Business trends and insights to keep you ahead of your competitors

big data blogs

The Top 20 Big Data Blogs and Influencers to Follow

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According to research conducted by Gartner, “Big data investments continue to rise but are showing signs of contracting.” The company’s most recent survey found that “48 percent of companies have invested in big data in 2016, up 3 percent from 2015. However, those who plan to invest in big data within the next two years […]

deep learning

White Paper: Using Web Data to Power Deep Learning

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Once the sole purview of academics and a few of the largest high-tech companies, deep learning now represents an approach that’s poised for rapid and widespread growth across a range of companies and industries. Artificial intelligence (AI) was a concept that was introduced in the 1950s. Initially, AI was inherently a rules-based approach. Developers would […]

What you need to know to make Deep Learning work for you

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Artificial Intelligence made promises that it couldn’t keep for over five decades.  But that has all changed with the advent of Deep Learning, which has been delivering staggering results in the past few years. The field of Deep Learning is accelerating as researchers try bolder and bolder experiments. Some of the applications of Deep Learning, […]

Can data shape the future of mental health support?

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What follows is a reproduction of an article from The Guardian newspaper.  It discusses Plexus, an app developer that is using to acquire mental health data from the web for their chatbot named Grace.     Can data shape the future of mental health support? If you’re experiencing a mental health issue, one of the people you probably least […]

5 undeniable reasons to invest in data before it’s too late

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A Gartner survey revealed that “more than 75% of companies are investing or planning to invest in big data in the next two years.” Companies see the value in data, including enhanced customer experiences, streamlined processes, and targeted marketing. It’s a high-return investment that keeps businesses competitive in their sectors. However, executives and managers get […]

How today’s top Marketers and Growth Hackers use data every day

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Marketing data is an essential part of any good marketing strategy. While the process of collecting, storing and analyzing data may be complex (and require an advanced math degree), understanding and harnessing the power of that data doesn’t have to be. Wondering how data help make your organization’s marketing better, stronger and more effective? We asked […]

10,000 leads in 10 minutes

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Ok, let’s start with the basics. Leads represent the first stage of the sales process.  In its simplest form a lead is any “person or entity that has an interest and authority to purchase your product or service”. Or in other words: someone you can sell to.

Sounds good. So, what information do you need about that person or entity for it to be an actionable lead? A good rule of thumb is to look for the information that you would find on a business card, i.e. their name, associated company and contact details.

10 keynote talks on data and business that you need to watch

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In recent years more than ever before, if you’re not paying attention to the data, you’re missing out on opportunities that can help you grow your business. Data is everywhere. The businesses that will survive and thrive over the next few decades (and long into the future) are the ones that are committed to capturing, […]

deep learning

Andrew Ng shares the astonishing ways deep learning is changing the world

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Just when you thought you’d got your head around the whole Machine Learning thing…BAMN! There’s a new tech buzzword in town rearing up to take it’s place.

Deep learning.

And while it may seem like just another Silicon Valley buzzword that all the new startups will claim to be using, deep learning is actually already being used to make some really astounding advances. We’re talking borderline science fiction here.

We caught up with deep learning expert, Andrew Ng, and asked him to explain what deep learning is and how we should expect to see it change the world in 2016.

How to buy data for your business

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Like many businesses today, you know you need external data to drive insights.

What you may not know is how to get your hands on that data. You would think in this day and age, like pretty much everything else, you could just buy what you want. And you can. Kind of.  

In this guide, we put ourselves in your shoes. The shoes of someone who needs to get external web data into their company. And we answer the all important question:

How do I get external data into my business?

22 data experts share their predictions for 2016

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Predicting the future is never an easy task. But as 2015 winds down, we can’t help but look forward to what the new year will bring. 

Will you finally be able to buy a self-driving car? Will machines become smarter than man? And what, will happen to the world of data science?

