We can all be a big data geek

Geeks are passionate people, and passion is good for business. Someone with a lifelong passion for literature might open an independent bookstore, for example. Or, someone who loves gardening and botany might break into the field of landscape architecture. A friend of mine used to bake bread in his kitchen and sell it to people he knew. These weren't your standard rye loafs or banana breads. They were complex and exquisite, like polenta and pumpkin seed sourdough and rye fennel crackerbread. He was a genuine "bread geek." About three years ago he opened a restaurant and has been very successful.

Any one of these people might make a good businessperson in large part because they like to "geek out" about their respective passions. The bookseller can recommend a book you're sure to love. The landscape architect has a great arrangement in mind for your backyard. My friend the restauranteur knows the perfect cheese-bread-wine pairing.

But are those same businesspeople likely to "geek out" about big data analytics? Do you think they'd have lively discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of various statistical machine learning algorithms? Would you expect them to have compelling perspectives about methods of data visualization? Probably not.

And who can blame them? Big Data Analytics can be complicated, time-consuming, and extremely expensive. Giants like Amazon have their own armies of data analysts—geeks with a passion specifically for data—to do this work for them. It all seems a little out of reach for the small or midsize business. Who has the time? Where would they begin?

That's why XTOL created the Data Analytics Academy – an online, learn-by-doing education program that makes Big Data accessible to nerds of all stripes:

[The Data Analytics Academy] is not aimed at computer scientists, engineers, and statisticians, but at a broader range of people who want to learn to use powerful statistical machine learning tools and big data infrastructure to extract actionable business insights from mountains of business and other data.

In other words, these business owners can take the course themselves, or up-skill existing employees. They don't need a background in statistics or computer science. All they need is a passion for using data to make better decisions.

And Big Data does make business better. Take the bar owners in the video below. They didn't open a bar because they liked data. They opened a bar because they were beer geeks. But Big Data has given them an edge over other beer geeks.

Other geeks can take their cues from these beer geeks. The bookstore owner can use Big Data to learn how to recommend books to customers before they ask. The landscape architect can use Big Data to find potential customers and engage with them more effectively. The restauranteur can use Big Data to plan a perfect menu for the season.

Or, you, you can use Big Data to improve your own business or your company's business or your client's business. XTOL's Data Analytics Academy is for any type of geek. Through the program, you will learn how to apply practical skills that you can immediately use to gain insights and improve your business.

Geeks are passionate people, and passion is good for business. When that passion meets data, it can turn an already good business great, be it through better service, better marketing, or better planning. All of which lead to better profits.

And who wouldn't want to be a profit geek?

To learn more about XTOL's Data Analytics Academy.

About the Author

Willy Nast

Willy Nast

is an Instructional Designer and Project Manager for Socratic Arts, where he has been involved in the development of various Fortune 100 Professional Services Firm training programs. He has also helped develop courses for graduate-level business school students, covering topics such as Supply Chain Management and Financial Analysis. Willy entered the field of instructional design in 2007 as a Content Developer for CognitiveArts, where he developed story-centered training solutions for corporate clients in fields such as insurance, financial services, and professional services. Willy graduated cum laude from Northwestern University, where he majored in English with an emphasis on creative writing.

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