One of my best memories of IOD 2011 was the keynote from Jeff Jonas in the Mandalay Bay Arena. The IBM Distinguished Engineer invented Entity Analytics software and sold it to IBM and is now helping define the roadmap of analytics at IBM.
I remember seeing Jeff in previous conferences stuck in remote parts of the hotel in rooms named after tropical locations – usually with a few people standing up at the back because the room they gave him was too small. He thrives when presenting in Vegas as he lives there, he grew his business there and he has a lot of great Vegas security stories to tell.
At IOD 2011 he was in the same arena that in the past featured Mike Tyson, Rocky Balboa, Lilith Fair, Miss Universe and a Glee concert. It is a challenge to talk to 10,000 people about IBM software and keep them all interested but he turned out to be the highlight of the day with a funny presentation and a great story. He described an experiment he performed: he dumped a number of mixed-up jigsaws onto a table and asked his girlfriend’s kids to try and assemble those jigsaws without any pictures. He had removed some of the pieces from some jigsaws and added some pieces that didn’t belong to any of the jigsaws. He then observed them trying to make sense of the mess and noted how long it took for them to find patterns, identify the problems and how placing pieces became easier as the jigsaw was nearing completion.
In his own words, he describes the jigsaw analogy on his blog:
“A new class of analytic capability is emerging that one might characterize as “general purpose sensemaking.” These sensemaking techniques integrate new transactions (observations) with previous transactions — much in the same way one takes a jigsaw puzzle piece and locates its companions on the table — and use this context-accumulating process to improve understanding about what is happening right now. Crucially, this process can occur fast enough to permit the user do something about whatever is happening while it is still happening. Unlike many existing analytic methods that require users to ask questions of systems, these new systems operate on a different principle: the data finds the data, and the relevance finds the user.”
Afterwards Delaney Turner on the IBM Performance Perspectives blog said, ”Jeff Jonas is evil. Just look at the guy. Look at the way he dresses. Luckily, he’s the charismatic, smart kind of evil you can’t help but listen to, because you can feel yourself getting smarter the longer – and faster – he talks. Frankly, I’m glad he’s on our side. ”
So what makes a great IOD presentation? Passion about the topic, a smart (and kind of evil) perspective on a problem, funny observations and using analogies to make boring business problems seem interesting.
You can see Jeff Jonas present this year at the Big Future session:
3933A Wednesday General Session – Big Future
Wednesday, October 24, 2012; 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
In Wednesday’s session, top technology thought leaders will discuss the exciting possibilities that lie ahead and how you can stay ahead of your competition by positioning yourself for success.
You can also have lunch with Jeff:
4210A Next? Join the Conversation
Thursday, October 25, 2012; 12:45 PM – 1:45 PM
Join a conversation over lunch with the revered luminaries and IBM technical gurus Jeff Jonas, Irving Wladawsky-Berger and Dave McQueeney, as they psychically divine seemingly unseen answers to YOUR questions about the future.