Change Your Perspective and Change Your World Part 1

Gathering data and utilizing data are two vastly different things. NextPage understands the need for Big Data and correspondingly knows how to help our clients develop that same information into a strategy. This piece, originally published last year in our Connect magazine, is Part 1 of a 2 Part series on changing your perspective on Big Data.

Birds on the wires. Who hasn’t seen a flock of birds perched together on a series of power lines? It’s a common visual element in cluttered urban and suburban landscapes worldwide (that most of us don’t notice). Reading a newspaper one morning, musician Jarbas Agnelli had a different perspective. He saw a photograph of birds sitting on five parallel wires and thought that it looked like a musical score. The birds’ relation to each other spread out on the five wires suggested chords and a melody to the composer, so he sat down at his piano to see what the melody might sound like. The resulting tune was featured in an award-winning YouTube video, Birds on the Wires, which has been viewed by nearly a million people worldwide, and in a popular Brazilian TED talk.

Similarly, many of today’s successful companies are hearing music in the vast and cluttered landscape of data, where others are just hearing noise. In a world where Google routinely captures a petabyte (1,000,000,000,000,000 bytes) of information every hour, it’s becoming more of a challenge to listen carefully and separate the music from the noise. Perspective, once again, is the key. “Think like a marketer, not like a techie,” says Donald Hinman, SVP with Epsilon Data Services. Often referred to as “Dr. Data,” Hinman has a Ph.D. in Mass Communication Research and is a 35-year veteran in the field of data.

“Before you dive into Big Data, you need to be clear about your objectives,” Hinman says. “Make sure you know what you want to achieve, and determine if data will enable you to do a better job. It’s more important to understand marketing than to understand Hadoop (standard computing platform written in Java). Narrow your focus by asking the questions a marketer would ask: who, where, what. Who is my customer, where do I find him and what does he need that I can provide?”

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Change Your Perspective and Change your World where we will focus on how you can eliminate the noise and fine-tune your focus and effort.


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