Making Data Cool: An Interview with Geoff Domoracki, CEO of DataWeek
Anybody who's anybody in and around the technology industry in Chicago knows about TechWeek. 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.
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 ChallengeData 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'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.Continued on the next page