Call it serendipity, call it whatever.
It could change business. It could change government. It could change research, and education, and healthcare, and ...
Heck, it could change the world we all live in. Wow.
Enter Rick Smolan. Five minutes with him and you quickly realize you're talking to a completely out-of-the-box thinker. Big ideas pour out of him like a firehose.
Rick had come to the same point we had. This big data stuff was really really big, what to do about it?
His proposal was simple: a massive and innovative project to humanize what this stuff was really all about, and the great potential that lay ahead. The message: big data was going to improve all of our lives -- on a very personal level -- before long.
It's something to be embraced, not feared.
He and his company (Against All Odds Productions) had a proposal to do just that. He christened the effort "The Human Face Of Big Data". It was bold, to be sure.
Would the team at EMC be interested? You bet!
The Rationale Behind HFOBD
Our unfamiliarity often leads us to focus on the potentially negative aspects vs. the wonderfully positive ones, which hampers adoption and acceleration.
Big data is no exception.
We are continually amazed by its power, and sometimes a bit creeped out by its implications. In the final analysis, the tangible good will greatly outweigh the potential negative, and we all lurch forward.
Rick and his team wanted to close that perceptual gap for as many people as possible: influencers, policy-makers, students ... literally anyone and everyone around the globe.
There are multiple aspects to this project, which you can learn more about here.
But -- in particular -- the very nature of big data created a unique opportunity for wide-scale participation.
This is the part where you come in, if you're willing ...
We're going to ask you to be a sensor for us.
The Big Experiment
The centerpiece of this project is simple: enlist tens of millions of "volunteer sensors" to record and share their experiences during the event, then open up the resulting data sets for analysis and experimentation.
You can see -- for yourself, with your own data -- the amazing power of big data. And you can do it a very personal and connecting sort of way.
If you don't want to directly participate, feel free to follow at either the website or Twitter #HFOBD.
Like I said, it's big, it's bold ... and it has the potential to be really, really cool.
Other Activities To Look Forward To
You'll be hearing a lot about this project over the coming weeks. Here's a preview of some the activities in the works:
- A visual record of personal experiences, to be available via printed book or digital ebook
- An upcoming "mission control" event when the sensor data comes in, and first-level analytics are fed back to participants.
- A forthcoming data visualization kit to encourage widespread experimentation and engagement with the data sets
We at EMC are very excited to be a part of this groundbreaking effort. We've constructed our own website to share additional content and perspectives here -- all good reading, if you're interested.
I hope you can join us!