SXSW 2012 - Big Data Conversation


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Ryan, Director of Digital Production engages in a conversation around Big Data.

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  • \n
  • The majority of the thoughts contained within this presentation were crafted by much smarter people than myself. I think this all makes sense, but if nothing else I hope it will be a fun journey into the world of big data. \n
  • The big thing to focus on with this slide is the immense volume of data that has been gathered in just the last 2 years. \n
  • Big data is essentially the data that we’re currently capturing, or have the potential to capture, but that can’t be easily put to use or harnessed.\n
  • Gold mine analogy: in the old days of prospecting, you used to have to literally be able to see the gold to decide it was worth digging for. Now, the gold can be invisible to the human eye, and tons and tons of dirt can be efficiently sifted through to produce gold. Insights derived from big data can be viewed in a similar way. \n\nYou have to look beyond just the data; you have to look at the interaction of what people are doing with their behaviours, current financial trends, actual transaction that you’re seeing internally, and son on. Sales, promotions, loyalty programs, the merchandising mix, competitor actions, and even variables such as the weather can all be drivers for what consumers feel and how opinions are formed. \n
  • An example of using data creatively to provide valuable insights. \n
  • As some of you may have clued in during that last anecdote, we’re not far from this type of thing already. But anyone that has delved into the world of Google Analytics knows that it can be a tedious, intimidating and frustrating experience. The thing to focus on, and the thing we have been focusing on at john st., is making sense of the data we have access to. Organizing it in a creative and easily digestible manner. It’s something we’re going to be becoming very familiar with as we enter the beta-testing phase of our new analytics platform, livemetric.\n
  • But there is more to it that just making sense of data. It’s about finding a better understanding of the world around us overall. The sensationalist headlines we see as a result of bad science (could it be that the increased incidence of smoking and drinking contributed as much or more to the mortality rates of the red meat eaters?) that we can eliminate. I’m foggy on this concept, and why this isn’t feasible in the short term, but I thought it was an interesting point that in using data about ourselves and combining that with a public health record, we could beat science every time. That good data can kill bad science. \n
  • But in all of this, there is still the issue of how we gather our own personal data. What is the incentive. \nWhat if there were a social network that connected you with brands. Brands that would be willing to pay for your eyeballs. And the more relevant to the brand you become (through the upload of your own personal data) the more they would be willing to pay for your consideration. \n
  • Now things are going to get a bit weird. This guy, Josh Harris, who has at least at one time in his life been considered certifiably insane believes that we are just years a way from a time when everyone is connected all the time. And that brands will begin to sponsor the mundane moments in our lives. Would you be willing to stream video of yourself brushing your teeth if it meant discounts off toothpaste and that you could be brushing them with Natalie Portman?... \n\nNo. Right? This doesn’t feel right to us. But the scary part is, there are a lot of people that actually do find this concept appealing. That said...\n
  • Privacy is a big concern. And I don’t think that’s going away any time soon. Few rational people do. And it doesn’t help that most of the examples we currently have of highly-targeted, contextual advertising seem creepy. Or not quite right. Check out the right side of your Facebook page for examples, there is a very specific reason you’re receiving those ads. And what makes it feel wrong is the lack of permission. \nThe platforms that will win the web of the future are those that provide transparent and fair policies around the data they collect. Or, in an ideal world, find valuable ways to serve it back to you. Imagine if FB delivered user statistics to you. It might make you want to spend a lot less time on FB, but it would be pretty damn interesting. \n\nData portability is a concept with a fair amount of momentum behind it that suggests people should be able to carry their data around the internet with them and extract value from it. Imagine you showed up on a site like Zappo’s or jCrew and they already knew everything about you and could tailor an experience to who you are. \n\n\n
  • Now here is where things really go off the rails. \n\nThere is an old story of the guy who invented chess and the emperor of China. The Emperor loved the game so much, he offered to buy it from the inventor. The inventor said “sure, but instead of paying me for it, give me one grain of rice for the first square, two for the second, four for the third, eight for the fourth, and so on. The emperor quickly agreed. And everything was moving along just fine for the first 30 squares. And then things started to get concerning for the emperor. In the end, the emperor owed him more rice than it would take to cover all the world’s oceans. Right now, in terms of computational performance, we are on square 32. Things are about to get real crazy, real fast. And if you think we’re standing over the plug, ready to pull it if things go wrong, it is already far too late for that. \n\nIf you’re interested in this stuff, visit the following link for a full explanation, that will almost certainly blow your mind:\n\n\n
  • ya, a lot of this stuff sounds like crazy sci-fi bull shit. most of you in the room are probably having a hard time believing it and don’t think you’ll ever give up your privacy or own a computer that can outthink you in every capacity, but... (see slide above)\n
  • I took us on a bit of a ride there, so let’s bring things back to the here and now. The future, at least the immediate future of marketing is going to be about taking the information available to us, and providing relevant, timely and invited messaging to customers. \n
  • SXSW 2012 - Big Data Conversation

