Way back when, in the early stages of my career I was told that my job was to be half computer scientist and half riverboat gambler. The trick was to figure which half, at what point in time and in what situation.

Teradata recently ran an ad in Forbes magazine with the headline, "Data-driven businesses outperform" and the sub-head of, "Becoming a data-driven organization is now a matter of survival in the market, because such organizations tend to outperform."

Oh really?

A few pages later, Rich Karlgaard makes a persuasive case about "Data Wimps" with the following closing thoughts, "In the early 1990s Starbucks hit a slow patch. "Putting his career and reputation on the line [Howard] Behar told [Howard] Schulzt and the Starbucks board, "We don't need more data. Our problem is simple. Our employees are unhappy. Is that enough data for you?"

Dear marketers, are your customers unhappy? The data looks great... but are your customers unhappy? It pays to ask...

And then, listen to your gut and make the right decision, even if it flies in the face of all the science, statistics and predictive models that say otherwise. Remember, all the data is looking in the rear-view mirror. It's in the past. Your decisions need to take advantage of the future.