The elephant in the room: Are you ready to face big data?

Our use of social media, smart devices and the Internet all create huge volumes of data. Behind the scenes, machine-to-machine interactions, sensors, recommendation engines and APIs drive a proliferation of information. Much of this data — in some studies as much as 80 percent — has little to no structure and much of it is generated at machine speed; at high velocity. This kind of “big data” — extremely large data sets that have little to no structure and are growing every minute — is hard for databases and analysis tools to handle just in time. But it also contains a wealth of valuable information waiting to be found.

Do you need a data scientist?

Some of the world’s biggest tech companies from Google to Facebook are data-driven, but few startup founders have any idea what a data scientist does, never mind whether they should hire one. Here is VentureBeat’s guide to data science for startups.