Making Data Cool: An Interview with Geoff Domoracki, CEO of DataWeek

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Andre is a Social Media Marketing and Inbound Marketing Specialist. He is a frequent blogger on social media marketing trends, technologies and events in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Originally published on Technorati

Anybody who’s anybody in and around the technology industry in Chicago knows aboutTechWeek. The mid-summer, week-long extravaganza has become a model of infusing visibility and notoriety to Chicago’s technology scene. Organizers of that event have created a new model: conferences that are more immersive, built around a sequence of “curriculum,” and surrounded by events that make it all less meeting and more celebration.

DataWeek

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Geoff Domoracki, one of the co-founders of TechWeek has taken this same model to California and kicked off DataWeek.The first annual DataWeek concluded last week, delivering what was the largest data-centric conference and festival in the nation. Each day of DataWeek had a different business and technology focus, ranging from startup and developer activities to industry-specific labs.The collection of entrepreneurs, companies, technologies, investors and experts in attendance were all there for the purpose of sharing and exploring new trends, technologies and case studies about data.

Data’s Big Challenge

Data has a challenge. At the same time of DataWeek, and merely a few blocks across town, the Social Media Strategies Summit was being hosted to a few hundred marketers. Domoracki assures me the scheduling was coincidental, but the subject matter, perhaps, was not. You see, in between the data conference and the social media conference was the same common denominator–data. The former was about how to store, access and model it; the latter about how to use it to make meaningful business decisions.

Data-Need
Data’s big challenge is becoming universally respected, and DataWeek is leading that charge. That’s part of why the conference and festival were formed.  See, the thing about data is we all use it, whether we think about it or not. “We have been surrounded by data for a long time, but only now we are starting to really connect the dots in large and previously disconnected data sets,” explains Hubert Palan, Director of Product Management for GoodData, and a presenter at DataWeek. “Gaining new insights is very cool; it’s like being an explorer discovering uncharted territories. It gives you goose bumps.”

These uncharted territories are what DataWeek explores. Domoracki’s goal is that social and data are one in the same in the near future. I’m not taking about a shuttle between the two conferences, I’m talking about no longer having a distinction between the two. How do you do that? Well plenty of next-generation business intelligence and big data companies are hard at work trying to crack that code. Here’s my theory, and one shared with Domoracki: make data cool.

Part of the strategy here needs to be awareness. Your Tweet to a friend about what to eat for dinner tonight in downtown Cleveland is data. For the data architect it’s the type of thing this whole big data phenomena is about. Among other things, where does it get stored and how is it accessed? For social strategy brand manager at a Cleveland Red Robin restaurant, it’s extremely valuable data as well.

The data analyst and the marketer are both dealing with data, and the distinction between their roles is overlapping more and more. Of course that’s a rough example and a single suggestion about making data more relevant, if not “loved,” by broader audiences. The entire strategy is beyond the scope of this article (and perhaps reserved for the big data brand I partner up with to build it out).

For now, it’s about what you can do to get cool.

Gettin’ Cool with Data

fonzie_henry_winklerHow do you get cool with Data? It depends who you are, but as I learned from Domoracki, there are lots of options. If you’re one of the three people below, the DataWeek data guys have got you covered.

#1 Little time with lots of interest
“I want a one-day crash course on what I need to know about the latest in data trends and developments”
– Recommendation: Data 2.0 Summit (Spring 2013)

#2 – Hands-on experience to take back to the office
“My boss wants me to hands on learn this stuff and bring it back to work with me” – Recommendation: Stay tuned for the next DataWeek (Fall 2013)

#3 – Creating new things and new ideas with data, led by industry experts
“I love working with this stuff and want to pair up with industry experts to build something great”
– Recommendation: Stay tuned for more information on DeveloperWeek (January 2013)

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