Most of the interesting things happen where the rubber of humanity meets the road of technology.
Areas of Expertise:
Alistair has been an entrepreneur, author, and public speaker for nearly 20 years. He's worked on web performance, big data, cloud computing, and startup acceleration. In 2001, he co-founded web performance startup Coradiant (acquired by BMC in 2011), and has since helped launch Rednod, CloudOps, Bitcurrent, Year One Labs, and several other early-stage companies.
Alistair is the chair of O'Reilly's Strata conference. He also helped found Bitnorth, the International Startup Festival, and several other technology events. He works with a few startups on business acceleration, and advises a number of larger companies on innovation and technology. "Lean Analytics" is his fourth book on analytics, technology, and entrepreneurship.
Alistair lives in Montreal, Canada with his wife and daughter, and tries to mitigate chronic ADD by writing about far too many things at "Solve For Interesting".
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Alistair blogs at:
March 17 2014Editor’s note: this post originally appeared on Tilt the Windmill; it is republished here with permission. Startupfest’s Pamela Perotti asked for my thoughts on this great Forbes piece by Lightspeed’s Barry Eggers about using big data to build top ten … read more
August 15 2013If you eat ice cream, you’re more likely to drown. That’s not true, of course. It’s just that both ice cream and swimming happen in the summer. The two are correlated — and ice cream consumption is a good predictor … read more
August 07 2013Conferences like Strata are planned a year in advance. The logistics and coordination required for an event of this magnitude takes a lot of planning, but it also takes a decent amount of prediction: Strata needs to skate to where … read more
January 19 2013First, technology is good. Then it gets bad. Then it gets stable. This has been going on for a long time, likely since the invention of fire, knives, or the printed word. But I want to focus specifically on computing … read more
October 19 2012A couple of years ago, I spoke with a European Union diplomat who shall remain nameless about the governing body’s attitude toward privacy. “Do you know why the French hate traffic cameras?” he asked me. “It’s because it makes it … read more
October 15 2012Since the first of our ancestors chipped stone into weapon, technology has divided us. Seldom more than today, however: a connected, always-on society promises health, wisdom, and efficiency even as it threatens an end to privacy and the rise of … read more
August 29 2012A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about big data and civil rights, which seems to have hit a nerve. It was posted on Solve for Interesting and here on Radar, and then folks like Boing Boing picked it … read more
August 21 2012In the past couple of years, marketers and pundits have spent a lot of time labeling everything ”big data.” The reasoning goes something like this: Everything is on the Internet. The Internet has a lot of data. Therefore, everything is big … read more
August 01 2012Data doesn’t invade people’s lives. Lack of control over how it’s used does. What’s really driving so-called big data isn’t the volume of information. It turns out big data doesn’t have to be all that big. Rather, it’s about a … read more
January 23 2012Feedback from a recent Strata Online Conference suggests there's a large demand for clear information on what big data is and how it will change business. read more
January 04 2012We're moving beyond an information economy. The efficiencies and optimizations that come from constant and iterative feedback will soon become the norm for businesses and governments. read more
August 18 2011Successful companies find ways to augment their employees, allowing them to operate at scale with customers. Big data, machine learning, and an iterative, experimental mindset are essential — and increasingly, company valuations are tied to the efficiency with which firms put information to work. read more
August 09 2011Having a lot of data is not the same as using it well. Today's big companies are losing to small upstarts simply because those firms ask better questions. To compete, large enterprises need to learn how to harvest the data they have on customers, markets, competitors, and products. read more
January 04 2011Strata's science fair will showcase the creative edges of big data. If you have an interesting tool or technology to show -- the more beta, the better -- let us know. read more
October 20 2010Tablet computing can reverse the decline of U.S. education, but there's a side effect. Because tablets are digital, we can analyze how students learn and examine teachers' competence. It opens the question: What happens when the digital classroom challenges powerful teachers' unions? read more
September 21 2010Netezza sprinkled an appliance philosophy over a complex suite of technologies, making it easier for enterprises to get started. But the real reason for IBM's offer was that the company reset the price/performance equation for enterprise data analysis. read more
September 13 2010If Twitter is so inclined, the company could turn the new t.co shortening service into a powerful analytics tool that solves the marketing and tracking issues attached to off-site engagement. read more
June 21 2010Bitcurrent and Webmetrics ran five cloud providers through a series of tests: a small object, a large object, a million calculations, and a 500,000-row table scan. Here's some of the results and lessons learned. read more
April 29 2010Social networks, and the big data to analyze them, will forever change how we vet candidates, whether for security clearance, employment, or political office. Technology can help employers check candidates' backgrounds, monitor their behavior once hired, and protect their online reputations. But using the social tracks we share -- and… read more
