Alistair Croll

Alistair has been an entrepreneur, author, and public speaker for nearly 20 years. He’s worked on a variety of topics, from web performance, to big data, to cloud computing, to startups, in that time. In 2001, he co-founded web performance startup Coradiant (acquired by BMC in 2011), and since that time has also launched Rednod, CloudOps, Bitcurrent, Year One Labs, the Bitnorth conference, the International Startup Festival and several other early-stage companies. Alistair is the chair of O’Reilly’s Strata conference, Techweb's Cloud Connect, and the International Startup Festival. Lean Analytics is his fourth book on analytics, technology, and entrepreneurship. He lives in Montreal, Canada and tries to mitigate chronic ADD by writing about far too many things at Solve For Interesting.

The feedback economy

Companies that employ data feedback loops are poised to dominate their industries.

We're moving beyond an information economy. The efficiencies and optimizations that come from constant and iterative feedback will soon become the norm for businesses and governments.

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Cooking the data

In a world of full disclosure, cooking the data is the new cooking the books.

Open data and transparency aren't enough: we need True Data, not Big Data, as well as regulators and lawmakers willing to act on it.

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The Meat to Math ratio

The ability to augment people (meat) with data and processes (math) is a key to success.

Successful companies find ways to augment their employees, allowing them to operate at scale with customers. Big data, machine learning, and an iterative, experimental mindset are essential — and increasingly, company valuations are tied to the efficiency with which firms put information to work.

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There's no such thing as big data

Even if you have petabyes of data, you still need to know how to ask the right questions to apply it.

Today's big companies are losing to small upstarts simply because those firms ask better questions. To compete, large enterprises need to learn how to harvest the data they have on customers, markets, competitors, and products.

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Everyone loves a science fair

Get your submission in for the Strata Conference Science Fair by January 14.

Strata's science fair will showcase the creative edges of big data. If you have an interesting tool or technology to show — the more beta, the better — let us know.

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Tablets, education, and unions

Tablets can help students and track teachers, but not everyone is on board.

Tablet computing can help reverse the decline of U.S. education, but there's a side effect. Because tablets are digital, we can analyze how students learn and examine teachers' competence. It opens the question: What happens when the digital classroom challenges powerful teachers' unions?

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Big business for big data

What IBM's acquisition of Netezza means for enterprises.

Netezza sprinkled an appliance philosophy over a complex suite of technologies, making it easier for enterprises to get started. But the real reason for IBM's offer was that the company reset the price/performance equation for enterprise data analysis.

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Why Twitter's t.co is a game changer

Twitter's URL shortener could give marketers a key tool for off-site engagement.

If Twitter is so inclined, the company could turn the new t.co shortening service into a powerful analytics tool that solves the marketing and tracking issues of off-site engagement.

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On the performance of clouds

A study ran cloud providers through four tests. Here's some of the results.

Bitcurrent and Webmetrics ran five cloud providers through a series of tests: a small object, a large object, a million calculations, and a 500,000-row table scan. Here's some of the results and lessons learned.

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Promiscuous online culture and the vetting process

Social networks have forever changed hiring and background checks

Social networks, and the big data to analyze them, will forever change how we vet candidates, whether for security clearance, employment, or political office. Technology can help employers check candidates' backgrounds, monitor their behavior once hired, and protect their online reputations. But using the social tracks we share — and what we omit — has important ethical and legal consequences.

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