Harper Reed: Big Data is Bunk!

Dear Commons Community

Harpur Reed, who served as chief technology officer in President Obama’s 2012 campaign, skewered the use of big data for applications such as student tracking and modeling.  As reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education, during his keynote address at a State University of New York-sponsored conference on big data and higher education, Reed said

“Big Data is bullshit!”

Mr. Reed is generally bullish on the power of data. But, with apologies to the technology companies sponsoring the SUNY event, Mr. Reed skewered their industry’s promotion of the buzzwords “Big Data.”

“The ‘big’ there is purely marketing,” Mr. Reed said. “This is all fear … This is about you buying big expensive servers and whatnot.”

“The exciting thing is you can get a lot of this stuff done just in Excel,” he said. “You don’t need these big platforms. You don’t need all this big fancy stuff. If anyone says ‘big’ in front of it, you should look at them very skeptically … You can tell charlatans when they say ‘big’ in front of everything.”





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