Big Data, Big PR Problems?

Adam Novak

Visibility Suggestions in a Crowded Environment

I read an interesting article in ZDNet today about October being a big news month for big data . The month culminates with the Hadoop/Strata Conference next week, where 80 companies will discuss the latest in analyzing and extracting meaning from large amounts of data.

But my other reaction was “what’s NOT a big month for big data?” To get a handle on the hype, I conducted my own “small data” analysis, sans supercomputing power, with my brain and 10 fingers:

  • In the past 24 hours, there were 30 news articles and blog posts written about “Big Data”
  • In the last 60 seconds, there are between 5-10 Tweets mentioning “Big Data”
  • According to the latest report by the Massachusetts Technology Leaders Council, there are over 100 Big Data-related companies in the Boston Area alone.

So if we’re talking big data, let me quote another famous B.I.G.: The more “big data” hype you come across, the more problems you see.

Our response? Not necessarily. Here’s how you establish a foothold in this crowded space:

  1. Be specialized. The first question you have to answer is “why are you different?” Big data means everything to everyone; it touches all aspects of society. Be specific with the problems your solution solves, and be prepared to use the finite aspects of your solution (open source, for instance) to your advantage.
  2. Be organized. In a crowded marketplace, the worst thing is to start blasting out content to anyone. Research who your target buyer would be, find out exactly the challenges their facing, and pinpoint the conversations they’re having when evaluating solutions. The market is too large (not big) to wander around aimlessly looking for users. There needs to be methods to the madness.
  3. Be active. The stage in the hype cycle we’re in is daunting, but it’s also a huge opportunity. Sites like InformationWeek are breaking out their own “big data” pages, allowing for ample opportunities to tell your story.

Getting past the clutter, Big Data is a fascinating space. The technology is so raw, we truly “don’t know what we don’t know” when it comes to using data to better society. So if you’re a company looking to make inroads with this technology, it’s an exciting time. Go big – and good luck.

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