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Events: Think, Drink, Do and the London Quarterly Technolgy Briefing

I went to two tech events this week and I thought you might like to know a little about them.

On Monday I attended Think, Drink, Do run by an innovation agency called Paper.  The idea is to get together of an evening and do a little of all three.  There were three talks to which they’ve generously provided the slides:

  • ‘The Science of Understanding People’ on a psychological approach to understanding motivation
  • ‘Influencing Customer Behaviour’ on putting those kinds of insights into action commercially
  • ‘Prototyping Alcohol Reduction,’ a case study on Paper’s new app designed to help people more accurately measure and thus reduce their alcohol intake.  (The irony of presenting this at a networking event where alcohol was served was not lost on them.)

Paper also ran an exercise asking the crowd to come up with hypothetical solutions to some of the problems they encountered while designing and testing the app.  I had fun with my group thinking up ideas, some frivolous ones and some serious ones.  I hope at the next event we’ll get an update about whether our ideas were helpful.

On Wednesday I went to ThoughtWorks’ Quarterly Technology Briefing on Big Data.  A key takeaway from the evening for me was the term ‘lambda architecture,’ which describes having both ‘fast lane’ and ‘slow lane’ types of queries (i.e. being able to access some types of data in real-time, and some types through batch queries that take longer but are more detailed) in order to form a robust informational system.  Here’s some more information about this: http://lambda-architecture.net/  ThoughtWorks haven’t yet published their slides but I put together a Storify of some of the evening’s insights here.

There was a very interesting potted history of the idea of information overload and the receding horizon of the size of data storage and the methods for interacting with ever-increasing amounts of data in a meaningful way.  The talk ran through several different tools and techniques for managing different size data sets–I hope ThoughtWorks does make the slides available because I didn’t take notes of those!

Two very different events but each instructive and enjoyable in their own way.

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