We’re no fortune tellers, so we rounded up a bunch of experts to ask them what they thought. And here (in no particular order), is what they said: 

10 industries that are changing because of data

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The migration to big data is quickly becoming a race: keep up or shut down. Whether you’re a standalone brick-and-mortar shop or the next Silicon Valley unicorn, there’s an emerging urgency to adopt big data for all of your major business decisions. But it’s not just because the information is valuable, rather the information is […]

40 data mavericks under 40

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The definitive list of the most interesting and innovative people in data

We love data – a lot. And when we realized there was no good list of the awesome people in data we were horrified. There are so many cool people out there doing amazing things with data – how has no one made a list yet?!?!

We get to meet lots of exciting data innovators at Extract, so we decided to use our knowledge to create the first Data Mavericks list. A lot of thought went in to choosing people who are truly making a difference in the data scene.

It was no easy task narrowing our list down, but 40 under 40 seemed like a good place to start. Here they are. In alphabetical order, please enjoy our list of the Top 40 Data Mavericks under 40.

4 simple (but incredibly smart) ways to analyze one product dataset

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When you want to start using data as part of your analysis, it can be tempting to simply buy access to a big database. But the problem with these static databases, is not only are they generally very expensive, but often by the time you get them they are already out of date. Prices and products in the online retail space change almost hourly so up-to-date data is essential. 

Often the data you need is right in front of you. There is tons of good, valuable data available on the web. Especially if you’re in the retail space, there are loads of websites with a veritable treasure trove of useful data – from prices to customer ratings to dimensions – that you can access and visualize for real-time insight. makes it very easy for you to get that data, either yourself or with a custom request for price intelligence

We used to gather a bunch of data on cellphones from Amazon and Walmart which we visualized in our Silk analyzing smartphone information. Here are four simple, but very smart, things you can learn with this data.

How to test the quality of web data

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Everyone is talking about the usefulness of data. Data can bring your more revenue, save you money help you understand your market and lead you to better insights. But, what people often ignore (or maybe just forget to talk about) is that all of the above is true ONLY IF you have accurate data. And as anyone who has worked with data can tell you, data is often a dirty, unstructured mess. Especially when it comes from the web. 

At, we’ve spent a lot of time focused on data quality – both for our free users and our clients. The first step is obviously trying to build your APIs to be as accurate as possible by using the right column fields, marking up multiple pages or generating your own Xpaths. But even after all that, you still need to check your data for accuracy. This article will show you how our data delivery team monitors and checks the quality of data sets (like this one) we create for corporate clients and give you some guides for checking your own data.

8 lessons you should learn from today’s data innovators

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You’ve heard the hype: Companies that use big data analytics are 5 times more likely to make decisions “much faster” than their competition. Great. And you’ve built yourself a data science team and started collecting data. Even better. But, now you want to start innovating, pushing the envelope, become the next Google.

Well, you’re probably not going to be the next Google – not unless you have an extra $8 billion lying around. But, just because you don’t have their budget, doesn’t mean you can’t learn from the what the great data innovators are doing.

5 ways web data can help retailers

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If you’ve been paying attention to the news at all in the last few years, you’ll have heard the phrase “Big Data”. And if you’re like us, you’re probably getting pretty sick and tired of it. You certainly don’t need us (or anyone else) to tell you the importance of using data in the retail industry – you’re already using data everyday! Sales data, customer data and product data are all familiar to you and your analytics team. 

What’s missing from this equation isn’t Big Data, it’s web data. Your sales, customer and product data all come from within your organization – which is obviously very useful – but it’s only half the story. There is so much more you can learn if you look outside your organization at the data that is on the web. This data has only recently started being accessible to retailers, but already it has made a big impact. 

Here are five ways you can start using web data today! They’re all based on real-world examples of clients we’ve helped at import.

How to design killer products using data

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To say Amazon screwed up big time with their disastrous product, the Amazon Fire Phone, is a bit of an understatement…. they took a $170 million write-down largely attributable to unsold inventory. But why did it go so wrong?  And how can product managers avoid being the next product disaster using data science?

We’ll never know for certain why the Amazon fire phone failed to resonate with consumers. But, we can try to help other product developers avoid making the same mistake. In this article we will to explore some of the modern data analytics and business intelligence techniques from the world of data science that should help you minimize the risk of producing a product flop.

