providers, mobile wallets and finance companies, education providers and much more.

  • They are global and not restricted to brick and mortar presence.

  • These are platform companies that are poised for exponential growth because they are nimble, innovative and operate in startup-mode.

  • More than 20 billion devices are connected to the Internet currently, accessible products and services offered by these companies.

  • China and India are already ahead of the United States with the number of Internet users, that is only set to grow with hundreds of millions from both countries yet to have access to the Internet -- opening up markets that these companies are waiting to capitalise on.

  • The effective use of human capital distinguishes these companies from the also-rans.

The age of technology has arrived. It is already impacting education, work, play and everyday life. But not many in NZ are heeding these warnings. Innovating in a technology-enabled future is the only way to stay relevant and survive. The first step towards that is activating and investing in human capital here in NZ. Are you ready?


Tech Futures Lab is offering an innovative New Master degree that is a game-changer for New Zealand, co-designed with its partner Unitec Institute of Technology. The flexible and intensive specialisation will help candidates link successful business decisions with technological advancement and innovate in a shifting business landscape --- all while working on a work-based project or a startup idea. Applications open for Feb 2017 intake. Early bird pricing and applications due Dec 22, 2016.


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Tech Futures Lab is an education facility of The Mind Lab, a NZQA registered Tertiary Education Organisation under the provisions of the Education Act 1989. Candidates who are studying on a programme delivered by Tech Futures Lab are enrolled with The Mind Lab.