41 Big Data Names You Need to Know

Big data gets a lot of buzz – much of it from startups or advocates laying claim to big data’s big abilities. Truth is, though, that while big data definitely has the potential to bolster your company’s annual revenue, and will likely soon find a permanent place on your balance sheet, big data itself isn’t all that newsworthy. 

Before you get to freaking out about that statement though, know this: big data is only as useful as you make it. A bunch of 1s and 0s sitting in the cloud on your company’s shared account aren’t going to suddenly add a bunch of 0s to the right of your business’ bottom line. Of course, the goal then is to make data actionable and useful. The goal is to make big data mean something much, much bigger than itself: to reflect humanity, to better humanity, to encourage, inspire and optimize humanity. 

Sound like a lot for poor ol’ big data to do? Don’t worry – these 41 people, from data scientists to journalists to entrepreneurs, are taking big data into their own hands and making sure it does exactly what it should: produce usable insights we would have never been able to see or fully comprehend ever before.

Follow them on Twitter, get to know their work and consider yourself up-to-speed on the big data elite.


  1. Nate SilverFiveThirtyEight. Author of “The Signal and the Noise”
  2. Kenneth Cukier – The Economist. Co-Author of “Big Data”
  3. Quentin Hardy – New York Times
  4. Derrick Harris – Gigaom
  5. Stacey Higginbothem – Gigaom
  6. Steve Lohr – New York Times
  7. Elizabeth Dwoskin – Wall Street Journal
  8. David Carr – Information Week
  9. Alex Howard – TechRepublic
  10. Rachel Metz – MIT Tech Review
  11. Neal Ungerleider – Fast Company
  12. Mike Isaac – New York Times
  13. Lauren Goode – Re/Code
  14. Phil Simon – various publications. Author of “The Visual Organization”
  15. Bernard Marr – various publications. Author of “Key Performance Indicators: The 75 Measures Every Manager Needs to Know”

Public Sector

  1. Jennifer Kerber – Director, Federal Cloud Computing Credentialing Exchange Program
  2. Haley van Dyck – Senior Tech Advisor, White House
  3. Todd Park – Chief Technology Officer, White House
  4. Steven VanRoekel – Chief Information Officer, White House
  5. Aneesh Chopra – Former Chief Tech Officer, White House

Private Sector

  1. Mary Meeker – Author of the “Annual State of the Internet Report”
  2. Vivek Kundra – Executive Vice President of Emerging Market, Salesforce, Former Chief Information Officer, White House
  3. J. David Morris – Advisor, One Caring Team
  4. Anjul Bhambhri – VP Big Data Streams, IBM
  5. Josie K. – President, The Innovation Enterprise Ltd.
  6. Paul Brown – CEO, Koverse Inc.
  7. Roger Rea – Product Manager, InfoSphere Streams, IBM
  8. Edd Dumbill – VP Strategy, SV Data Science, Founding chair, O’Reilly Strata. 
  9. Matt Aslett – Research director, 451 Research
  10. Tony Baer – IT analyst, Ovum
  11. Merv Adrian – Research VP, Gartner, Vendor Lead, Microsoft
  12. DJ Patil – VP Product, Relate IQ, Former Head of Data Products, Chief Scientist, Chief Security Officer, LinkedIn
  13. Doug Laney – Research VP, Gartner, Originator, infonomics
  14. Hilary Mason – Data Scientist-in-Residence, Accel, Scientist Emeritus, bitly, co-founder, HackNY, co-host, DataGotham
  15. Greg Piatetsky, Ph.D. – President, KDnuggets 


  1. Jennifer Golbeck, Ph.D. – Computer Scientist, University of Maryland
  2. Alex Pentland  – Data Scientist, MIT
  3. Hod Lipson – Computer Scientist, Cornell University
  4. Sebastian Thrun – Professor, Stanford University
  5. Tom Davenport – President Distinguished Professor of Information Technology & Management, Babson College
  6. Matei Zaharia – Assistant Professor, MIT