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Joe Hilger
Works at Avalon Consulting, LLC
Attended Boston College
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Joe Hilger

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A very interesting post by Tim O'Reilly on the impact of data on decision making.
Tim O'Reilly originally shared:
 
Data for the Public Good

In the first of the public lectures at Code for America sponsored by EMC/Greenplum, +Michal Migurski talks about Stamen Design's work in visualization. Some key points:

- Data Drives Demand. When Stamen launched crimespotting.org, it made people aware that the data existed. It was there, but until they put visualization front and center, it might as well not have been.

- Public Demand drives better data. Crimespotting led Oakland to improve their data publishing practices. The stability of the data and publishing on the web made it possible to have this data addressable with public links. There's an "official version", and that version is public, rather than hidden.

- Facts = Public Memory. Michal makes the point that the financial crisis was partly a crisis of public knowledge. He points to an article by Hernando de Soto, The Destruction of Economic Facts: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_19/b4227060634112.htm

- Version Control Adds Dimension to Data. Part of what matters so much when open source, the web, and open data meet government is that practices that developers take for granted become part of the way the public gets access to data. Rather than static snapshots, there's a sense that you can expect to move through time with the data.

Moving on, +Eric Rodenbeck shows some fabulous visualizations of housing data. It's amazing to watch the organic growth of San Francisco (based on Trulia data) from the 1850s through the present, versus the almost stamped out growth of subdivisions in a Texas town (don't remember which one.)

Also a great visualization of rent vs buy - NYC is so overwhelmingly better to rent, just about the only city in the US where that's so.

He also gives us a lovely tour of a watercolor-style map visualization that Stamen is working on. (This is +Aaron Straup Cope's work - you can actually buy this as art on 20x200 - for example, http://www.20x200.com/artworks/2810-aaron-straup-cope-prettymaps-paris)
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Joe Hilger

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Interesting article about how Apple is partnering with McGraw-Hill and others to change the educational publishing industry. Given Apple's track record, it will be interesting to see what happens.
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Joe Hilger

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Interesting article on the challenges around using social media to personalize search results. What do you think?

The future of search is social. Google and Microsoft have tied their rival engines to social, mining data from various ...
http://pulse.me/s/3XZyJ
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I just read a great article on the challenges executives are having with Big Data.

One point that stuck out to me is determining what to report on is a lot harder in the big data world. It used to be that companies would capture numbers in a spreadsheet or database and show totals, averages or other simple metrics. BI tools used data cubes and other design patterns to do it more rapidly, but the analytics were mostly simple.


Defining metrics for big data analytics is much more difficult. Frequently, the stuff you are looking for does not have numbers or is not known. Companies need experts that can help them figure out what they can learn from unstructured information and how to measure it.
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Joe Hilger

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Interesting article in the Washington Post today about digital record keeping. Agencies have four months to draft plans to improve how they archive government records.

Those of us with expertise in Enterprise Content Management should be thinking about how the government can take advantage of these digital records and not just capture the information.

These plans represent a real opportunity for us to make our government more effective and transparent. Is anyone doing anything exciting in this area? I would love to hear your story.
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Avalon is starting to do a lot of work in unstructured data analytics. It is an interesting field. I have been doing some research and found a really interesting company in the analytics field.

Has anyone heard of Kaggle? They have a unique model for predictive analytics. See the blurb from their website below.

"The motivation behind Kaggle is simple: most organizations don't have access to the advanced machine learning and statistical techniques that would allow them to extract maximum value from their data. Meanwhile, data scientists crave real-world data to develop and refine their techniques. Kaggle corrects this mismatch by offering companies a cost-effective way to harness the 'cognitive surplus' of the world's best data scientists."
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Joe Hilger

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A great post by Tim O'Reilly about Big Data.
Tim O'Reilly originally shared:
 
Really great post by +Alistair Croll making the case that companies that have massive amounts of data without massive amounts of clue are going to be displaced by startups that have less data but more clue, who will put in place the dynamics to make the most of the data they have and to collect new data in self-reinforcing applications that get better the more people use them.

This is really the premise of our Strata series of conferences - trying to teach companies how to join the data-driven revolution. I think it was about 2003 that I first wrote "Data is the next Intel Inside"; When I wrote What is Web 2.0? in 2005, I really tried to get across the idea that collective intelligence and data driven applications were the key to the future, but it's only now that it's become widely understood.

When +Edd Dumbill and +Alistair Croll proposed the Strata conference to me, it seemed so clear that now, finally, it was time to get off the soapbox, and to put together an event that was practical, and would help developers and executives make sense of how to build cloud data applications.

As Alistair says in this post, "Big data: use it or lose it."
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Joe Hilger

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Avalon is doing a lot of work in the educational publishing business. Apple's latest announcement has been a big deal to us and our clients. I really like the comments in this article from Fast Company. Is Apple too old school in their thinking? What about including more collaboration and social computing into their offering? Could Google offer a better solution combining Google+ and Google books?

http://www.fastcompany.com/1809743/apples-announcement-the-educational-technology-world-reacts
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I wouldn't be surprised to see something coming out of Google Books.
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Tony Jewitt, head of our Big Data practice, was just interviewed by AllAnalytics for his thoughts on Big Data. Check out his answers below.
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If you liked Rocky, you will like this boxing story from the Washington Post. You don't have to be a boxing fan to enjoy this story. I am not a big boxing fan and I thought it was excellent.
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A great story of how Fairfax County is using MarkLogic as a land use repository. One of our consultants worked on the project. The client is really excited about the application.

It is great to see a new use for MarkLogic and fun to see such a happy customer.
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Joe Hilger

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I just saw a great article on myths about work habits from the Harvard Business Review. Myths 1,2 and 4 are habits that I fall into periodically. I hope you find this helpful as well.
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Practice Manager for the DC Office of Avalon Consulting, LLC
Employment
  • Avalon Consulting, LLC
    DC Geo Practice Manager, present
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This is my work account. My posts are all managed on my personal account at jhilgerbc@gmail.com.
Introduction

I am a Practice Manager responsible for the Washington, DC office of Avalon Consulting, LLC.

I have worked in the field of Enterprise Content Management and Enterprise Search for close to 10 years.  I consult with organizations around the country and have spoken on the effective use of search as well as complex portal and content management implementations at numerous industry conferences.

My current passion is around managing unstructured data.  I am always excited to help customers understand how they can use unstructured information to solve complex business problems.

Education
  • Boston College
    1986 - 1990
  • Episcopal Academy
    1982 - 1986