I had the pleasure of being invited to blog at the MassTLC unConference on Friday. The event was a full day of diverse topics and discussions ranging from the latest in recipe sharing sites, to entrepreneurial CEO war stories, to hot trends in venture investing. An excerpt covering Big Data from my MassTLC blog is below.
Big Data and Analytics in MA
Hosted by Steve O’Leary of Aeris Partners and Bob Zurek (@bzurek) of Oracle
First question – what is Big Data? While often debated, Steve had a working definition of “big” in terms of Volume, Velocity and Variety. Fritz Knabe of IBM noted that Big Data can come from even the most unexpected places, such as the point-of-sale coupons at checkouts as managed by Catalina (an IBM customer). Mark Rubin, who focuses on MySQL at Oracle, noted that we are collecting everything now because we can. That has led his firm to look at a variety of options, including extending MySQL.
While the infrastructure to support Big Data continues to evolve and mature, there is a real need to make data accessible and interesting for new insights. A number of companies and ways to do this were discussed, such as Tableau, infographics, and Opengov. The model for the public to pay for data analytics is now proven too. As one example, Bob took a quick poll to see who used LinkedIn Premium, and a good number of hands went up. A primary benefit of that approach is the additional analytics – a way for you to see who has viewed your profile.
One issue and opportunity for Boston is that while we have a lot of “data geniuses” in town, many of the people at data-centric companies are focused on selling to others of a similar mind set. Hence, there is a lot to be done still to package Big Data and make it accessible to non-data “geniuses.”
Fear not, as Steve and Bob (shown above) are thinking about forming a new MassTLC BigData cluster in Boston to tackle this issue, among others, and to build a community. They estimate there are about 100 companies around the space – not bad and reminiscent of the wireless cluster around Boston, which boasts around 400 members.