Link: A useful big data story

In 2011 Friedberg decided to sell exclusively to farmers, and WeatherBill changed its name to The Climate Corporation. “We needed to feel a little less Silicon Valley and less whimsical,” said Friedberg. For the next few years he would spend half his time on the road, explaining himself to people whose first step was toward mistrust. “Farmers don’t believe anything,” he said. “There’s always been some bullshit product for farmers. And the people selling it are usually from out of town.”

He’d sit down in some barn or wood shop, pull out his iPad, and open up a map of whatever Corn Belt state he happened to be in. He’d let the farmer click on his field. Up popped the odds of various unpleasant weather events—a freeze, a drought, a hailstorm—and his crops’ sensitivity to them. He’d show the farmer how much money he would have made in each of the previous thirty years if he had bought weather insurance. Then David Friedberg, Silicon Valley kid, would teach the farmer about his own fields. He’d show the farmer exactly how much moisture the field contained at any given moment—above a certain level, the field would be damaged if worked on. He’d show him the rainfall and temperature every day—which you might think the farmer would know, but then the farmer might be managing twenty or thirty different fields, spread over several counties. He’d show the farmer the precise stage of growth of his crop, the best moments to fertilize, the optimum eight-day window to plant his seeds, and the ideal harvest date.

From The Fifth Risk.
Original source: A useful big data story

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