Hadoop Tipping Point

2 05 2013

If you’ve ever been to a Hadoop or Big Data meetup, typically it’s full of developers in jeans and sneakers indulging in pizza and beer while engaging with one or more presenters (also engineers in jeans and sneakers). Lots of demos with lines and lines of command outputs and code scrolling across screens more quickly than my eye can capture, never mind my mind grok. And everyone is happy, cuz it really is all about pizza, beer and code.

From Morton Grodzins, UChicago poly sci professor “in sociology, a tipping point is a point in time when a group–-or a large number of group members–rapidly and dramatically changes its behavior by widely adopting a previously rare practice.” This past week I witnessed what I believe is a tipping point in the world of Hadoop and Big Data.

Cloudera hosted a session in Boston on “Getting the Most from Hadoop”. The Boston Hadoop User Group was among the invitees. I snagged a latte after driving into rainy Boston for the all-day event, registered, and then found myself in a hotel event room, with scrambled eggs and BACON (possibly better than pizza and beer in my book). I navigated the room, chatting up some peeps, and found that almost no one there had used Hadoop at all. Few had downloaded it, experimented with it, and many weren’t really certain what to do with it. I took a closer look, and saw more khakis than jeans (even though I was still sporting mine) and many more shoes than sneakers (well, I wear heels to most meetups, so I have little to comment on there). It was weird.

Then the event started. Kicked off by a team of Cloudera marketing and sales peeps – all in suits! A couple formal presos – one from a sponsor – followed. All powerpoints, not code scrolling rapidly across screens. I started getting really nervous – surely this was not appropriate for the Hadoop audience.

Yet no one left the room. Everyone was intently listening. The guy next to me was taking pictures and had a stack of business cards that he had collected from anyone he could. The guy on the other side of me asked if my company used Hadoop, and wanted to know how we got started. I spent a bunch of time talking to people about how Hadoop and the traditional data warehouse can play complementary roles, which seemed to be a huge concern from the audience.

And that’s when I realized Cloudera had helped ‘tip’ Hadoop from the original group of early adopters to a broader audience. The room was full of enterprise IT peeps. Wow.


It was the worst? or best? of times…

22 04 2013

WheelchairOne year ago today my hubby crashed his mountain bike and was paralyzed from the neck down. I’ll never forget that phone call from his biking buddies, the ambulance ride, standing in a deserted hallway at UMass Emergency, days in the ICU, months in Spaulding rehab, and months on months working his ass off at home on every nerve, muscle, body functions, mediation – you name it – a spinal cord injury affects everything in the body and everything has to be worked to recover.


Ed at a charity event this March

I kissed Ed this morning, shook his hand, and told him to give me a kick in the ass – all of which worked well. He is well down the multi-year recovery road – able to walk, limited use of his hands – although he has many battles still to fight, some seeming more exhausting than the ones already past.

I want to thank each and every friend – the support you all gave us this past year is what made this past year a great year, even though it was a tough year. Charles Dickens said it well… but I had to change the order of each phrase to really express what I mean…

Charles Dickens: A Tale of Two Cities
Modifed by AmyO: A Tale of Two Perspectives…

It was the worst of times (pain and despair), it was the best of times (friendship and strength), it was the age of foolishness (how little we know), it was the age of wisdom (how much we learned), it was the epoch of incredulity (how could this possibly have happened), it was the epoch of belief (it really is possible fight to get better), it was the season of Darkness (oh no, the spinal electrical shocks continue to cause more damage), it was the season of Light (when an amazing neurosurgeon fixes that bad issue), it was the winter of despair (no need to explain), it was the spring of hope (we’re out walking!), we had nothing before us, we had everything before us, …

Thank you all for your support. Love you!

Hadoop World Take Aways

28 11 2011

I deeply respect innovation and innovators – which is why I was thrilled to get to hear Doug Cutting speak at Hadoop World, and to meet the original Hadoop (Doug’s son’s stuffed elephant). Not that I can find much in common between Hadoop the elephant and Hadoop the framework for scalable, distributed compute and store. At Nokia we’re using the latter Hadoop to help us manage large amounts of semi and unstructured data. That data is our most important asset for enabling what we call the third wave of mobility – where we index the physical world in order to make it as simple and compelling to navigate the real world as it is to navigate the web. Kinda cool, huh? I talk about that some more in my interview with TheCube.

