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Quick, throw some data on that fire!

13 Feb 2014

Hello world! I’m now onto my fourth month at Outlandish and very much enjoying working with the Outlandishly nice bunch of people we have in our office. It’s great being constantly surrounded by big ideas and small ideas and whiteboards full of cryptic messages and, of course, lots of coffee for making those light bulb moments happen.

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Happy team, happy coffee.

I’ve so far got to work on a nice mix of data-led projects, my favourite of which has been the rather brilliant Audience Finder (more of which below) for the UK Audience Agency. Our senior developers have been great in not only steering me in the right direction for becoming a much better web developer but also getting me up to a professional speed on the various technologies and tools that we use on a daily basis. I had prior familiarity with Agile development from my degree studies but it is only at Outlandish that I have realised how powerful it can be when used correctly – our clients certainly love it for the flexibility and speed it gives us for working towards their requirements.

I’m also finding that a particularly satisfying part of development (and we at Outlandish are pretty good at this) is taking a big shapeless blob of data and turning it into information for improving business processes and helping people achieve things. One of the more exciting things I’ve seen recently is the way New York City is learning to embrace the data it generates every day, turning it into (a rather good phrase) “hyper local knowledge”: the information that is now used to improve services and even predict fires comes from the very real data generated by what New Yorkers get up to on a daily basis. Needless to say, having this type of data publicly available raises a lot of concerns about data privacy – I might just write another blog post on that soon.

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The city that never sleeps never stops generating data.

Now that we are talking about big data, the above mentioned Audience Finder is aimed at UK arts organisations, allowing them to analyse their own, regional and national ticket sales data and audience demographics with a multitude of benchmarking tools. If you feel it could be useful for your organisation, go and have a look, you will be positively surprised at the information this tool will put under your fingertips.

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Audience Finder helps arts and not-for-profit organisations identify where where they could increase their ticket sales.

The above type of projects are great examples of how we can utilise the tons and tons of untapped data out there to a good purpose. So go on, take a look around you. What will you be picking up and turning into something useful? We at Outlandish would love to hear what data you want to use and who knows, we might even be able to help you do it.

It’s all about making computers work for us in a way that improves lives and lets us humans focus on the things that computers cannot do for us. So I’m now going to tell my computer to crunch a billion bytes of data and then leave it to get on with it – while us Outlanders go for a well deserved beer.

Happy data crunching!

ps. Are you a brilliant developer, designer, project manager or trainee? If what we do sounds like your cup of tea and you think you might be interested in working with us, get in touch!