“Garret Douglas has a way with people. You know those people who can skate through life off of good looks without any talent? Well Garret lacks the first part, but his talent is reading people. After spending twenty years hunched over a computer generating algorithms to match Internet shopping ads to people’s guilty splurges, he has this ability to break people down into fragments of data. From your outfit to your mannerisms, Garret can pretty accurately assess your net worth, emotional stability, and likelihood to recycle at home. Garret doesn’t try to “get to know people” because he already knows them. As a result, Garret doesn’t have the best social life.

Algorithms are supposed to give predictable, reliable answers for any recognizable entry. But what happens when the code generates an unexpected output? The input is Charlotte.”

Data Feud doesn't exist as a book outside the synopsis I wrote to guide my concept when I was assigned this open ended title to work with. Instead of focusing on "data" in terms of digital information, I imagined a book that focuses on the type of information gets transformed into data points. I wanted my story to have some element of humanity, so I thought about census records, character tropes, and human behavior.

Instead of drawing predictable conclusions from data, I wanted a story that disrupted the safety of statistics. The “feud” became the competing instincts Garrett’s formula to people and Charlotte’s unpredictability.


Case Study