Big Data is something which has the potential to change the world forever.

Not just in scientific reasoning and mathematical equations (if you can say “just” around such a point) but as John Taysom (Harvard fellow and main speaker at the Technology Strategy Board sponsored event I went to) rightly pointed out ….

…..something that if we get it wrong, people will die.

Getting it wrong with big data has already caused a couple of financial crashes already which probably affected the real world somewhat.

So here I can see some MAJOR moments for business opportunity. As now companies can / do keep ALL your data, all your tweets, all your digital and social footprint, everything that is happening that you digitally interact with, and so they can predict things from this.

Mainly in marketing about your intentions and what you might do next. But we can get so much more from this. The other week, from only a couple of data points, researchers found they could predict, your sex and race and a host of other characteristics.

And then taking this to logical extensions, if governments open up their own huge data back log, we could find out much much more about people. Almost to the extent of civil liberties being taken. Or intrusion by companies – which I would partly help through great marketing.

So going to the BIG data day held by Tecelerate in Manchester was eye opening mainly because of the wisdom and future thinking of it’s main speaker- Havard fellow John Taysom – who has invested in many of these BIG data specialist companies.

Companies like Grapeshot – which help real time buyers of digital marketing ensure that they have safe keyword allocation and websites which they really want to be on (something I love as work in digital and mobile marketing where RTB is all over.)

And companies like Feature Space – who’s predictive modelling technology is about to move into mobile gaming. Which is going to be a little scary for a new client of mine – dojit games – who has a similar plan.

And my personal favourite from a pure making money now, b2c, social marketing perspective client perspective – was – Duo Fertility – who’s clever sensor and data from 30,000 moments of taking a woman’s temperature ensures she knows her most fertile time. I would love to be a reseller for this technology!

John’s wisdom is not just in investing in the right technologies, he also spoke about the concept which I found fascinating about ‘just in time competence’, about how companies like Google could create cultural blindness unintentionally with algorithms (which can not be seen due to them being trade secrets and not legally protect able under current IP law) and how important it was for non linear and non casual relationships to be really understood.

As for me, working in marketing, all this was far to much to think about – let alone understand. But I do get that if you are today that if you are not paying for the product – you are the product. And that with this BIG data you can predict and also get some much wrong – not only for businesses but for society as a whole.

Google glasses anyone 😉


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