About three times a week I meet with venture fund companies and walk through an orchestrated dance which goes something like this:

  • They take immediate control and explain who they are.
  • They move onto their company and the size of their fund.
  • They show they have interest in my company’s specific space with relevant examples, all be it a thin veneer.
  • They explain how they are totally unique in being proactive on the board, helping with corporate introductions etc.
  • “If” they’re affiliated with a large corporation, they make overtones to driving technology recommendations and sometimes acquisitions.

Then, they turn over the call to me to walk through:

  • The history of the company.
  • The problem statement we’re going after.
  • Execution to date (hero numbers) and strategic direction moving forward.

Pleasantries now occur with vague encouragement from both sides followed by a few more pointed questions as their real and obvious intent:

  • How large is the company?
  • What’s the revenue, current and projected?
  • What’s the burn rate?
  • What the funding round and investment table look like?
  • How much runway do we have left?

Once complete they then head into the board placements and attempt to show current or past synergies with them followed by another round of pleasantries and a discussion about timing for the next check in meeting.

Partially these discussions are for their own research on the space, and partially they are to ensure that they have a potential seat at the table for the next round of financing. I would caveat there is a slight twist angle on a company that also does M&A who spend the 2nd part of the meeting telling you that “now is the time” to sell.

If they have done any homework apart from reading the “Who’s Hot CRN List,” then they generally mention Spark and Storm and how we compare. The conversation moves rapidly into the exclamation of the market being “noisy.”

This last comment is a consistent and interesting one. It’s akin to someone coming up to you and saying “wow, you’re wearing blue pants!” You know that’s true, but you’re not exactly sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

So is it better to be in a market where you’re unique, or is it better to be in a market where there’s a feeding frenzy?

My hunch is that a noisy market is better, although it has its own set of ugly problems. It doesn’t inherently say there is money there today, or it’s possible to be successful with any business model, BUT it does show that the puck is either there or heading there in some shape or form.

Here’s a slightly old but still relevant map of what a client might be facing when building out their Big Data practice:

A quiet market shows one of two things, either you’re a genius or deluded. I would humbly posit the more likely scenario is the latter.

Traversing this complex wave should start with you figuring out what you ideally want to accomplish. Then you layer on the reality of what internal expertise you have to accomplish the desired result.

In general, the larger the dedicated team and the more skilled, the more options you have to employ.

Big Data is hard, and there is no getting away from that. Nirvana doesn’t exist without hard graft so either you do it yourself, have someone do it for you, or you set your sights a little below utter world dominance.

I thought I would be 6ft 4in, able to carry off wearing leather pants and would definitely be the next James Bond after seeing Roger Moore in Live and Let Live, but that didn’t exactly work out!

There isn’t such a thing as a real-time Big Data analytics application that can be self-assembled by a part time IT contractor. There are tools that can help visualize simple data tasks or massage real-time queries to a fixed or tepid data lake, but the pipeline flows are hand crafted and very personal to your given situation. Sure you can purchase 90% solutions, but as you add dimensional computing, complexity, scale, rules, ML AND mission criticality, you build increasingly complex pipelines that require a diverse set of skilled labor.

The beating heart of any business is analytics, and the faster you garner insight and take action, the more success you will enjoy.

Net net, this market is busy with lots of companies shouting aspirational messages, so it’s prudent to start with some quiet time to check your kit bag. What do you need to accomplish? What resources can you dedicate to it? And once you have this determined, you work up from there.

Think Big, Act Fast. MAaGA (Make Analytics A Great Advantage).