    1. 1. big data, your data,and the singularity
    2. 2. first. an 2
    3. 3. impressive sounding statistics slide 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are generated every day. In the last 2 years alone, we’ve accumulated over 90% of the world’s data. 51% of the traffic on the internet is now non-human. 80% of the world’s data is unstructured (ie. useless) twitter & facebook alone generate 17 terabytes of data a 3
    4. 4. big data - what is it? in short, it refers to untapped data resources. it’s information that can’t be processed or analyzed using traditional tools. and we store everything: environmental data, financial data, medical data, surveillance data, etc. This data can be organized to better understand customers, businesses, markets, the list goes 4
    5. 5. big data - why is it important? it’s a gold mine... figuratively speaking. better predictions: “what are the precursors to failures?” “how are these systems related?” better insights: we can already measure sentiment by understanding what people are saying about a brand. what we can’t currently understand is why they are saying 5
    6. 6. the cute girl paradox OK Cupid dating site - constantly analyzes the data that their members provide them and publish their findings on their blog. the mathematics of beauty findings: the more men as a group disagree about a woman’s looks, the more they end up liking her guys tend to ignore girls who are merely “cute” having some men think she’s ugly actually works in a woman’s favour “we now nave mathematical evidence that minimizing your flaws is the opposite of what you should do” 6
    7. 7. isn’t this stuff we already know? well... yes. Eg. google analytics 7
    8. 8. isn’t this stuff we already know? and... no NY Times study on red meat eating “If people in the study had eaten half as much meat, the researchers estimated, deaths in the group would have declined 9.3 percent in men and 7.6 percent in women.” “your own data + public health record could kick science’s ass” Sorry, but I forget why this can’t easily happen. It’s something to do with Lou Gehrig’s disease and insurance 8
    9. 9. where are we going to get this information? Consider: Bizarro Facebook. A social network that is created not to connect you with friends, or potential employers, but directly with brands. The more validated data you provide, the more complete your profile, the more valuable you become to certain brands. With the right value proposition human’s have proven that they’re willing to do just about 9
    10. 10. josh harris - the wired city We Live in Public Documentary The Wired City, a crowd sourced Internet TV station where all the viewers are also the broadcasters, multicasting to each other and the World Wide Web. For brands like Crest, the wiring in our homes will herald the next golden age of advertising. “You just have to get over those sociological barriers and advertisers can convince you it’s just not a big deal. The one thing I’m very sure of is that people can be convinced of anything if you find the right gratification schedule.” 10
    11. 11. privacy + data portability yup, privacy is a huge issue the current examples are all creepy the platforms that win the web moving forward will be those with the most transparent and fair policies around their users’ data data portability is the concept that people should have control over their own data and be able to carry it with them across the internet. this will unlock immense value in their online 11
    12. 12. do immortal software- based humans care about privacy? The inventor of chess vs. the emperor of China - there have been slightly more than 32 doublings of performance since the first programmable computers were invented during World War II. The singularity is coming: “There’s even exponential growth in the rate of exponential growth. Within a few decades, machine intelligence will surpass human intelligence, leading to The Singularity — technological change so rapid and profound it represents a rupture in the fabric of human history. The implications include the merger of biological and nonbiological intelligence, immortal software- based humans, and ultra-high levels of intelligence that expand outward in the universe at the speed of light.” 12
    13. 13. this is all very uncomfortable haters gonna hate the multitude of sensors gathering data through the super- computer sitting in your pocket might say otherwise. especially when it becomes your wallet. “Whether the device is in you or on you is at this point arbitrary.” - R. Kurzweil on the merger of biological and non-biological 13
    14. 14. the end “the future of marketing is context. ambient data translated into intimate, contextual experiences expressed through the currency of content & conversation” 14