Creative products born from a mountain of data

I’m a regular reader of my friend Brad Feld’s blog.

As usual, his post today, I Want More Information, Not Less, got me thinking. I just read it a few moments ago on this flight that I’m on from SFO to Boston.

Brad’s post is about information and data. Brad addresses the typical sentiment about data overflow and how can we manage all of this data. It’s a great post.

Some of my favorite services start by collecting a crazy amount of data. But the reason they are valuable to me is because of the creative products they offer with that data.

Few examples:

When I listen to music on my laptop, sonos or iphone, the history of my music streams are recorded or scrobbled to my profile. Since I joined the service, has scrobbled over 19,000 tracks which is about 18 tracks per day. Thats a ton of data.

But that data set isn’t the interesting part. The interesting part is that if you are a user and you come to my profile you can see if we have similar listening habbits or not.  Here’s what happens when I goto Mo’s profile on

Also, uses all of that data and offers me a personalized radio station based on my friends and my personal preference.


There is a ton of data on Twitter. I make best use of all of that data by

a) following people that are interesting to me (some I know personally and some I’ve never met). But I care about what they have to say.

b) Twitter search. At this point, I probably use Twitter search 3-5x a day. Sometimes way more than that. It helps me filter the data for just what I need at that moment.

c) Another way to deal with the data is by the new Lists feature. Robert Scoble has post about Lists today and how it changed his consumption model for Twitter.


Foursquare is a lot of things to a lot of people. The service captures a ton of data about me and my friends. Every single day we ‘check-in’ & tell foursquare where we are at any moment.

There is a fun game play that uses that data by earning badges, earning Mayorships, and scoring on the leaderboard. There is also a real utlitity that comes from that dataset as well. I receive tips from the service and I have a history of where I’ve been that is super helpful to me.

Plus, I get implicit restaurant recommendations because I can see where my friends are dining, etc.


My iPhone collects a ton of my fitness information thanks to apps like RunKeeper and Nike+. I’m planning on getting Fitbit to collect even more of my phsyical data. I love the applications that come from all of this information.

Brad is spot on when he says in his post:

I don’t believe the issue is too much information.  This is an independent variable that we can’t control.  For the foreseeable future, there will be a continuous and rapid increase of information as more of the world gets digitized, more individuals become content creators, more systems open up and provide access to their data, and more infrastructure for creating, storing, and transmitting information (and data) gets built.

Now comes the fun part. What other creative products will be born from this mountain of realtime and non-realtime data.

There are plenty of things to do in the world of filtering, analytics, search, aggregation, curation, entertainment, recommendations, and discovery. And the best part is the stuff we haven’t even considered yet.

Long live data.