Jon Gosier of MetaLayer: What is Big Data?

October 31, 2012

9:00 am

Jon Gosier will be a panelist at DCWEEK for “HTML5 and the Future of the Web.” He is the founder of MetaLayer, which helps visualize and interpret data. DCWEEK is a week-long festival co-produced by Tech Cocktail and iStrategyLabs. Get your tickets here.

Tech Cocktail: Tell us in laymen’s terms what metaLayer does. 

Jon Gosier: MetaLayer builds practical big data solutions for governments, NGOs, and enterprise customers. Additionally, we have two products: DELV, which allows non-technical users to easily create visualizations from complex datasets, and SURV, which takes survey data and automatically detects interesting trends in the answers and produces visual reports of the findings.

Tech Cocktail: Why is everyone talking about big data lately? What does it mean? 

Gosier: Big data is like the term “cloud” in that it refers to a culmination of behaviors, trends, and technologies versus a single technology or solution. The general feeling is that the data produced by everyone has become too plentiful, too frequent, and too complex to deal with in the ways that we used to. The industry likes to say that big data products offer solutions for the problems created by the variety, volume, or velocity of information overload.

Tech Cocktail: What are some interesting projects you’ve worked on?

Gosier: The Human Face of Big Data is a project that we’re supporting with our MetaLayer products. … The result is this massive project where they have an iPhone and Android app that is surveying people all around the world for their feelings on certain subjects. Then our platform crunches their responses in real-time, performs analysis, and makes the results visual.

Tech Cocktail: Why do you enjoy working with data so much? 

Gosier: For me, it’s about taking what are sophisticated technologies and solutions and making them usable by people for everyday use. Particularly when I’m working with governments and non-government organizations abroad where they absolutely need tools like MetaLayer that eliminate the need to train staff in these areas.

I just returned from a trip in Kenya where I spoke with a group of Kenyans working with Open Data for the World Bank and they were blown away by how easy MetaLayer’s products made, not only their work, but the work they had to train their peers to do.

Tech Cocktail: What’s your impression of the DC startup scene? 

Gosier: It’s growing, which is exciting, but still feels a bit fragmented. I’m really surprised at how consumer-focused the new crop of DC startups seem to be. We’re essentially an enterprise solutions company and have found the mid-Atlantic region to be in need of more companies offering solutions in this area.

Tech Cocktail: What are you most looking forward to at DCWEEK? 

The after-parties. 😉

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact [email protected]

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