No, it’s not the next hot app or service (although…🤔). But it is fun to say!
I first was introduced to GIGO in ITM310 in college, a business intelligence class.
Professor Wong, a slender middle aged gentleman,who happened to be a huge football fan, stood in the front of the class explaining data systems and their applications in business.
Wong was in the middle of explaining the importance of having “clean” data in order to construct reliable and repeatable findings.
I basically heard, “Blah blah blah, jargon jargon, GIGO, blah blah.”
But for some reason GIGO caught my attention. I thought he said giggle, which was funny but weird. Giggle data? Then he said it again, GIGO. “Google?” I thought. No, this is a tech class, he knows how to say Google. Well, wtf is GIGO then?
I raised my hand, something I usually didn’t do unless I was called upon. “Can you explain giggle data?” The class laughed. So did Wong thankfully.
“GIGO actually refers to data,” explained Wong. “Garbage In, Garbage Out. If we don’t collect accurate data, then our queries may return biased results.”
Later, I would find out the GIGO was used here and there as a friendly reminder about accuracy. But when I first raised my hand to figure out what the hell he was saying, I didn’t expect some ITM term to carry over to so many aspects of life.
I catch myself thinking about that class every now and again when I get a GIGO reminder. From BI terminology to lessons in life, the adage holds true.
Whether you’re talking about data and queries or diet and exercise, garbage in equals garbage results.
In the wise words of my Dad, “You can’t make chicken soup out of chicken shit.”
One of the major applications of this saying in my life has been with my diet. Now, before I even start talking about this, I have to say that food is one of my favorite things and I’ll admit, my eating habits haven’t always been great. But it’s a work in progress.
The first time I really recognized the correlation between diet and GIGO was during spring of my sophomore year in college. Prior to this year, I had pretty much followed the same diet I had always eaten. I was a firm believer in everything in moderation. And I do mean everything.
I had been training like crazy all spring. Hitting the weights harder than ever and doing extra speed work on top of the standard program. But I still couldn’t get a 6-pack. It didn’t make sense. I was killing it in the gym and on the field but I still couldn’t shed the last couple layers.
Finally, after consulting our strength and conditioning coach he got me in touch with our team dietician. After a couple of consultations, food diaries, and some easy recipes and tips, I had a plan. A few weeks later I started seeing progress. Not just in the mirror, but on the field, in the weight room and even classroom. I felt better across the board just by making some simple diet choices.
Now, I wish I could say that was the point in my life where I changed forever and never gone back. Ha! Not the case. Like I said before, it’s a work in progress.
This weekend I had a slip up.
Since I can remember I’ve loved sweets and treats. Candies, cookies, cakes, ice cream, the works. Picky is not a word that’s synonymous with my diet in general, and even less so with my adoration of sweets.
Back to the story, I had one of my cravings Friday night. I couldn’t stop myself. I ate a sharing size bag of M&Ms AND a couple rows of Oreos. All this right before bed, gross. Woke up the next morning and my insides were not happy with me. Disgusting. As you can imagine, and the entire day I felt the after effects. When will I learn?!
For me, GIGO has become a friendly reminder about food choices and making sure i’m fueling my body properly. It’s more than an college business intelligence term, because it causes you to think about the entire process. No longer are we just focused on the result. Because we know that poor quality in the front end of the equation, leads to poor quality results.
This week, let GIGO be your reminder to put in quality work throughout the process. It might take a few extra minutes, but the end product is worth it. After all, a few extra minutes grinding is always worth it.