L-R: Enda Ridge (KPMG), Michael Cutler (TUMRA), Paul Bradshaw (DDJ), Duncan Ross (Teradata), Daniel Hulme (Satalia), And Piper (Cloud Foundry), Will Scott Moncrieff (Duedil) and Christian Prokopp (Rangespan)
The Big Data Debate
Last night we were fortunate enough to co-host another Big Data Debate which took place at Google Campus in their big ground floor space. It’s been nearly 4 months since the last BDD in San Fran and even longer since we’ve had one in London, and last night’s was well attended with the audience numbering nearly 150! In case you weren’t able to attend here is a short recap of what you missed.
As usual the night kicked off with two lightning pitches, in which each CEO had 5 minutes to give a quick overview of his company and how they work with or use big data. First up was Alex Foster, CEO of Race Yourself. Race Yourself is one of the first companies developing running apps for Google Glass, because we all know we’d run a little faster if there were zombies chasing us! Next it was Henrik Gudbrand, CEO of Raiteas, a relatively young startup helping companies to visualize and explore SQL.
After the pitches it was time for the main event! This month’s debate was based on our very popular San Francisco edition and dealt with the Controversial Questions in Big Data. The panel was chock full of experts including Duncan Ross, Director of Data Science at Teradata; Daniel Hulme, CEO of Satalia; Michael Cutler, CTO of TUMRA; Paul Bradshaw, Data Journalist at DataDrivenJournalism.net; Andy Piper, Developer Advocate for Cloud Foundry, Will Scott Moncrieff, Global Business Development for Duedil and Enda Ridge, Senior Manager of Data Insight Services at KPMG. Keeping this rowdy panel on topic and providing the questions was the moderator, Christian Prokopp from Rangespan.
L-R: Michael Cutler, Paul Bradshaw, Duncan Ross and Daniel Hulme
The debate covered a wide range of topics, but of course the most hotly contested was the ever-present issue of privacy in a big data world. Duncan Ross made an interesting analogy when he compared big data to a small village where it is hard to be anonymous. The trade-off for privacy, argued Michael Cutler, is that the more people understand about you the better they can service your needs by providing you with exactly what you’re looking for. He made an interesting point that before big data it was still to possible collect and analyze all the same information, technology just makes it faster and cheaper and therefore more accessible. Duedil’s Will Scott Moncrieff added that we are the ones pushing for this shift towards using people’s data: “We are all driving this change as much as we are trying to put the brakes on it”
Another hot-button issue was our blind reliance on big data to solve all our problems. Correlation does not equal causation afterall and the more data you have the more correlations you will be able to find. Paul Bradshaw advertised caution when it comes to our reliance on big data, saying that the human element is still essential when making a decision.
The night ended with a few questions from the audience and then much needed pizza, beer and networking. Of course a massive thank you has to go out to our sponsors for the evening; KPMG, Teradata and Claritize. It was a great event and we are quite looking forward to organizing the next one – and this time we promise not to make you wait another 4 months!