Shao-Jo Lin | Designer + Art Director


Some thoughts on marketing and design

Big Data - See How Amazon and Michelle Phan Leverage Big Data To Make Profit


February 18, 2015, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, Megan Smith, announced that Dr. DJ Patil, former chief scientist at LinkedIn, would joined the White House as Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Data Policy and Chief Data Scientist, to harness the power of technology and innovation to help government better serve the American people.


photo source: Flickr/Kmeron

photo source: Flickr/Kmeron

Now, you may be wondering, what exactly is Big Data, the term that everyone is talking about? And how can it help the government better serve the American people?

According to Wikipedia, Big Data is 

a broad term for data sets so large or complex that traditional data processing applications are inadequate.
META Group (now Gartner) analyst Doug Laney defined data growth challenges and opportunities as being three-dimensional, i.e. increasing volume (amount of data), velocity (speed of data in and out), and variety (range of data types and sources). Gartner, and now much of the industry, continue to use this “3Vs” model for describing big data. In 2012, Gartner updated its definition as follows: “Big data is high volume, high velocity, and/or high variety information assets that require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimization.” Additionally, a new V “Veracity” is added by some organizations to describe it.

However, simply knowing the definition of the Big Data is not going to make us understand the true value of the Big Data. Let's take a look at some real cases to better know how brands leverage Big Data to satisfy customer needs and create value for customers. 

Amazon: Knows You Better Than You Know Yourself

Amazon, the biggest electronic commerce platform, is one of the Big Data masters. Mining from its 160 million customers accounts, Amazon has a huge bank of data on online consumer purchasing behavior. By analyzing the keywords that you typed in, the comments you made, and the product pages that you browsed, Amazon builds the well known ‘You May Also Like……’ recommender systems that suggest products to you when you land on Amazon’s home page. This system helps customers find the product they like more efficiently, and thus making the shopping process more fluent. Consequently, customers will find it convenient to shop at Amazon and become loyal to Amazon. By taking advantage of Big Data, Amazon not only creates value for its customers, but also increases revenue for itself. 


You may think that Big Data has nothing to do with you because your business is not as big at Amazon. However, that is not true. The reason why Big Data is valuable is not because it is ‘big;’ you have to extract the essence from the seemingly meaningless data. From the following case of Michelle Phan, the most popular beauty blogger in the US,  we can see that even a small personal brand can make use of data to build a huge business. 



Michelle Phan: Knows What You Like, Creates What You Will Like

photo source:  Michelle Phan Youtube 

Michelle Phan began posting tutorial vlogs on Xanga and then began publishing on YouTube in 2007. By studying the views, recommendations, and comments that each of her videos gets, she finds out what her audience wants her to cover and creates content to fit. And now, her YouTube channel has more than 7.6 million subscribers! 

From Michelle Phan’s case we can see that even if you do not have a huge amount of data, the data is still extremely valuable as long as you can make good use of it!

Big data is like an oil land; if you just sit on it and do nothing, the oil under it is valueless. You have to analyze it, trying to find insights from the data you have and create value for you customers. 


How will America's new Chief Data Scientist create value for American people? Let’s look forward to it!