The Hadoop World conference was great – lotsa good speakers, interesting topics, new learnings. Beside being struck by conference growth (doubled from last year in number of attendees, which doubled from the year before), I had a few key takeaways:

  1. Organizing people to deal with Big Data is a challenge. We’ve devised what we call a collaborative working model at Nokia, where our central analytics team provides the technology, the data asset, and a foundation for analytics – which can then be used by data scientists and analysts through the company. This organizational model resonated with a number of attendees at the talk I gave on Big Data and organizational change.
  2. Hadoop is NOT a one-stop-shop, for anyone. Building a Big Data environment is about building an ecosystem. Ecosystem of apache projects, of course, but also as you implement you must make an ecosystem leveraging existing SQL, BI, stats tools. This makes adoption and implementation easier because you slide Hadoop under a lot of existing technology, which is particularly important in a company the size of Nokia – ain’t gonna change the way 60 thousand people work overnight.
  3. I love being a buyer: I’ve spent most my career on the vendor side of the house. Of course I love the attention from having a nice budget, but the real perk is being able to look at all the technology and figure out what makes sense for my business problem…vs peddling one solution over ‘n over.
  4. Everyone is hiring. Data is BIG and there are not enough technical or business leaders that know how to take advantage of the opportunity. This is a young industry with non linear opportunity. Just about every presentation at the conference ended with “We’re Hiring”. It got to be the joke of the conference after a while.

Oh, by the way, “At Nokia we’re hiring”.Smiley

Color my ‘LinkedIn’ world

3 11 2011

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about storytelling and visualization. Listened to a great talk today at the Chicago Predictive Analytics conference by Scott Nicholson from LinkedIn. He talked about approaching analytics from the perspective of an economist vs a computer scientist. An economist will care about causation, while a computer scientist will care about probability. During his talk he used some very good visuals, and of course he’s dealing with interesting data (cuz it’s about all of us). So I checked out one of the tools he mentioned on the LinkedIn site to color my world. Causation for this network? There’s a high probability it was work, study, play…

Cell Phone Faux Pas

8 10 2011



My dear friend @Softwear_Chic, who knows all about what’s chic in this world, tweeted this link today while watching college football: 10 cell phone faux pas you really shouldn’t make.

A few minutes later I saw someone tweet the infograph to the left. But check it out: three of the most frequent places and times cell phones are actually used are on the faux pas list:

#2  Dinner

#6  Bar (or when seriously imbiding)

#10 Bathroom

Guess we’re just not capable of being “in the moment” anymore.

It was a very good year… when I was… 17? 21? 35?

1 10 2011

…yah those years were fun – and I’ll admit this past year wasn’t my seventeenth, or twenty-first or even my thirty fifth as Sinatra crooned. While I turned just a bit older during the past 525,600 minutes, more happened than even Sinatra coulda imagined. My two daughters left the nest, and I had a blast visiting them in their new homes in diff areas of NC. I started a new job running product management for cloud services at Nokia, graduated from Northeastern’s executive MBA program, and the next day started a new job as head of analytics at Nokia. I traveled internationally a buncha times: Mexico, Finlandx4, China, Hong Kong, India, Germany twice. OMG saw the most amazing places and met some incredible peeps. Just check out the view from my hotel room in Agra.

Ain’t nothin slowing down around here. Who said “age considers; youth ventures”? I’ll stick with “how sweet it is!”.

I like Clouds

22 12 2010

OK, I like clouds. Nah, not those big ones that have been dumping lots of white stuff on us this week. But I do like the ones that prevented Punxsutawney Phil from seeing his shadow this morning – maybe once I dig out from this storm we’ll see that early spring! And I also really like the clouds that are enabling our new way of working, living, communicating. A couple months back I re-entered the workforce after a pleasant sabbatical – I had been considering opportunities in four different spaces – all places that have piqued my interest over the past few years.

  • I wanted to work in mobile, because we all are mobile these days, and as IDC predicts “shipments of app-capable, non-PC mobile devices will outnumber PC shipments within the next 18 months”.
  • OR I wanted to work in BigData. Back when I was in Sun storage I was awed by the challenge of storing data efficiently – as Eric Schmidt recently said “Every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until  2003” and the challenges around storing, retrieving and anayzing data have increased exponentially.
  • OR I hoped for more work with social media. After spending most of my sabbatical designing and implementing social media strategies for non-profits, I had a taste of where the world is going from a communications perspective. Social media is turning it inside out.
  • BUT REALLY I wished for something interesting  in the cloud world – what a fascinating paradigm shift for the compute and data worlds. It simply doesn’t make sense for so many people in the world to be managing servers and storage systems – cloud answers a basic competitive advantage question.

And then I came across an intriguing opportunity at Nokia: to run product management for Nokia’s cloud services. A cloud that stores mobile app data… A cloud that delivers analytics… A cloud that enables social networking… So, I do like clouds. Just not those bad ones outside right now. D*mn gotta go shovel again. D*mn clouds.

The black line is the top of my patio table

Front sidewalk - where can I put the snow?