Putting the Face on the IMMENSE WORLD of BIG DATA


As I start this blog I have to tell you I am reminded of what Steve Jobs purportedly said to John Sculley, an executive at Pepsi, to get him to come run Apple.

“Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life or come with me and change the world?”  

You know it’s rare to be part of something that is so new and innovative that it’s hard to explain. What I’m trying to describe is the “fresh” before the fad. I’m not talking about being part of a flash mob, but join in on the very first. I’m not talking about the 20,000th wedding party dance down the aisle-a-thon, but a vulnerable moment…where you don’t know the outcome of your effort. Few of us are lucky enough to join a startup that takes an idea, and grows it to an empire, or be at the moment when something newsworthy is created. These special moments hard to find. They become salient memories when you are part of them.

Well I have one of these moments I can let you in on…

Like reading tomorrow’s newspaper today, I can prognosticate on an upcoming event, and I’m going let you in on the ground floor. Today’s blog is to let you know about an organized series of events that will measure our world in new ways, it will change the ways we see ourselves, and you can be right in the freaking middle of it all.

“The Human Face of Big Data” (HFOBD)Human Face of Big Data

EMC Corporation and Rick Smolan, in conjunction with Rick’s production company “Against-All-Odds” Productions, is launching one of the most aggressive, creative, and newsworthy projects the Information Technology (IT) industry has ever seen. It’s so audacious that it’s not even IT anymore. Out of what many would have traditionally called the marketing department, comes a project that is more akin to the benevolence of the Medici family funding Michelangelo’s Sistine masterpiece, than what your average Fortune 100 Corporation spearheads. EMC, its social network of partners and a diverse set of stakeholders have come behind this vision that employs the ancient art of storytelling. The story they will tell will introduce us all to the global face of big data. 

Don’t get distracted… I know you’ve read a blog on global big data, but this is no blog mad ‘am. When you take a visionary from photo journalism and the market’s think tank of big data idea people, you come up with something much more profound. This is an orchestrated process of multiple global events on a grand scale that will, by its very action, deliver new insights on the emerging data-rich world we inhabit. It will be a fractal analog of data analytics it’s self. We create, we explore and we learn.

I’ll stop and get to the details.  The HFOBD is a multi-point plan. I want to share with you some of the high and low level details so you can get excited and join in, while I’ll leave a fair amount for you to explore as you engage in the process.

So is it BIG?

Well here are some of the initial estimated data points on the project’s scope

  • 100 Photographers
  • 1,000 node Greenplum device
  • 10,000 data detectives
  • 10,000,000 human sensors
  • 1,000,000,000 media impressions

Will I learn anything?

  • Did you know that depression can be predicted a couple days before it happens? Find out more.
  • Do you realize scatter plots can prevent future crime? I predict a causative relationship!
  • Ever feel like you could do more to reduce your energy bill, but don’t have an outlet? (pun intended…)
  • “CONTEXT IS KING!” we can do more if we can bundle silos on knowledge via context. Open-minded data-driven solutions.

Are there some Milesposts along the Journey?

  •  From September 25nd  until October 1st, millions of people will interact with their mobile device (w/ HFOBD app) and the world around them. For just a few days, devices will collect both passive and active human interaction for millions across the planet.
  • Additionally as part of the experience children will be given devices to collect data about their world.
  • There will be a control center in the ballroom of the New York Stock Exchange where Big Data Big Shots will gather to manage the process.
  • During and after the event, thousands of data detectives will process and explore the data for new levels of knowing.
  • The experience will culminate in a handful of artifacts:
    • a website where you can explore the experience and you can additionally connect with people that are like you, in profile, across the globe. 
    • And, a large book of data and photos telling the story. The book will be distributed to the 10,000 of the world’s leaders and influencers in November.
    • A CNN Special documentary and other public events.

Where do I go?  What do I do?

  • TODAY– Get Connected  
    •  go register your email and share the link with everyone. http://www.humanfaceofbigdata.com/
    • Start following on Twitter: @FaceOfBigData  ; #HFOBD
    • Vimeo Video: https://twitter.com/#!/search/face%20of%20big%20data/slideshow/videos
    • September 25th thru Oct 1st – Download the App & Engage the App! 
      •  Each person who loads the apps changes the outcome.
      • Get involved, and inspire your network of friends to join
      • Carve off enough time to engage the device, carry on with who you are for 24 hours.
      • I’ll be at Oracle OpenWorld in San Francisco with 40,000 other people, hopefully all engaged in the big experiment.
    • October 2nd –  Keep Tabs on the Progress!
      • Keep an eye out for information that begins to post on the progress
      • Check the website routinely, what is planned sounds really cool
    • November 20th – Enjoy the Outcome
      • Book will be available in electronic form,
      • once published alsoin a free iPad app and also in PDF form.
      • Watch for the CNN Special

I can’t wait to share this memory with you.

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