The Invention that Saved a Million Ships

February 08, 2021

Author: Guy Soreq

The earliest lighthouses were controlled fires on hilltops which signaled a warning to ships as they approached land. Eventually mirrors were used to amplify the light from burning lamps, allowing the signal to reach navigators further out to sea. Though a marked improvement, these were still no match for a dark and stormy night at sea. Then in the 1820s, a French physicist named Augustin Fresnel invented a new kind of lens with a ring of crystalline prisms in the shape of a dome capable of refracting light. Fresnel installed his creation in the Phare de Cordouan, a towering lighthouse situated in France’s Gironde estuary known for its strong tidal currents. Now one lamp could illuminate the way for sailors many nautical miles out to sea.

We see the work of market intelligence akin to these lighthouses, illuminating a path forward in the dark and helping companies keep from crashing against the rocky shore. But unlike the technology of the lighthouse, which underwent a significant evolution with the Fresnel lens, the technology behind the collection of market data has remained largely unchanged. Email may have brought a slight improvement over the telephone, but the dark and stormy corners of our industry remained largely untouched by the light. Very little data has been made available on smaller markets and specialty products because the data collection methods were not suited to the long tail of the industry. That is, until Glowlit.

The long tail of our industry includes both those products and those geographies which represent too small of a market to merit a full time analyst. Under more traditional forms of market intelligence, they do not get the attention they deserve. These products may be a small percentage of the feed formulation, but they are in fact mission critical. Their lack of availability can hold up an entire production line, leaving companies at the mercy of the supply chain in times of shortage. Similarly, regional variations in price are not tracked because of the relevance to too few people. But as with any long tail, it is all about the abundance of these niche markets when summed to form a whole. And this is where Glowlit excels.

Our users often come to us after exhausting the sources of market intelligence they have come to rely on, only to find their product of interest on Glowlit. That is because we don’t rely on the same dozen sources for reporting data. Glowlit has a constantly growing user base of contributors, which allows us to offer a vast array of products and locations. Our crowdsourcing technology sheds a light on the long tail of the industry, because you shouldn’t need to navigate your business decisions blindly, especially in these turbulent waters.