A couple of things about me that might be of help when reading this… I’m an avid reader (~70% Sci-Fi), and I’m a cyclist. I use books to escape and rides to decompress, think, and wander. Like chapters of a book, while riding, there are certain topics I return to from time to time.

A recent chunk of time for me while cycling was lost in thought about super powers. If I could have one superpower, what would it be? This one question consumed many miles and seemingly kept my head from circling back to work. I thought through all the different powers and how to apply them. After much consideration, I settled on having the ability to surf time…to be a time traveler (thank you H.G. Wells) as my superpower.

I played out many a scenario and concluded that the time travel stuff was easy (this is a fantasy after all) but that nailing a safe landing was the most critical element and the most difficult. I realized I would need help in order to make a proper, safe landing. Imagine stepping through the fabric of time, one second the moment exists without you, the next with you. Are you landing in a busy street, a crowded bar, a hot day, a rainy day, etc.? What’s the point of traveling through time and immediately putting yourself in danger because you lacked the data necessary to stay alive?

Needed for a proper landing I decided was an artificial intelligence scout. This would be a ghost double that would travel seconds or milliseconds in front of you and know your needs. One that could land, ingest data, adapt to that data, and report in real-time while you comfortably arrive seconds later.

My AI ghost absolutely would need the benefit of real-time data processing. The latency of data could literally kill me. (In my fantasy, if your ghost dies, your in-transit molecules return to their origins–your jump off point–but in a much weaker state and requiring immediate rehabilitation).

If you didn’t have the benefit of real-time processing and instead had to load queries and wait for answers, you’d be screwed. Somebody would be making a fuss about you just literally popping in, or your molecules would be scrambled from waiting too long while your ghost was busy poking old data. Nope, real-time processing and reporting are essential.

After a series of rides, I answered my question about what my superpower would be, and I’d also figured out, to the extent one figures out what’s not figurable, the rules of engagement, and how to optimize my chance of success. I was pleased with myself…chuffed even until I realized I’d mixed my work into my decompress, think, and wandering time.

My company is a leader in the real-time data analytics space. (You know this however, or you’d never have come upon this blog post). I also must come clean by sharing that I’m DataTorrent’s CFO. I play exclusively on the business side and view technology very much through the eyes of a business person. My head is generally buried in ledgers, contracts, and financial waterfalls but I do catch the odd phrase and descriptors – bits and bytes, speeds and feeds – being bantered about around my desk. Evidently, I’ve absorbed enough of them to affect my “off-time” thinking.
So, after reflection, I was excited all over again. How cool is it to have your work intersect with your hobbies and mental wanderings so positively? Today, real-time data processing is alive and well, helping companies make better, faster, stronger decisions. In a not too distant future, real-time data analytics will literally give greater meaning to life.