Why Big Data? Here’s Why I’m Interested

I just had my 2nd conversation this morning before coffee about this fabulous Economist special report on Big Data: Data Data Everywhere. The person I was corresponding with asked me why I was interested in this topic. Here’s my answer. If this is something you’re interested in, I’d love to know what it is about Big Data that captures your interest, too.

What got me excited is just that this is a topic I think is fascinating. I’ll tell you frankly: I think in big data there lies a lot of hidden patterns that represent both opportunities for action and for reflection. At RWW we’re working on trying to find ways to mine data to find news first (we’ve got some interesting methods employed already) and personally, I think the world is an awfully unfair mess and I’m hoping that data analysis will help illuminate some of the hows and the whys. Like the way that real estate redlining was exposed back in the day by cross referencing census data around racial demographics and housing loan data. That illuminated systematic discrimination against black families in applying for home loans in certain parts of town. So too I think we’ll find a lot of undeniable proof of injustices and clues for how we might deal with them in big data today.

How about you? Are you interested in Big Data? Where does your interest come from?

Related: Check out Ta-Nehisi Coate’s critical analysis of one of the most prominent recent examples of social media data analyzed. I’m still reading it, myself.

My New Bio, What Do You Think of It?

Working on a new bio, anybody got any feedback on how this reads?

Marshall Kirkpatrick is the lead writer at ReadWriteWeb, one of the top technology news blogs on the internet and syndicated daily online by the New York Times. Marshall has established himself as one of the web’s leading voices on bleeding edge technology thanks to his ability to find signal buried in real-time noise – primarily through the use of innovative research systems built for crowdsourced data mining and first mover’s advantage. He lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, two dogs, two cats and three chickens.


Above: Two thirds of said chickens.

Some Nice Feedback About My Product Development Consulting

I regularly do one-hour long telephone consulting sessions on launch planning and product development. I really enjoy doing that kind of work. My most recent client in that capacity was a pre-launched e-learning platform called Nixty. Glen Moriarty, Psy.D., CEO and Co-Founder of NIXTY, had these kind words to share about our work together. I thought I’d share them here. You can find more information about my consulting services here. Drop me a line if you’d like to discuss our working together.

“Marshall provided us some great insight into our platform and user experience in particular. We had demo’d the product for a variety of different target markets, but we hadn’t really thought through the user experience for one of our main segments. Marshall pointed out this blind spot and then offered several very practical recommendations to tighten up these parts of our platform. In addition, he provided us with some great referrals and pointed us to some hard-to-find resources. I wouldn’t be surprised if one year from now, I reflect back on my conversations with Marshall as being pivotal to our success with acquiring and maintaining users. I strongly recommend his services, especially for those of you who
might be trying to navigate the social Web.”

Thanks, Glen!

Check Out This Poll Widget


This is from Urtak and looks a lot like Hunch. I think it’s a pretty compelling user experience. Poll creation is pretty weak, but easy. Let me know what you think and I’ll tell you what I think of it once we’re on the other side.

Checking in at the admin side, I now see that I can’t even find my poll to check results. Oh well, I sure like the idea anyway.

It’s messy, I can’t figure out why it’s cutting off the first few words of my first sentence above.