Reflections on pii2011 and MongoSF and a Shout Out to Rackspace for Great Customer Service

May 26, 2011 at 12:06 pm 3 comments

By Terence Craig

Regular readers may have noticed I have been a bit quiet on the blog front lately – but as Mary mentioned, things got very hectic here in PatternBuilders land over the last couple of weeks.  In the midst of all the business-related activities, I was also invited to speak at two great conferences—pii2011 and MongoSF 2011. 

pii2011 is one of the premier events on digital privacy and included smart people from the entire spectrum of the privacy debate.  The speakers and the audience were very diverse but included: technologists, analysts, journalists, folks living off the grid, consumer advocates, chief privacy officers, privacy related startups, lawyers, executives from the large Internet properties, including Facebook and Google,  large data collection services (including Acxiom, and Intelius) and even a few folks from the government (but as one of the speakers pointed out, not nearly as many as you would hope for such an important issue). 

A shout out to all the speakers as there were no “content free” panels to be found.  Even the ongoing Twitter discussions were chock full of content.  One of my comrades on the Big Data and Privacy panel, Gartner’s Ian Glazer, was showing off his multi-core brain OS upgrade by responding to audience comments on Twitter and more than holding up his end of the panel conversation at the same time. @gagnier offered some great running commentary on the show via twitter and provided a spirited defense for lawyers who did seem to be catching quite a bit of heat at the show.   Our thanks to Natalie and Marc for arranging such a great event and for placing the first chapter of our book, Privacy and Big Data, in the conference goodie bag. We got a lot of positive feedback as well as some great ideas on additional topics to cover and will be interviewing several folks from the show.  If you were at the show and have any comments on the book, please let us know either via twitter (@terencecraig) or email (bookcomments@patternbuilders.com).

After pii2011, it was on to MongoSF. Tim and I were invited to speak about how we used MongoDB as one of the primary data storage engines in PAF (our streaming analytics engine) with .NET.  MongoSF is a technical show sponsored by 10Gen, the company that created the open source NOSQL MongoDB.  We have been using Mongo as the data store for the PatternBuilders Analytics Engine since its early days and had been big fans of its simplicity and power. It’s clear that over the past year, Mongo has become quite popular. When we went to last year’s show, there were 200 people at most, but this year there were 800 people spread across two very nice hotels.  I expected a small session turnout since Mongo is primarily used by the Linux/Java community, but we had a full house and were asked great questions.  I started out by asking what bought them into see us and the overwhelming answer was how to create analytics on top of “Big Data.” We have been carrying the torch on how important “Big Data” analytics are and how traditional solutions are inadequate, and judging by the size of the audience, we are no longer alone in the wilderness. Our thanks to Meghan Gill for the invite to speak and for putting on such a well-run show.

In subsequent posts, I will do a brain dump on what I learned at both shows. If you want to keep following this string, just search on the pii2011 or MongoSF tags. 

Finally I wanted to give a shout out to Rackspace employee Robert J. Taylor.  I met him when I was speaking at the Strata big data conference a few months ago and grabbed his business card. When I needed to open another cloud account quickly (long story) on a Friday evening and had a few questions (there was a wait on the official line), I gave him a call on his cell phone.  Although it was Friday night, he didn’t know me, and he was officially off work, he answered all my questions gracefully. And since he knew there was some urgency, he told me to call him over the weekend if I had any issues so that  he would make sure that we gotten taken care of.  This is the sort of customer service that every tech company should aspire to.  I don’t know if Rackspace will be our long term cloud vendor—there are a lot of variables in that decision and it is a very competitive market—but I do know that another vendor will have to be definitively superior in a number of areas to overcome the good will created by  Robert’s courtesy to us.

Entry filed under: Data, General Analytics, Technology, Uncategorized. Tags: , , , , , , , .

McKinsey Study: Big Data & Analytics, Talent, and the “Brand” Weekly Roundup: A Mobile App, Cyber Security, the Government, and Social Media

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