5 companies using data right

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Data. The trendiness of the word has begun to scare people away from it. But we all know that data is nothing new, however big or small. We’re just finally getting to the place where corporations are realizing its tangible value beyond simple market guidance. Data is driving businesses on every front. From customer acquisition […]

Are you cut out for startup life?

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Whether you’ve bought in to the Silicon Valley dream or not, there’s no denying that startups have become an increasingly popular place to work – especially for young people. It seems everyone has an opinion on whether going to work for a startups is a good decision or a bad one. With all this (unsolicited) advise going around, it can be tough to make a decision that’s right for you

If you’ve ever wonder if you have what it takes to hack it in the fast-paced world of startups? We’ve got you covered! As certified startup experts (we work in one), we’ve created the ultimate personality quiz to help you find you ideal work environment.  

Go on, give yourself a quick mental break (you deserve it) and try it out…

Take the quiz ->

Why now is the perfect time to go all in on external data analytics

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“The world seems to suffer from a “data not invented here syndrome”, a bias toward using internal data that was created inside the four walls of a business. This syndrome affects both companies that use data and publishers that create products using data.” — Dan Woods,  Forbes Contributor, Why External Web Data Is Getting Vastly […]

big data blogs

The best big data blog posts of 2015 so far

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As the trend of big data continues to emerge, it’s not hard to get lost in the noise. Everyone wants to write the next great post about it, analyze its utility, and declare his or her prophetic insights for the industry’s future. You could easily spend a week reading post after post without gaining a […]

7 tools every entrepreneur should know about

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As an entrepreneur you have to wear a lot of hats. Working in a small organization means you often need to fill the duties of what in a bigger company would be several different people. For a long time, in addition to being CEO I was also acting CFO, COO, Head of Sales & Marketing, and Product Manager. None of that would have been at all possible without the use of some of these killer tools, many of whom turned out to be real life-savers. In this post I’ve highlighted 7 of my favorites. To keep it interesting, I’ve also tried to pick some less obvious ones you may not have heard of

How (and why) to become a data-driven company

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In the last few years numerous thought leaders have begun touting the value of Big Data, which involves extracting useful information from within and without a company. The real benefit they tell us is that with this data you will be able to make data-driven decisions – which are supposed to be better than regular […]

deep learning

How to get more insights from google analytics using data import

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I recently had a very enlightening conversation with a guy from the Google Analytics premium team. He wanted me to teach him some web scraping tips so could add to the data in GA for his clients. It reminded me of a powerful GA feature that I’d forgotten about: Data Import.

We discussed how Google Analytics is great, but unless you are connecting it to data from other sources, you are limiting the picture and missing out on a whole universe of insights. Which is why the GA team created Data Import in the first place, but now – with tools like ours – this tool can really come into its own.

How data visualizations impact business growth

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If you want to survive in business today, you have to be investing resources into collecting, learning from, and making decisions based on data. For a lot of businesses, interpreting data can be a real challenge. That’s where data visualization often comes into play. “Data visualization” is a general term that describes any effort to […]

Everything you ever wanted or needed to know about big data

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Big Data is a phrase that gets bandied about quite a bit in the media, the board room – and everywhere in between. It’s been used, overused and used incorrectly so many times that it’s become difficult to know what it really means. Is it a tool? Is it a technology? Is it just a […]

Tactical hacks: Drive quality visitors to your site in 3 simple steps

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Whether you want to call it Growth Hacking, Digital Marketing or – my personal favourite – Tactical Data Warfare, any good website strategy hinges off of two things: traffic and conversion. Traffic is the number of people who visit your website and conversion is the number of people who take the desired action (sign up, purchase, share – whatever that means for you).

In this post I’m going to give you a quick tactical hack for driving more (hyper targeted) traffic to your website using data. By using your knowledge of your product and target personas, you can drive high-quality traffic to your website and (hopefully) increase your conversion rates using this handy hack.

