Is Boston tops in big data? Depends on when you ask

Recorded Future

I had lunch last week with Christopher Ahlber to talk about his latest start-up, Recorded Future, a Cambridge big data company that helps spot trends and predict everything from political unrest to a competitor’s product launch.

One of the topics of conversation was how truly Boston was a big data city. He contended that there a lot of resources here, but there was also a lot of chest thumping, and he was curious as to how much big data news was actually generated in the area. So he offered to generate some data of his own with Recorded Future’s news analysis program (the software can also analyze social data like public Facebook post and tweets).

According to his data, Boston takes third when it comes to making big data news, after New York and San Francisco. Cambridge, however, is fifth, and combined both the cities held a 20% of the big data media mentions.

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What was most interesting to me, however, was how quickly that lead could change. Boston actually lead in big data mentions in June and July of this year, while Washington, D.C., and New York saw boosts in October as those cities hosted conferences.

I wondered if conferences were the reason that another surprising big data hub emerged in the analysis: Las Vegas held 6% of the media share, and while Zappos has been doing more than its fair share to build a tech cluster there, it still seems like an unlikely source of that much big data buzz.

Ahlber has posted some more thoughts and views of the data on Recorded Future’s blog, and you can see what data was used here.