Data 30, 20-11

Part two of our rundown of the Data 30


Following on from 30-21 in our list of the Data 30, we are pleased to bring you 20-11.

You can see 30-21 here.

20. Hilary Mason, Fast Forward Labs

Hilary was an influential figure in Big Data when she was the Chief Scientist at Bitly. Here she was in charge of one of the largest analytics operations in the world, helping to track billions of separate events through the platform.

Her reputation only grew when she become Data Scientist in Residence at Accel and even further when she co-founded HackNY.

In addition to this she has authored several Big Data papers and books, some of which have become must-reads for Data Scientists.

19. Scott Howe, Acxiom

Acxiom has been described as ‘the largest company you have never heard of’. What makes it unique is that it is not only a huge company (it represents around 12% of the direct-marketing sectors $11 billion annual sales), but that Scott Howe opened up the data they had on people at

This action not only gained the attention of the world media, but also opened up the amount of data that people could see about themselves. It allowed for the public to see the power that Big Data has and how it can have an effect on them personally.

18. John Schroeder & M.C. Srivas, MapR

MapR and Hortonworks were the first vendors to notice the potential that Hadoop could have as a foundation for a company. From here they have built a multi-billion dollar company that are rumoured to be on the verge of going public.

John Schroeder, as Co-Founder and CEO along with M.C.Srivas, Co-Founder and CTO, have been the main players who have made this happen.

17. Tom Davenport

Tom Davenport is one of the pre-eminent minds within Big Data and Analytics, having worked across some of the world’s top universities, as well as running research departments at some of the largest consultancies.

In addition to this he has written sixteen best selling business books, revolving mainly about making business decisions based on data. This dedication to data and spreading the ideas about it through both his teaching and writing, means that Tom is certainly deserving of a place on this list.

16. Tom Reilly, Cloudera

Cloudera have been at the heart of Big Data for a number of years and are currently heavily rumoured to be on the verge of announcing an IPO.

Under Tom Reilly’s leadership the company has not only become an Apache Hadoop software, but also trains potential Data Scientists within companies. It is for this reason that Tom Reilly has made this list, not only the leadership of a company or the $1.2 billion in funding that he has raised, but the attempt to bridge the skills gap.

15. Sverre Jarp, CERN

Sverre Jarp held one of the key positions at one of the biggest pioneers of data that the world has ever seen. CERN has been the leader in Big Data for a number of years.

From the invention of the internet to the creation of the Large Hadron Collider, they have pushed the boundaries of what we could do with data. Sverre has been at the forefront of this as CTO of the CERN Openlab, having previously worked in various data and technology roles throughout the company for the 40 years previous.

Watch his presentation ‘Solving the Mysteries of the Universe with Big Data’ here

14. Gregory Piatetsky-Shapiro, KDNuggets

Gregory has been at the forefront of Big Data and Analytics for many years and founded KDNuggets, one of the best sources of information on data anywhere on the internet.

Investigating societal issues through data, explaining complex theories in easily relatable ways and publishing breaking news within the data community.

Others have large readerships in terms of numbers, but none can compare to the length of time that Gregory has been working. He has been publishing KDNuggets news since 1993 and has written over 60 publications with 10,000 citations. In 2007 he won the IEEE ICDM Outstanding Service Award for his contributions to the data mining field.

13. Andy Palmer, TamR

Andy was not only one of the founders and sellers of Vertica to HP in 2010, but he has also started TamR, one of the most exciting Big Data startups of 2014.

The idea of the company is to get rid of the bulk of the work needed to clean data prior to data analysis, which is one of the main problems that companies who are looking at their data in new ways has found.

In addition to this, he is one of the most prolific entrepreneurs working in Big Data at the moment. His serial entrepreneurship has seen him either directly fund or give help with around 35 companies. This kind of work is what has allowed the Big Data and tech industries to flourish in the last few years, meaning that Andy is more than deserving of a place on this list.

12. Jeff Bezos, Amazon

Amazon has become the poster child for a data driven company and how data should be used to push change. The approaches from Bezos include allowing everybody in the company to have the opportunity to test their ideas through data and making changes when data dictates it.

More than Google and Facebook (who have made the bulk of their money from data directly) Bezos has used data to make a difference to the operating model that Amazon was based on. The e-commerce basis of Amazon has been improved drastically from his belief in data insights.

Jeff’s approach is a template that many company leaders should be looking to when looking at becoming more data centric.

11. Jeff Smith, IBM

IBM has been one of the key vendors in Big Data, but have not only been making money in through it, but showing that older tech companies can move into the space.

The investment from Warren Buffet (number 27) showed that they are doing a good job within this space. Aside from this, they have used their financial clout to spread the idea through advertising.

Targeting the general public, they have sponsored several high profile sporting events, specifically with their Big Data and Analytics messages.

Jeff Smith currently sits at the top of the big blue pyramid and despite a slight decline in profits (mainly down to a restructure) much of the success and drive behind their Big Data programmes can be put down to his leadership. 

Keep your eyes peeled for 10-1 in our data 30, which will be released in the next few days. 


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