The Guardian's Simon Rogers on why data journalism caught on and where it goes from here.
In the following interview, Rogers discusses the changes he’s seen in data journalism over the last five years and how new tools and increased notoriety will shape the data journalism space.
Why has data become the story for some journalists like yourself?
Simon Rogers: It’s a big change for reporters, to go from being suspicious of numbers to noticing that often data journalism is the only way to get stories from them. I think it’s a combination — the huge growth in published data out there combining with things like WikiLeaks, which changed the game for news editors to realize this was a new way to get stories. Read more…
Electronic Arts CTO Rajat Taneja on big data's growing role in the video game world.
Electronic Arts (EA) isn’t the first company that comes to mind when you think of big data. Yet the gaming company is collecting increasing amounts of data about its online players, and as this data accumulates and gains steam, it falls under the big data category.
If a game maker like EA is considered a big data company, it could have implications for other companies we might not think of as typical big data generators. With that in mind, I got in touch with Rajat Taneja, chief technology officer at EA and a keynote speaker at the upcoming Strata Conference in California. Since Taneja came on board with EA in 2011, he’s helped steer the company’s technological initiatives, including understanding the impact this growing data store will have on the firm — both from a processing standpoint and how to use it to provide games and services customers want most. He says no matter what your company does, if you have constantly connected online services, you are very likely going to be dealing with lots of data.
Our interview follows. Read more…
GoodData's Roman Stanek on how big data applies to all businesses, including the small ones.
When you bandy about a term like “big data” often enough, it tends to lose its meaning. But big data is much more than a marketing term, although it is that, too — it’s a means of trying to understand and control the sheer volume of information we are seeing inside and outside our organizations.
It’s easy to dismiss this as a problem for companies like Google and Facebook, which are gathering mountains of data from users. However, as GoodData CEO Roman Stanek (@RomanStanek) points out in the following interview, the growing amounts of data from a variety of sources makes big data an issue that has an impact on every company, regardless of size.
Stanek, who has been an entrepreneur for more than 20 years, started GoodData in 2007 as a way to simplify business intelligence by putting it in the cloud. Today, he sees big data as more than a business intelligence problem, and as he has watched his business evolve, he believes companies like his can take big data out of the realm of data scientists and put it into the hands of ordinary business users.
There is a perception that big data is a big company problem. What role does big data have in small- to medium-size organizations?
Roman Stanek: Big data comes from hundreds of sources, most of which are outside a company’s firewalls, such as customer interactions, social media and emails. A company’s size is irrelevant to the volume of big data it has to manage and understand. For example, a company with 100 employees may have to answer thousands of customer-support calls coming in from Facebook, Twitter, email and telephone. That’s a massive amount of data it has to deal with.
In addition, big data represents tremendous potential wealth for all companies, no matter how small or large those enterprises are. When businesses are smart about leveraging data, they can make better and faster business decisions. Read more…
Bitsy Bentley on the work behind a good visualization and why she hopes users will take data interactions for granted.
Because of the size, complexity and density of big data, it’s not always easy to find the important insights hiding in all that information. That’s where data visualization comes into play. A great visualization creates meaning where none existed.
Bitsy Bentley (@bitsybot) is the director of data visualization at GfK Custom Research, where she works with information designers to craft meaningful data experiences for a variety of business audiences. In the following interview, she discusses the space between a “wow” response and an “aha” moment, how her team addresses privacy concerns, and why practice is vital for both visualization creators and viewers.
Bentley will explore related visualization topics during her presentation at Strata Conference + Hadoop World in New York City later this month.
Why are data visualizations an effective way to understand the underlying data?
Bitsy Bentley: There is so much beauty and richness in big datasets, and now that we have enough processing power to harness that richness, it’s little wonder that interest in data visualization is exploding. To quote John Tukey: “The greatest value of a picture is when it forces us to notice what we never expected to see.” My clients find that, whether they’re more concerned with numbers or more concerned with stories, an appropriate visual is integral to their understanding of the data.
Visualization unlocks the serendipity of data analysis. It provides a language that is less intimidating than an overwhelming array of digits. Something as simple as a set of histograms breaking down the distribution of a data store makes it easy to find irregularities and outliers in the data. Read more…