A couple weekends ago I was at a beach party in the Philippines. The crowd comprised locals from the Cebu City region but my friends knew a couple of Americans there they wanted to see. As we joined this group exchanged pleasantries, I met an NBA recruiter named Greg*. Greg works for one of the great NBA teams–one with multiple championships–and travels the world to find the next NBA superstar.
Greg regaled us with the stories behind the the greatest players (and coaches!) in the league. After listening for a few minutes, I asked a question whose answer may change my life. Or at least profoundly summarize my plan for personal development. I asked Greg, “What is the single best quality in a recruit that predicts his success in the NBA?” Greg answered simply and quickly.
Massive, technology-induced disruptions seem to happen every few years. In the past few years the internet, smartphones, and the cloud have changed the way we work, play, and communicate. Maybe 3D printing is the next huge disruption. But its not really mass consumable today. But Big Data is being produced and consumed by us all, whether we know it or not.
Disruptions are a rock in a still lake. The force of the rock plunges into the water, scattering drops in all directions. The water responds and thrusts itself to new highs. The waves ripple out, decrease in size, and are less influential or interesting at great distances. But in business disruption creates opportunity. It is a sign of a change of balance somewhere in the world. A shift of equilibrium. And when the water calms some have been moved away from the epicenter. Some have been drawn closer. Many have been changed.
Right now big data is a huge disruption in industry. Its changing the way businesses think about their customers and their operations. Its encouraging governments to embrace transparency and leverage the free market and volunteerism to govern better. Big data is changing careers every day. You have read this far because you are interested in the subject. Will this article, a small part of the big data explosion, bring you closer or further to the epicenter?
A few weeks ago I resigned from EMC. My last day is 10 May. Similar to my last weeks at Intel, the “lame duck” period working for a soon-to-be-ex-employer usually contains the most fascinating and instructing weeks on the job. My days have been filled with friends calling to wish me luck, pick my brain, and find out for themselves as much as me what might be next.
Most are surprised that I am not going to another job yet. Invariably a pregnant pause follows me telling them I am going on sabbatical. I think they are usually wondering:
Well, no to the first two. To number three you’ll have to follow my actions for the coming year and reach your own conclusion! As others ask and challenge me about my future, we have had some friendly conversations of incredible insight. They have helped me form a clearer picture about what I need in my next job.