Facebook Alumni Making it Big on Their Own
“Big Data” is the latest buzzword in IT departments across the country. The Internet is now home to exabytes of information — trillions and trillions of bytes. While some of that is structured information, cataloged through metadata, a lot of it isn’t. Unstructured information might include snippets of tweets, health records, blog comments, books, and more.
Companies want to mine all online information, structured and unstructured, in order to take the guesswork out of business. Big Data applications fit the bill by collecting, processing, and analyzing huge amounts of information. If, for example, your customer service model is to have friendly email reps, but all of your competitors are using Twitter and have a bigger market share, you have new information with which to change your strategy.
This is where Cloudera and its chief scientist, former Facebooker Jeff Hammerbacher, come in. The words "Big Data" are almost synonymous with Apache Hadoop, the open-source software that runs many big data applications. Cloudera is the commercial company that develops and distributes Hadoop. Hammerbacher, who used to lead the Data team at Facebook, has been working with Hadoop-based data analysis for years. Before that, the Harvard-trained mathematician was a quant on Wall Street. If there were a poster child for the guy in the room, Hammerbacher might just be it. And with quant-like tactics expanding into the world of marketing and other fields, he’s on the leading edge of a big data movement that promises to change the way we do business as a whole.