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SXSW Interactive 2014

How Using Big Data Can Tell Personalized Stories

Big Data is a game changer for storytelling. Increased pressure to find meaning in mounds of data—in real-time and at scale—has given rise to technology that analyzes and turns individual data points into bite-sized prose and, in some cases, fascinating personal stories. Too often, the data we pull is cold, factual, and dehumanized. We can bring the humanity back into the bite-sized stories we tell with data by seeking out, understanding, and incorporating the inherent narratives within it. The Spanish Influenza killed more than 20 million people worldwide, BUT what is the story of patient zero? Imagine instantly weaving together a history about this man’s life and his family's journey to the U.S. through technology that mines historical data kept in records. All of this leading up to the day he spread influenza to over 100 men. Join this thought-provoking session around using context to bring depth and meaning to massive amounts of data and, in turn, stories presented to end users.

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  1. In what ways has Big Data evolved the future of telling stories with context using large pools of data?
  2. The ultimate product of Big Data analytics is a story. How can we use statistical analysis and Big Data to turn 2-dimensional data into 3-dimensional stories that have context to drive insight and value?
  3. How can pulling the inherent context around data help companies understand their own data better and surface history that might otherwise be lost?
  4. How might companies create emotional, personalized and targeted stories at scale to communicate and market to customers?
  5. The conversion of flat data into colorful stories can benefit businesses of all types, from retail and consumer packaged goods, to financial services. How can pulling context around data help companies sell more products or provide a richer customer experience?


  • Eric Shoup, Executive Vice President of Product, Ancestry.com


Melissa Garrett, Public Relations Specialist, Ancestry.com

Meta Information:

  • Tags: storytelling
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Solo
  • Track: Entrepreneurialism and Business
  • Track 2
  • Level: Intermediate
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