April 14 2010As we become more dependent on our collective consciousness, web operators will be much more involved in end-user experience measurement, from application design to real user monitoring. We're in the century of the distributed nervous system, and web operators are its brain surgeons read more
Recent Posts | All O'Reilly Posts
Webcast: 2015 Data Preview: Spark, Data Visualization, YARN, and More
Webcast: Putting Data to Work
Data and Ethics: Etiquette and Law for an Always-On World
Big Data and the Ethics and Challenges of Living in a Connected Society
Webcast: Lean Analytics 201: Five Lessons Beyond the Basics
Strata Online Conference: Strata Santa Clara 2013 Preview
Webcast: Five Things You Need To Know About Startup Analytics
Webcast: Strata + Hadoop World: Join the Data Revolution
Webcast: O'Reilly Strata Online Conference
Webcast: O'Reilly Strata Online Conference
Webcast: Data in Motion
Strata Online Conference: Data Warfare
Data, Crime, and Conflict
Data Everywhere: Data Anthropology, Quantified Self, Machine Data, Human Centered Design, and more
"While most business books leave the reader bemoaning the senseless slaughter of the trees it took to produce the volume, Lean Analytics reveals a refreshing depth and breadth of insight produced through research and experience. It's an exceedingly well organized tome, presented in cogent English."
"So much of the outcomes you drive will be determined by what you decide to measure. Rather than fumbling to figure it out yourself, invest $15-20 in a book that gives you a giant head start. Happy Reading!"
"Typically, this is not the sort of book I read. However, I was looking for something to give me some tips on this subject (conferences) and this book was really what I needed to get an overall look on the topic."
"Lean Analytics is a great book for anyone who wishes to learn more about validating an idea, building the right product and measuring growth."
"There were a number of small but important facts scattered throughout the book that elicited a small 'huh' from me as I read. For example, I learned the speed at which a user invites a friend to try a service is an order of magnitude more important than the number of friends he or she invites total, and without taking this speed into consideration the Viral Coefficient is relatively pointless."
"Overall, I'm feeling peace of mind. For all this book has provided me with, I sincerely believe this might be the best book for entrepreneurs in 2013. I think you ought to read this book at least once and probably should have a copy handy for when you change your OMTM as you successfully move along in your startup or new business project."
"It's a highly recommended read to basically anyone in the tech industry. One thing this book does very well is to describe other models and how the lean analytics approach relates to them (this is required to do in research but unfortunately a rare sight in more mainstream literature)."
"An invaluable, practical guide for Lean Startup practitioners everywhere."
"Alistair and Ben are in the thick of things when it comes to Lean Startup and analytics. They ran a successful accelerator and help lots of startups. If you ignore the numbers, your odds of failure go up exponentially. As entrepreneurs you should do everything in your power to improve your odds. Trusting these guys is a great start."
"I bet you'd never imagined that success depends on your ability to fail. Fail faster, fail forward. And the secret to that success is your ability to learn and iterate quickly using data. Qualitative and quantitative. Let Alistair and Ben show you how to get to start-up nirvana smarter!"
"Not more numbers, but actionable metrics. In Lean Analytics, Alistair and Ben teach you how to cut through the fog of data and focus on the right key metrics that make the difference between succeeding and failing."
"We live in a day and age where data and analytics can (finally!) be used by anyone and everyone. If you're not leveraging the power of data and analytics to figure out what works and what doesn't, then you're working in the dark. Listen to Alistair and Ben...they're not only the lightswitch to get you out of the dark, but they know how the entire power plant runs. I can't think of two people I would turn to quicker if I had a startup and wanted to leverage the power of data to make my business a success."
"Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said 'Everyone is entitle to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.' This is never more true than in business. One of the best things about working with Alistair Croll is how he cuts through opinion with facts, turning marketing into learning, and product development into a conversation with customers."
"The Lean Startup is a relentless cycle of building, measuring, and learning until you find the right product and market. It's hard work, and requires considerable discipline, whether you're a small startup or an intrapreneur in a traditional company. Ben and Alistair zoom into the measurement and learning process, packing Lean Analytics with concrete examples, real-world case studies, and advice you can use immediately. No innovator should be without this book. "
"This incredibly insightful volume clearly demonstrates how to maximize the business potential of every customer web interaction. "
"This incredibly insightful volume clearly demonstrates how to maximize the business potential of every customer web interaction. The authors provide permission to readers to use substantive parts of the code that they use in examples."
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