Some reflections on Big Data – London meetups

by Justin Souter on November 19, 2012


The second of my reflections on big data – this time, recounting my experiences attending some great meetups, especially Londata (and featuring Stewart Townsend).

Meetup – Londata VI: Using Data to Delight and Excite

I mentioned this event in passing, however I really enjoyed Pete Laflin’s presentation, who has blogged about the event, and whose slides are pretty much as below.

Peter works for Bloom in Leeds, and they have developed a competence in mining social data to identify key online influencers. Reminds me somewhat of Dollywagon’s Influence Engine.

Fascinating  how marketing and data / tech are merging!

Coca-Cola video

Peter also showed a great video from Coca-Cola, which propounds that “data is the new (s)oil – in which our ideas will grow – and data whisperers will become the new messiahs”. Don’t sit on the fence there, Coca-Cola! ;-)

Hopefully the clip below should start at Chapter 5, and the clip from which the quote above is taken will appear in short order.

Data Science and Big Data meetups

Rather than going into much more detail[!] I’ll say I’m a member of a number of Meetup Groups in London, including Data Science London, and Big Data London (links lead to the events I attended).

One interesting company is import•io – “If you have data that is being scraped, or you want to offer your data so that developers can use it, import•io provides a marketplace to make your data available.”

It was refreshing to meet a great bunch of people mad keen to do big data, and even a bona fide data scientist. Class!

What this all means

I think what this means, certainly in the context of London, is that there is real business traction around big data. Ok, so Gartner’s probably right about the hype cycle, however between now and the mainstream market adoption, there’s a business opportunity, I’d warrant.

However, this is still in and around larger businesses, who have the ability to punt on the potential benefits.

That said, there is an emerging roadmap to engage in this area, something I plan to talk through in my next post.

I’ll leave you with a quote from Kung Fu Panda Lao Tzu:

The difficult things of this world must once have been easy; the great things of this world must once have been small. Set about difficult things while they are still easy; do great things while they are still small. The Sage never affects to do anything great, and therefore he is able to achieve his great results.

He who always thinks things easy is sure to find them difficult. Therefore the Sage ever anticipates difficulties, and thus it is he never encounters them.

While times are quiet, it is easy to take action; ere coming troubles have cast their shadows, it is easy to lay plans.

Next up – a post about several IBM reports in this area.

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