10 ways to get data from the web: Code, tools, & datasets

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“Gartner believes that enterprise data will grow 650 percent in the next five years, while IDC argues that the world’s information now doubles about every year and a half. IDC says that in 2011 we created 1.8 zettabytes (or 1.8 trillion GBs) of information, which is enough data to fill 57.5 billion 32GB Apple iPads, […]

Why you should invest in your data journalism skills

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Hey all, Alex here again with another webinar recap. This week, I teamed up with the fabulous Caspar from Silk to demonstrate how easy it can be to incorporate data into your journalism stories. This ever popular trend has been sweeping the journalism community in recent years, and Caspar and I were keen to show you how you can take advantage of this trend without adding too much to your already overflowing workload.

A 101 guide to business intelligence

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“The only real valuable thing is intuition,” Albert Einstein once said. I’m willing to bet today’s data-driven business executives would disagree with Einstein on account of the development of Business Intelligence (BI) software. BI software allows management to utilize data and guide their companies with data-driven decisions rather than intuition, opinions or ideas. What is […]

Exploring the Inc. 5000 list with Qlik

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A guest post by Joe Warbington (Solutions Architect, Healthcare at Qlik)

Recently, Inc released their latest list of the fastest-growing private U.S. companies. “The list is compiled by measuring each company’s percentage revenue growth over a four-year period. As a data set, it can tell you some pretty interesting things such as which industries are growing the fastest and which cities high-growth companies are gravitating towards.” according to

California tech companies dominate the 2014 list, perhaps as expected. Curious to see how Wisconsin-based companies performed, I took the list and quickly added it to Qlik Sense – a next-gen data visualization and discovery application.

In minutes, I was able to to see the 70 Wisconsin companies that made the list this year. Quite a few healthcare-IT related firms help boost the workforce (17,984 people) and overall revenue generated ($7 billion USD):

The Industrial Revolution of data

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In writing my keynote speech for the Data Summit SF, I did a lot of thinking about how to best explain my beliefs about data, and how it will change the world. As always, it’s handy to have a nice metaphor to fall back on. And there are a lot to chose from in the data space: Data is the new oil, soil, currency, economy, bacon – you can fill in practically anything here. For my talk I chose to equate data with gold, partly because it’s a good metaphor, but mostly because I was speaking in San Francisco which owes a large part of it’s success to the Gold Rush of the 1850s.

In speaking to people about it afterwards though, I don’t think the gold metaphor quite did the idea justice…

The importance of being a data-driven company

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It’s all well and good for me and load of other companies who work in data to sit here and tell you that you need to be using data in your organization. Big Data is the latest business buzzword, and while the benefits of it can be immense, convincing yourself or your boss to start implementing it into your bottom line can sometimes be a bit of an uphill battle. But, data is important. In fact it’s critical for your business. And it’s you attitude to data, more than any other indicator (like size of Hadoop cluster or number of data scientists employed) that will determine your successful use of it.

investment banking

5 mistakes a tech company should avoid when raising capital

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This post was inspired by a short presentation I was asked to give this morning at Hill Hofstetter at their most recent Technology Breakfast Seminar. The topics all centered around best practices for raising capital as a tech startup, and having just come off a fundraising round where we secured $3M, it was a topic I’m quite familiar with. This is the second major round of funding I’ve raised and each one is always a major learning experience. In addition to my own experience, I’ve spoken with literally hundreds of other entrepreneurs about the trials and tribulations of raising money. So without further ado, here’s my top 5 mistakes to avoid when raising capital:

Qualified author outreach lists in 3 easy steps

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Getting the contact details of journalists you want to target is an important part of any good marketing/pr strategy. But, using mass marketing and outreach lists has always felt kinda scummy…particularly the ‘bought in’ lists. TechCrunch even went so far as to publicly publish all their email addresses to prevent companies selling them.

I’ve devised a simple – seriously there’s only 3 steps – guide to curating your own targeted list of authors. These self-generated author contact lists are guaranteed to work much better than buying a mass list. Not to mention they’ll save you from giving authors a rage induced aneurysm.

How to get a stranger to agree to something

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Getting a stranger to agree to something is all about negotiation. Whether you realise it or not, you negotiate every single day. We are all in the business of motivating people to do things for us; whether this be motivating your team to pull together, motivating your customers to buy from you or motivating investors to give you money.