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Professor Jo Wood on the power of visualising Big Data

Jo WoodI’ve been loving this speech by Jo Wood, Professor of Computer Science at City University, London. By using Big Data, he tells an absolutely fascinating story (with some very nice graphics) on what 16 million bike journeys in London can tell us about the deep structures of life in the city.

See it for yourself here.


For more information on Jo Wood, please contact Leo at

Tom Chatfield: The Perils of Big Data

Tom ChatfieldSince we were introduced to the internet a few decades ago, we have increasingly been storing our lives in the so-called “Cloud”. In a fascinating BBC Newsnight Report on the perils of Big Data, Tom Chatfield asks the crucial question: can we keep this data under our own control, when boundless more information is being uploaded daily?

In 2012, a typical day on the internet would see:

  • 144 billion e-mails sent
  • 684,000 items of shared content on Facebook alone
  • 72 hours of video uploaded to Youtube per minute

In short, 90% of the world’s data has been created in the past 2 years.

Tom contends that “a database of trivial details, is not a trivial database”. Seemingly minor details about ourselves can in fact be cross-referenced and correlated to startling effect. Spending just 5 minutes on immensely popular social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin, can reveal far more about a person than they realised, as Tom demonstrates using his own name.

Even details as trivial as Facebook “Likes” can be analysed to predict with over 80% accuracy very private details such as ethnicity, religious, political preference, and sexuality.

So with the all the risks, why are people so willing to upload so much of their lives?

Tom suggests that it may simply be naivety, but it’s not too late to change our ways. We can protect our privacy online through:

  • Anonymous browsers, such as Tor.
  • Virtual private networks
  • Encrypting files

“Or you can just stop telling everyone where you’re going, who you’re seeing, and what you’re doing, and shut up instead!”

If you are interested in booking Tom Chatfield for a speaking event, please call Leo von Bülow-Quirk on +44 (0) 20 7792 8000.

Harper Reed in Europe in November

Harper ReedFormer Obama For America CTO Harper Reed will be over in Europe in November. Harper, whose areas of expertise include building tech teams, building online communities and how to use big data is attending the f.ounders conference in Dublin and then speaking in Germany. Contact me on +44(0)2077928004 if you’d like to try and book him while he is over from Chicago.

DJ Patil interview on “Big Data”

Social media innovator and data science pioneer, DJ Patil who was the founder and director of LinkedIn’s data science department (2008-2011) was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal recently. Questioned “about how investors can use big data to spot the next big thing”, DJ Patil discussed the challenges investors face using data mining, some of the “most useful data out there” and the book ‘Moneyball’.

Click here to read the article in full.

DJ Patil: “Big data means big opportunities”

DJ Patil - GreylockDJ Patil is a pioneering force in the realm of big data. Over the course of his career, he’s pioneered the introduction of ‘data science’ departments at eBay, Skype and LinkedIn. He also created the job title ‘Data Scientist’, which has now become one of the most envied and sought after job titles in Silicon Valley.

In a piece for this month’s edition of Computerworld, DJ talks about how data is helping to create big opportunities for IT professionals, both for businesses and individuals. To read the article, click here

If you’d like to book DJ for a speaking opportunity, please email Alex Hickman.

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