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December 15, 2008


I tend to organize things according to where they fit into the big picture. What I find fascinating is exploring the real world drivers behind actions and evaluating the linkage of a given set of decisions. In many ways, this is similar to Zen practices which encourage reflection and understanding of the world in which we live. It is with this principle of reflection and analysis that I approach data turning it into information and subsequently knowledge. It is also the way I think about business intelligence and emerging technologies. I believe that systems, like people, are part of something larger, a dynamic system comprised of many parts. Only by studying all of the parts can you understand the system itself.

So how did I get here? On my resume you will read that I received my bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from California State University and specialized in automated control systems. Later, I received my Executive MBA from University of Colorado, where I currently live. I have worked for Bank of America, Southern California Edison, Sprint PCS and Level 3 Communications before becoming an independent consulting and later co-founding Dataupia in 2005 taking on the role as Chief Technology Officer. I also regularly present, write and contribute to The Data Warehousing Institute conferences around the world.

As the years have gone by I have come to realize that my career of working in business intelligence is much more than just a job. It is a lifelong quest to understand how businesses, organizations and individuals make sense of all the data they are presented. And that still holds true today. The only difference is that we have exponentially more data to deal with than we did two decades ago and a business environment that has become far more hyper competitive.

I hope to use this forum as a way of providing thought-provoking commentary on how data affects our working and personal lives. And I hope you will take the journey with me, sharing ideas, interesting articles and real life stories from within your organizations as we desperately seek a Zen balance in our work places, in our data and in our lives.

Posted by John O'Brien at December 15, 2008 12:15 PM


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