Big Data Joins the Office

In case you missed the memo, Big Data is a New New Thing – although we’re at least 10 minutes into its fame – and it is revolutionizing everything including your father’s technology company, Microsoft. Consider this Big Data commitment.

Like other giants, Microsoft also has something that start-ups like Kaggle do not: immense amounts of money — $67 billion in cash and short-term investments at the end of the last quarter — and the ability to work for 10 years, or even 20, on a big project. It has been a long trip for Microsoft researchers. M.S.R. employs 850 Ph.D.’s in 13 labs around the world. They work in more than 55 areas of computing, including algorithm theory, cryptography and computational biology.

M.S.R is the “advanced research arm” of Microsoft leaving me to wonder about all those smart guys at Microsoft who work merely in a plain old “research arm.” They must like that distinction between themselves and M.S.R., but I divert . . . so 20 years of Big Data effort before it was called Big Data with 850 PhD’s, with 13 labs worldwide, and the tentacle reach of an octopus into not 55 areas of computing, but more than 55 areas of computing. And all that money. Imagine the Big Data possibilities. How about this?

Next year’s version of the Excel spreadsheet program, part of the Office suite of software, will be able to comb very large amounts of data. For example, it could scan 12 million Twitter posts and create charts to show which Oscar nominee was getting the most buzz.

Hi. I’m an advanced expert at the advanced research arm of Your Father’s Oldsmobile Technology Company who’s spent the last 20 years with millions of dollars and a small army of other advanced experts who invented this Big Data invention for you. You can now make Excel do something like this.

Impressed? Wait. There’s more. A lot more.

A new version of Outlook, the e-mail program, is being tested that employs Mr. Horvitz’s machine-learning specialty to review users’ e-mail habits. It could be able to suggest whether a user wants to read each message that comes in.

Sure this super cool Big Data based application is only being tested at the Advanced Research Arm and maybe someday it could be able to perhaps suggest, indicate, or nod at interesting emails you receive. Man. Think about having that!

Mavens, there’s money to be made with persuasion as you can see with the lame attempt from Microsoft. Excel functions apparently can grab an online twitter database and run them through their equations, maybe with just 8 to 10 clicks and a fair amount of cussing, maybe not. Someday soon, Outlook will read your email for you pointing out the interesting ones. I’ll bet the advanced experts are working on the New New Outlook that will actually read your email for you and respond without you having to bother!

If Microsoft can sell this in public, imagine the kind of persuasion possibilities a small scale Big Data crew can invent. You can create a boutique suite of Big Data apps with your small, passionate crew of number crunchers that tailor every Big Data app to the specific needs of the Other Guy rather than that corporate crap from Microsoft. Even Fortune 500 Other Guys would rather play Big Data with a niche-y Big Data Expert than with their Father’s Oldsmobile. Big Data is built for persuasion, folks.

Don’t miss your chance.

As a receiver of Big Data, keep your hand on your wallet. Talk about dazzles, charms, and smiles. Big Data always reveals its persuasion with those graphics. Gee. With something called Big Data, wouldn’t you expect to take off your shoes and do some serious counting? But, nope. Just look at those pretty pictures.

Persuasion doesn’t need the level of detail and complexity Big Data promises. You will only find what you already knew at the bottom of a Big Data chart. And, no one yet has apparently figured out how to find the Queen of Tomorrow in there.