2014 was a year of tremendous growth in the field of data, as it was as well for Strata and Strata + Hadoop World, O’Reilly’s and Cloudera’s series of data conferences. At Strata, keynotes, individual sessions, and tracks like Hardcore Data Science, Hadoop and Beyond, Data-Driven Business Day, and Design & Interfaces, among others, explore the cutting-edge aspects of how to gather, store, wrangle, analyze, visualize, and make decisions with the vast amounts of data on our hands today. Looking back on the past year of Strata, the O’Reilly data editors chose our top keynotes from Strata Santa Clara, Strata Barcelona, and Strata + Hadoop World NYC.

It was tough to winnow the list down from an exceptional set of keynotes. Visit the O’Reilly YouTube channel for a larger set of 2014 keynotes, or Safari for videos of the keynotes and many of the conference sessions.

Best of the best

Julia Angwin reframes the issue of data privacy as justice, due process, and human rights (and her account of trying to buy better privacy goods and services is both instructive and funny).

Bob Mankoff describes what happens when The New Yorker’s audience competes to write cartoon captions — and he shares some surprising results from the correlating data.

David Epstein explores the tricky issues surrounding the effective use of data in sports training.

Foster Provost shows how to translate between engineers, data scientists, and managers, so that the right numbers are translated into the right actions.

Shankar Vedantam discusses the paradox that more knowledge (data) can cause us to see the world less clearly.

Ben Okri, Booker Prize-winning author, tells a compelling story about fear and explores what he considers the oldest, most prevalent technology in the world.

Matei Zaharia, the creator of Spark, explains use case examples of Spark implementation at Yahoo, Conviva, and ClearStory Data.

Megan Price, in a sobering talk on quantifying violent conflict, shows how data can tackle intense, real-world problems.

Rodney Mullen, professional skateboarder, discusses the nature of good practice and its impact on our ability to problem-solve and create new things.

Miriah Meyer takes us into the strange beauty of data visualization — as well as shows how we can use visualization to learn and discover from data.